The Center for Transfer and Adult Students finds its identity and supports students along the way


With the unique challenges of the fall 2020 semester, the Center for Transfer and Adult Students did not miss a beat when it came to fulfilling its mission of providing support to transfer and adult students.

Students like Jannelle Cissel, Catherine Merski, and Jeffery Richardson attribute part of the success they have found this semester to the hard work and dedication of those in the center.   

Robbie Lopez-Shue, the center's interim executive director, said that everyone in the center has stepped up when needed this semester.  

“A lot of credit has to be given to our staff and team members,” said Lopez-Shue.  

On top of the work from the people inside the center, Lopez-Shue cited the external partnerships the Center for Transfer and Adult Students has been able to make this semester, namely a strong partnership with admissions, as a cornerstone to their success.  

One of the initiatives the center undertook was getting an official website up and going. When the center opened in July, a place-holder website was launched while their detailed website continued to be a project throughout the fall semester. However, the Center for Transfer and Adult Students’ official website is now live.  

Another tall task that the center had to undertake was establishing an identity 

“We had to figure out who and what we are,” said Lopez-Shue. 

Despite the workload of getting the center up and going this semester, the Center for Transfer and Adult Students is the second most successful unit in the Division of Undergraduate Education in terms of number of students reached by proactive advising methods.

In spring 2021, the center will continue to build relationships with both IUPUI students and other offices throughout the university; continue to establish an identity; and, most important, continue to provide crucial support and programming for students like Cissel, Merski, and Richardson.  

Lopez-Shue acknowledged that progress takes time, and he invited any students who are served by the resources within the Center for Transfer and Adults students to contact the center to give their input on what they would like to see out of the new center. 

Jannelle Cissela senior general studies majoris both an IUPUI student and an employee. 

“I'm an administrative reporter for the evening M.B.A. program,” said Cissell, “I've been with Kelley for about three years, then before that, I did a short stint in the School of Optometry.”   

Cissel, being a transfer and adult student, has used the resources provided by the Center for Transfer and Adult Students since it opened in July. 

“I'm having almost bi-weekly meetings with Janice in career services,” said Cissel.

Cissel said that, in the past, she has felt that IUPUI needed a space like the Center for Transfer and Adult Students. 


“Every survey I would get, I would ask ‘Where is the adult program?’” said Cissell, “I can't do anything during the day because I'm working. I don't necessarily want to join student organizations because I don't sort of fit in that space; I'm 40 plus, and everyone else's like 19, so where are the services for us?"  

Now that the center is open, Cissell says that she feels there is a space for her and students like her.  

Cissell also emphasized that the Center for Transfer and Adults students is a service that every transfer and adult students should use.  

“Even if they don't feel that they do, they definitely need it,” said Cissell, “. . . not only does it connect you more to IUPUI and the campus, but it's like the service that you don't think that you need, but you need it."

Catherine Merski is nearing the end of her first semester back at IUPUI after a 19-year gap. Merski, who is finishing her B.F.A in Ceramics, was inspired to finish her degree as a pathway to pursue a master’s degree.  

“I kind of realized that I buried way too many friends due to addiction issues and mental health issues in the restaurant industry,” said Merski, “. . . So my B.F.A. is really just for the ability to go into a master's program, to serve the groups and communities that I would like to help.” 

In her pursuit of this, Merski said that the process would be a lot more complicated if it were not for some of the resources provided to her by the Center for Transfer and Adult Students.


“I probably would be a little bit more frustrated with how all of my resume and career planning things have been going,” said Merski, “[Janice Bankert-Countryman has] been really helpful in just shooting me in the right direction and making sure that I'm covering my professional basis because midlife career change is hard.”  

Merski went on to say that the Center for Transfer and Adult Students is a resource that should be taken advantage of.  

“It's a great resource, and I would definitely recommend it to any returning student, especially those in the situation that they're retooling their careers,” said Merski. “It's fantastic for that.” 

For more information, contact the Division of Undergraduate Education Office of Communications at