Indiana INTERNnet IMPACT Awards Celebrate the Best in Internships

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Indiana INTERNnet, the statewide resource for internship opportunities managed by the Indiana Chamber, has helped connect students and employers across the state since 2001. Today, the organization honored excellence among interns, employers and career development professionals at the 10th annual IMPACT Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College.

The theme for the luncheon was “Homegrown: Cultivating Local Talent,” and Angie Hicks, namesake and face of Angie’s List, delivered the keynote address focusing on the abundance of opportunities for young professionals to succeed in Indiana. Hicks, a Fort Wayne native, credits an internship with Bill Oesterle as the stepping stone that led to her success at Angie’s List. She so impressed Oesterle as an intern that he asked her to join him in co-founding Angie’s List in 1995. Today, the company serves more than 3 million paid households, delivering an e-commerce marketplace as well as reliable consumer reviews covering everything from home improvement to health care.

“Experiential learning is a key piece of Indiana’s workforce development plans, and Angie Hicks is a shining example of why that is,” said Indiana INTERNnet Executive Director Janet Boston.

“The IMPACT Awards showcases some of Indiana’s best and brightest and fuels our optimism for the state’s future. Internships are making a difference in our young professionals’ skill levels, and often, these opportunities are leading to full-time jobs either with the intern employer or another Indiana employer. Everyone, including the state as a whole, benefits from meaningful internships.”

The IMPACT Award winners:
Paige Carroll (Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.; Ball State University) – College Intern of the Year
Salvador Espinoza (Group Dekko, Inc.; East Noble High School) – High School Intern of the Year
Scott Bachman (Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.) – Non-traditional Intern of the Year
Brandi Gilbert (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) – Career Development Professional of the Year
netlogx, LLC – Employer of the Year (For-Profit)
IU Health (North and Saxony hospitals) and St. Vincent (Carmel and Fishers hospitals) – Employers of the Year (Nonprofit)
Gerry Dick of Inside INdiana Business was the emcee for the event, and Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann provided closing remarks. The celebration took place at the Ivy Tech Corporate College and Culinary Center in Indianapolis.

For more information about the Indiana INTERNnet program, visit www.IndianaINTERN.net or call the hotline at 317-264-6852.

College/University Intern of the Year
When Paige Carroll began her insurance operations internship with Baldwin & Lyons, Inc. (B&L), she had no prior insurance knowledge. She was responsible, however, for a task of great strategic importance to the company that specializes in marketing and underwriting insurance for the transportation industry.

In a short amount of time, Carroll learned the process from the ground up. Details of the project shifted several times as the departments that requested it made changes, and Carroll easily adapted to the new needs. She even trained and supervised an intern from another department to ensure project completion.

“Paige exemplified Baldwin & Lyons’ values of excellence, innovation and teamwork,” boasts Valerie Wilson, corporate communications manager and chief of staff of B&L. “She truly immersed herself in this experience and, as a result, indicated she is now interested in obtaining her Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation and producer’s license so she can continue to thrive in the insurance industry.”

High School Intern of the Year
You could say Salvador Espinoza is a “serial intern” with Group Dekko, Inc.

He began his tenure with the company in 2013 as one of the students from East Noble High School to participate in the pilot of the Explore program. Explore is a paid summer internship experience in which high school students rotate through a set of manufacturing careers during a six-week period to see where their skills and interests align. Since then, he has completed five internships with Group Dekko and served as a mentor to other students in the program.

“Group Dekko is privileged to be a part of this young man’s life,” remarks Cynthia Nesbitt, training and development specialist at Group Dekko. “To see how he has grown over the years has been exciting and we look forward to the day he becomes a leader of our company.”

Non-traditional Intern of the Year
On his first day at Baldwin & Lyons, Inc. (B&L), Scott Bachman noted in his work plan – “I am ready to jump into new and ongoing projects in order to learn as much as possible.”

This declaration was put to the test when, six weeks into his internship, he was tapped to fill in for a manager on a number of projects until a replacement could be hired. One project was a strategic company initiative with a budget exceeding $1 million.

