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IMP students showcase majors, art at exhibition tonight

By Bethany Bannister-Andrews and Bethany BannisterAndrews

Sophomore Abbey Stemler wanted to study mental health, but since there wasn't a program for that at IU, she developed her own major. Calling it Social Constructions of Mental Health and Illness, Stemler developed it through the Individualized Major Program. She selects classes from anthropology, sociology and psychology to gain perspectives from different disciplines.\nAt the IMP's 2nd Annual Creative and Performing Arts Exhibition at 6:30 p.m. in the John Waldron Arts Center, Stemler and 19 other IMP students will display posters they have made that outline their majors. At 7 p.m., IMP students in dance, musical theater and fashion design will perform their talents in a show that is free to the public.\nTonight's exhibition is planned by the IMP Student Activities Committee, including Stemler, senior Kathleen Claussen and senior Megan McVicker, with the guidance of their faculty sponsors and IMP directors.\n"It's a great opportunity to learn about what people can do with the IMP program," said Stemler, who also said students have been working hard on posters about the exhibition as well as for their own majors. The 20 display boards will be detailed outlines of each student's unique course of study.\nIn the performance exhibition that follows the display, 30 students will showcase their talents. Professor George Pinney, the faculty sponsor for the musical theater students, said the performances will be entertaining and informative. \nProfessor Elizabeth Shea, the dance faculty sponsor, agrees. \n"The exhibition is going to be a really great way for the public to see what talented kids are participating in the IMP program," she said.\nLast year, the committee held the exhibition on campus, gearing it toward students and faculty. This exhibition is not only off-campus, on the corner of Fourth and South Walnut streets downtown, but it is also part of Bloomington Arts Week, running from Feb. 22 to March 5.\n"It's a great way of involving the community in the IMP," McVicker said.\nShea agreed, noting that the students involved "are really highly intelligent and creative individuals. Because they have a nontraditional major, they may not be as visible in the academic community as others."\nSince its inception three decades ago, more than 300 students have graduated from the IMP program, which allows students to create their own degree tailored to their academic desires.\n"It broadens my horizons," Stemler said. "It's a perfect program to truly create something unique."\nAll of the students must go through an admissions process to be a part of the IMP program. At the end of their senior year, students finish a capstone project and dossier on what they have gained from their education.\nThe student committee members and faculty sponsors agree that the exhibition is an exciting event for the IMP program, its students and the Bloomington community.\n"(The exhibition) is a great way to celebrate the program," McVicker said.

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