Thanks to Bachman’s work, the project didn’t miss a beat, and he ensured the transition to a new project manager was seamless. As a result, he saved B&L an estimated $10,000 in potential temporary consultant fees.

Bachman accepted a full-time position as a project coordinator following the completion of his internship, and Valerie Wilson, corporate communications manager and chief of staff, says B&L is “excited to use his skill and ingenuity to better the PMO.”

Career Development Professional of the Year
Eight years ago, Brandi Gilbert set out to develop an internship program that would help undergraduate students gain professional experience while exploring career options. The result was the IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship (LHSI) Program, which has employed more than 350 interns since beginning in 2007.

The LHSI program continues to grow from the initial group of less than 20 students to the latest class of more than 70. It is one of the largest undergraduate internship programs on the IUPUI campus, offering sophomore and junior students a year-long paid internship with faculty mentors in the life and health sciences. The goal is to develop each intern’s transferable professional skills.

“Brandi always has the best interests of her students at heart,” declares Kamilah Walters, senior ambassador for the LHSI program.

Employer of the Year (For-profit)
The netlogx, LLC internship program is a balance of practical work experience, networking opportunities and professional development activities – with mentoring at the center of it all.

Interns take part in the netlogx Mentor Program designed to provide information, encouragement and support to help them succeed. Interns are immediately integrated into the work environment, working side-by-side with seasoned employees on a variety of tasks and owning at least one project.

“My time at netlogx helped me grow both in my professional career and my development as a human being,” recognizes Joe Harrison, 2015 summer intern. “I was awarded opportunities that helped further myself along the path to success and that have taught the importance of being a kind and personable individual on top of being intellectual and professional. These are skills that I will cherish moving forward in my career.”

Employers of the Year (Non-profit)
Noblesville High School (NHS) is one of the most recognized institutions in the state for forging business-education partnerships to benefit their students. The program it administers with Indiana University Health North and Saxony hospitals and St. Vincent Carmel and Fishers hospitals is a productive model thanks to the dedication of the hospital professionals.

The three-way partnership began with NHS approaching Melinda Wirstiuk, volunteer coordinator with St. Vincent, to explore internship possibilities at the Fishers location. The result was a system in which students rotated through different hospital departments, gaining exposure to various health care careers. Students have had the opportunities to observe surgeries, shadow nurse practitioners, meet with doctors and more.

Continued growth led NHS to approach St. Vincent Carmel and IU Health. The North and Saxony locations enthusiastically came on board, and now students in the program spend one semester with St. Vincent and one semester with IU Health.

Award Nominees:

Interns
• Emily Atkinson, IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship Program
• Scott Bachman, Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
• Lillian Bailey, National Association of Commissions for Women
• Casey Bauchle, IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship Program
• Ricardo Bedon, Lake City Bank
• Emily Bell, Parkview Health
• Thomas Cantrell, Modern Woodmen of America
• Paige Carroll, Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
• Angelique Cassell, REGIONAL Federal Credit Union
• Becca Christensen, Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
• Karoline Coryea, Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce
• Cory DeWitt, Ontario Systems
• Salvador Espinoza, Group Dekko
• Rashell Garretson, Indiana University School of Medicine
• Ashley Griffith, IU Health
• Jenna Harden, Children’s Bureau, Inc.
• Shaun Heinzelman, Somerset CPAs and Advisors
• Rachel Jones, Appriss, Inc.
• Harsimranjot Kaur, Indiana University Public Policy Institute
• Chelsea Kulesa, Ontario Systems
• Brandon Nettrouer, Gibson
• Emma Nicoson, Kleinfeld Bridal
• Sara Omohundro, Valeo Financial Advisor
• Ryan Palmore, Indiana Commission for Higher Education
• Sarah Pelko, Crossroads of America Council, BSA
• Addie Pike, Ontario Systems
• Sarah Post, IUPUI Office of Student Employment
• Nicole Quint, IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship Program
• Cydney Ringlespaugh, Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
• Haley Rivera, Brickyard Pediatrics
• Katy Robinson, Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce
• Ashley Shuler, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
• Rachel Slauter, Jasper Foundation, Inc.
• Thomas Smith, RL Turner Corporation
• Carianne Sobey, Ambassador Enterprises
• Benjamin Verdi, Indiana Department of Workforce Development
• Gabe Vervynckt, Marshall County Community Foundation, Inc.
• Rex Waldo, Ontario Systems
• Greg Warren, Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
• Davieon White, Anderson Innovation Center
• Siara Wolf, ProCourse Fiduciary Advisors, LLC

Career Development Professionals
• Liz Ferris, Indiana University East
• Brandi Gilbert, IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship Program

Employers
• Ambassador Enterprises
• International Medical Group
• IU Health (North and Saxony hospitals) & St. Vincent (Carmel and Fishers hospitals)
• IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship Program
• Lincoln Financial Group
• Margaret Mary Health
• netlogx, LLC
• Roche Diagnostics
• Salesforce
• TransWorks
• Wabash National Corporation

Bicentennial Internship Immerses Student in State’s Future Visioning

andreAndré Zhang Sonera is serving as a Bicentennial Visioning Liaison with the Office of Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann. The Visioning Project is a Bicentennial legacy project focusing on Indiana’s future. The project brought together thought leaders throughout the state to identify “big ideas” for Indiana’s future, which will be compiled into a book that’s expected to be completed this summer.

Indiana INTERNnet: What have you been responsible for during your internship with the Indiana Bicentennial Visioning Project?

André Zhang Sonera: “As a Bicentennial Scholar, my role on this project is coordinating the logistics of each (visioning) session. My job requires me to look at the big picture and make sure that all the knots are in place and ready to go for the event. From coordinating the venue to making sure that everything is running smoothly and efficiently for our experts – logistics are an essential component to the success of our sessions.”

IIN: Describe how this internship is helping you grow as a young professional toward your career goals.

AZS: “This internship has provided me the unique experience to gain in-depth knowledge about our state. It is not every day that you have the opportunity to meet and learn from the brightest Hoosier minds as they share their passion and vision for a better Indiana.

“This experience has also helped me develop insight into how the government works at the state level, nurturing my passion for public service and sparking an interest for a career in government.”

IIN: What have you learned so far about Indiana? Has anything surprised you?

AZS: “Each session is focused on important topics that shape the future of our state. Thanks to the research and data presented by Dr. Breanca Merritt from the IU Public Policy Institute at the beginning of the (first) session, I now have a better understanding of the current and future state of Indiana regarding a variety of important topics.

“But my favorite part is hearing the innovative ideas of our experts as they gather together to envision the future of Indiana. At the end of each session, I have a sense of belonging and pride of being an ‘honorary’ Hoosier.

“I definitely would encourage other students (K-12 and college) to get involved with their towns and counties and partake in this unique experience. It is not every day that we get to celebrate our state’s Bicentennial, and it is an incredible opportunity to contribute a legacy for future generations.”

See the in the January/February 2016 edition of BizVoice magazine.

Applications Open for Promise Indiana

Promise Indiana (profiled in the March-April 2015 BizVoice magazine) is a community-driven framework for helping youth increase hope and build the assets they need to pursue education beyond high school. With support from the Indiana Education Savings Authority, eight Indiana communities are currently piloting Promise Indiana and the initiative will expand to include additional communities during the 2016-17 school year.

Business, education, local government and non-profit sectors each have a part to play in increasing educational attainment in your community by creating a college-going culture and helping youth establish college and career identity. Students with a dedicated college savings account in their name are seven times more likely to attend college; account ownership is a key piece of identity-building for youth at every stage of the educational pipeline. The Promise helps communities leverage support for families to begin saving for higher education and for youth to begin college and career discovery.

The Promise Indiana pilot is a unique opportunity to be one of the first communities in the state to receive operational support to launch the initiative and create meaningful outcomes for youth and families. Follow the link below to learn more about the Promise Indiana model and how your community can become one of the pilots selected for the 2016-2017 school year.

Promise Indiana pilot application: http://bit.ly/PromiseIndiana. Applications must be submitted online by February 12, 2016 (11:59 pm EST).

Questions about Promise Indiana or technical assistance with the online application can be directed to: Phil Maurizi, VP of Promise Operations, Wabash County YMCA, pmaurizi@wabashcountyymca.org, (260) 563-9622, ext. 406.

Four Areas Where Gov. Pence’s State of the State Address Missed the Mark

?????????????????????????????????????????The 2016 session of the Indiana General Assembly may be short in time but, as usual, there is a long list of important issues. In outlining his priorities in the State of the State speech, however, Gov. Mike Pence fell short in four key areas.

First is civil rights expansion. After appropriately listening to Hoosiers since last spring’s public relations crisis, the Governor failed to articulate a clear vision. His words, depending on interpretation, bordered on telling legislators to do nothing at a time when action is needed.

The Indiana Chamber went through a similar lengthy listening process as public policy committees, the executive committee and the full board of directors (all comprised of representatives of member companies) debated the issue. Once a final determination was made, the Chamber communicated the decision that the members had voted to support the expansion of civil rights to protect sexual orientation and gender identity. Although not popular in all circles, similar clarity was needed from the Governor.

In the critical area of infrastructure funding, the Governor advocated against the only long-term solution presented thus far because it included several responsible revenue increases. As an organization that works each day to create and maintain the best possible business climate, the Indiana Chamber does not go looking for tax hikes. But in this case, they are necessary.

Third, on education, the “let’s take a step back on ISTEP” remark goes too far. Indiana already has a new test that measures our new, stronger standards. The test needs rebranded, not revised, and administered correctly to achieve the desired results.

Finally, there was no mention of work share, a common sense program to support employers and employees in an economic downturn. It will be needed at some point and the best time to implement it is now.

The Indiana Chamber has and will continue to communicate with the Governor and his staff our positions on these issues, which we believe are in the best interest of the state’s economy, employers and workers.

Indiana Chamber Outlines Priorities for School Testing Reform

19173605In testimony this week, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce began outlining its priorities for school testing reform. Caryl Auslander, the Indiana Chamber’s vice president of education and workforce development policy, expands on some of her remarks:

Pause school accountability for one year only:

“The Indiana Chamber fully supports a one-year pause in school accountability due to the many missteps in the latest ISTEP testing cycle. Teachers should still be subject to the important classroom and other evaluations that take place, but not have test scores used for that purpose for this one year.

“With a new test administrator in place going forward, our hope is that the Indiana Department of Education (DOE) will work very closely with them to ensure that the test is administered accurately and that scores are finalized and reported in an appropriate timeframe (i.e., by the end of August). Many of the ISTEP issues can be traced to past vendor-DOE relations; those need to improve and DOE needs to take a more aggressive role in ensuring deadlines and expectations are met.

“We urge legislators to resist any efforts to lessen our overall accountability process. Accountability measures for schools, teachers and students are critical. They allow us to accurately predict student progress, rate teacher effectiveness and compare and contrast school performance relative to state and national peers. We have to be able to grade ourselves.”

Rescore of current data necessary:

“If we are pausing accountability for the schools, it is important to keep the unadjusted scores/data as a baseline for growth measurement next year. That means it’s essential for the scores to be correct and trusted. And the only way that can be accomplished is through a rescore of the exams by an independent third party.”

Rebrand test; no need to start process over:

“We have new, more rigorous academic standards and the new assessment exam to go along with them. There is no need to spend more of the state’s money to change the assessment. The length of this test or any test is something DOE can and should address with the new test vendor.

“The new test was labeled ISTEP out of a sense of continuity. Let’s rebrand the test to reflect that it is indeed new and simply work to ensure future tests are executed properly and timely. That’s all that needs to happen.”

Kurt Vonnegut: A Fan Reflects on His Hoosier Legacy

Chris-LaFave-e1442422256223-300x226I had the good fortune of writing an article on a few of Indiana’s notable literary stops for our Jan./Feb. edition of BizVoice (this particular edition will be a legacy project endorsed by the Bicentennial Commission). One such stop was the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in downtown Indianapolis.

While touring the facility, I was told the resident expert on all things Vonnegut was the curator, Chris Lafave. At the time, he was representing the library at a book fair down in Miami (not the worst assignment in mid-November), so I emailed him some questions that were on my mind. I was unable to fit most of his thoughtful answers into my story, so I’ll happily share them here.

About how many visitors does the library get annually?
Chris Lafave: The library draws thousands every year to the actual space, along with public speaking appearances by several staff members. And the organization’s traveling exhibit has been received far and wide, and has even visited the city of Dresden (Germany), where Kurt survived the 1945 bombing (as a prisoner of war). The trauma inspired him to write Slaughterhouse-Five.

It sounds like people visit from all over. What’s the farthest distance away you can recall?
CL: I’d have to say two guys coming in from Australia to do their great American road trip. They flew into Chicago, visited, rented a car and drove to Indianapolis to see the Vonnegut Library. I asked them what else was on their to-do list and they said Memphis and New Orleans, and then home. I was floored.

Do you find it’s not just Vonnegut’s generation, but younger people also becoming fans of his?
CL: The age demographic is all over the place and very hard to even pin down for research’s sake. (Founder and CEO Julia Whitehead) and I speak to an astonishing amount of students about Vonnegut. That’s not shocking in and of itself, but very recently I spoke at a school in Anderson, where a specific high school student requested permission to skip her own class so she could attend my lecture on Slaughterhouse-Five. Students are often engaged by his work, but we also have people well past retirement age spending a lot of time in the library and at our events as well. If you wanted to ask how he ever reached this many people across this large of a spectrum, I’d say he had a way of making people laugh at some of the hard things in life, to see beauty in despair, to see optimism in cynicism. That takes a certain degree of talent, and can sometimes bond people to your art.

It sounds like you’ve read all of his books. What influence do you think his Indianapolis upbringing had on his writing? In what ways is it evident?
CL: I think he saw Indy more through his family, friends and schooling… His family had such influence, his great grandfather founded a popular chain of hardware stores here, his grandfather and father were prominent architects. Can you imagine the pride of looking around your city’s skyline and saying “I’m related to the people who did that?”

He often talked about wealth inequality in his work, which relates to Indy in the sense that his family started out incredibly wealthy and lost a lot of said wealth in the Great Depression. He writes frequently about jazz music, which was incredibly popular in Indianapolis during his upbringing. He discovered the music at a barbecue joint somewhere on Meridian Street near his childhood home at 4401 N. Illinois Street. He wrote often about remembering good things in a hard world, which is a belief that seemed to have been instilled in him by his Uncle Alex, who he was quite fond of. And lastly, he was an avid defender of public schools and libraries — the best example of which would have been Shortridge High School, where he received an excellent education, played the clarinet and served on the school newspaper.

All I know is, while you’ll occasionally hear him take a shot at Indy or Indiana’s politics in an essay, most of the time in both his essays and novels, he seems to refer to Indianapolis in a fond sense, as a place of civility and decency. A city that his family built. My favorite Indianapolis moment is in Sirens of Titan, at the very end. I won’t spoil it for you with the details.

What’s your favorite book of his and why?
CL: Always a tricky question for me. I’ll say Cat’s Cradle, for the reason mentioned above; it has the ability to make you laugh at some of the tough things in life. But honestly, most of his books contain something that blows my mind. Slapstick, for example, is generally regarded by critics to be his worst novel. I disagree. I think it’s a phenomenal novel about the “disease of loneliness” as Kurt referred to it, and also about his desire for common decency. Plus it’s also very funny.

As referenced above, Vonnegut’s harrowing experience as a prisoner of war in an underground slaughterhouse in Dresden, Germany inspired his classic novel, Slaugtherhouse-Five. A letter he wrote following the ordeal was published on Letters of Note and is quite fascinating. 

ESSA Passes Final Hurdles, Signed by Pres. Obama

36107229Last week, the Senate passed and President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – sweeping education legislation that replaces No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Most notably, this legislation sends significant power back to the states and local districts, while still maintaining some limited federal oversight over policies.

NCLB created a national system that judged schools based on math and reading scores, and had significant requirements to raise test scores every year or face significant penalties. ESSA, on the other hand, shifts power to the states and locals while providing flexibility. This legislation seeks to ensure that all children receive a high-quality education and close student achievement gaps.

Still, this legislation is not perfect by any means. We wish stronger accountability measures were included, but in the spirit of compromise and collaboration, it is a strong step forward in ensuring a balance between federal, state and local governments. It has an emphasis on challenging academic standards and accompanying assessments and accountability plans; it also institutes changes to funding for innovative programs – including Preschool Development Grants, a competitive one-year grant program to develop, update or implement a strategic plan that facilitates and improves coordination, quality and access for early childhood education, which will now be administered jointly by the U.S. Department of Health and U.S. Department of Education.

A special thank you to Congressmen Todd Rokita and Luke Messer for their tireless work on ESSA while sitting on the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Chamber on Higher Ed Commission’s New Rule to Boost Associates Degrees

96631972The Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE) today approved allowing the state’s four-year universities to grant associate degrees to qualifying students and released an evaluation of Ivy Tech Community College (a result of 2015 state legislation). Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kevin Brinegar reacts to both items:

“Postsecondary attainment continues to be a major concern for the state. The goal we set in our Indiana Vision 2025 long-range economic development plan was for 60% of our residents to have a quality credential or a degree by that time; currently that number is under 35%.

“A critical piece of the solution is granting more associate degrees for students with the appropriate credit; that’s a policy we designated as a top legislative priority in the 2016 General Assembly. The rule CHE passed today can go a long way toward achieving that goal.

“Now, Indiana’s state-supported four-year universities will have the opportunity to award associate degrees to its students who clearly are no longer pursuing their education (termed “stop-out” students) but already have completed the appropriate coursework.

“This will make those students more marketable to employers and may even lead some to rekindle their learning at the college level.”

On Ivy Tech performance report:

“With today’s workforce skills challenges, the importance of the Ivy Tech mission has never been greater. This evaluation of student outcomes and recommended program enhancements will only serve to increase the effectiveness of Indiana’s community college system.

“Given the continuous improvement model that is essential for all educators and businesses, we applaud the work that has been done and we are confident Ivy Tech leaders will use the information to benefits its students and all stakeholders.”

Indy Reads Books’ Anthology Shows Off Hoosier Writing Prowess

indywritesbook4For our upcoming January/February edition of BizVoice, I have the pleasure of documenting my visits to several literary destinations in Indiana. (The issue will be a Bicentennial Commission-endorsed legacy project, so we’re branching out a little beyond our usual business focus.)

With internationally celebrated names like James Whitcomb Riley, Kurt Vonnegut, Dan Wakefield, Lew Wallace and Gene Stratton-Porter to its credit, the Hoosier state can be proud of its literary legacy.

But the climate in Indiana remains just as hot today. This is evidenced in the publication, Indy Writes Books, published last year by Indy Reads – an incredibly impactful non-profit program in Indianapolis that promotes adult literacy. The book, sold online and at the Indy Reads Books store in downtown Indianapolis, features short stories and other entries by Hoosier authors such as John Green, Wakefield, Cathy Day, gritty fiction writer Frank Bill and even an entry from crossword puzzle maestro for The New York Times (NYT), Will Shortz – a Crawfordsville native.

In the preface, Wakefield relays there was a time (in the late 1940s) when five of the top 10 books on the NYT best-seller list were by authors with connections to Indiana. A truly remarkable feat causing some to speculate there was “something in the water” here.

If you haven’t been to Indy Reads Books in downtown Indianapolis, I suggest you give it a visit. I’m proud to say I serve on an advisory committee for the store and it’s one of my favorite places in the entire city. It offers a relaxed vibe and an enthusiastic cadre of helpful staff and volunteers. And with the Christmas season approaching, there’s no better place to find gifts for the book lovers in your life — and copies of Indy Writes Books are still available!

Here’s a short video from 2014 that includes Indy Reads founder Travis DiNicola and others discussing the book and the store:

Also note that the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indy has a compilation — a journal titled So It Goes — for sale. Its most recent installment features a theme of “social justice” — but next year’s edition will focus on Indiana (stories by Hoosiers or about the Hoosier state). The library will begin taking story submissions in the spring.