Sophia Blitz—Software Developer and Competitive Ballroom Dancer

Sophia Blitz—Software Developer and Competitive Ballroom Dancer

MIU graduate student Sophia Blitz

With her dance partner Dillon Hanson at the USA Dance National DanceSport Championships 2016, where they took 3rd place in the Amateur Adult Gold Smooth category

In the MIU classroom with fellow students

Sophia Blitz is studying full time in MIU’s new Master’s in Software Development Program. Meanwhile, she is also teaching math at Maharishi School part time and giving dance lessons around the community.

Sophia grew up in Fairfield and, after graduating from Maharishi School, earned a BS in industrial engineering with a minor in computer science from the University of Iowa. Then she worked as a software developer in Madison, Wisconsin.

While studying at the University of Iowa, Sophia joined the Hawkeye Ballroom Dance Company and traveled and competed around the country. She continued dancing after graduation, and in 2016 she decided to focus on her competitive dancing. She and her dance partner moved to Fairfield and both began teaching math part time at Maharishi School. They dedicated their time outside the classroom to practicing their dance routines and competing in regional and national championships.

During this time, Sophia began to analyze the dynamics of partner dancing in terms of leading and following. She realized that the leadership and communication skills present in dancing are transferable to other social interactions. She said that her experience with Consciousness-BasedSM education and learning the universal principles of the Science of Creative Intelligence established a habit of thinking that later helped in her discoveries in dance.

“This process of recognizing patterns and relating them to ideas, or even disciplines, is the foundational skill that allowed me to start this entire process,” said Sophia. “I looked for underlying principles that govern dancing, and in recognizing them I noticed that they are also true in other areas of my life.”

Sophia is currently teaching several weekly dance classes, where she is using the principles she has discovered to eventually develop a curriculum that she can take into a tech and corporate environment. “My desire is to take partner dancing in a loose form as a platform for developing conversations around body language, consent, communication, and respect,” she said.

Sophia is graduating in August and hopes to find a job as a software developer and continue to refine her dance-inspired leadership program.

Lilia Kingbird–Supporting Native Youth

Lilia Kingbird–Supporting Native Youth

MIU student Lilia Kingbird

With her mother and fellow MIU student Winona Tahdooahnippah

With her mother and siblings Ioleta and Lincoln Kingbird

Lilia Kingbird is a descendant of the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe Native Americans of Minnesota and the great Comanche Nation of Oklahoma. Although she attended public school, she grew up around the Circle of Nations boarding school for tribal children in Wahpeton, North Dakota, where her parents worked as teachers.

In 2017 she saw a video of Jim Carrey’s MIU commencement speech and looked up the university at her mother’s encouragement. Although she was nervous about the idea of going to college, she liked the curriculum and enrolled in January 2018. Her mother also enrolled at the same time, starting the online MBA Program.

“I had no excuses at that point; there was no reason for me not to go to school,” she said. “The block system, the vegetarian meals, meditation, those were all the things I really needed in my life at the time because I was struggling and didn’t know where to go.”

Lilia found the Transcendental Meditation® technique helpful for dealing with previous trauma and mental health issues. “TM helped a lot with my anxiety,” she said.

After spending a year on campus, Lilia is now taking her classes online while living in Wisconsin near a Chippewa tribal community. Last fall she won an essay contest sponsored by MIU ChangeMakers answering the question: How would you apply your unique gifts to transform the world?

Lilia described that, from a young age, she helped her father teach singing and developed a talent for telling stories and entertaining. But growing up around unstable families, she had witnessed and experienced addiction. Seeing children on tribal lands and reservations not having access to the same care and support as other communities receive, she became inspired to help these youth. She began speaking publicly about her challenges and how she overcame them. At MIU, she is pursuing an individualized major and plans to get a graduate degree in social work and drug and alcohol counseling.

Olivia Seidel Secures Internship at CERN, World’s Top Physics Lab

Olivia Seidel Secures Internship at CERN, World’s Top Physics Lab

MIU student Olivia Seidel

In linear algebra class with Professor Anne Dow and fellow students

Reading in the woods, her favorite pastime

MIU student Olivia Seidel is one of ten students nationwide who will spend nine weeks this summer at CERN, the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, in Switzerland. She was selected from a thousand applicants, based on her resume and her philosophical approach to science.

Olivia grew up in Connecticut, and became interested in consciousness in middle school. She wanted to understand it through science, so she decided to study neuroscience. But while taking science courses at a community college in Boulder, she saw a video of the famous double-slit experiment, which demonstrates how the act of observation changes the behavior of photons. “The fact that the consciousness of the observer could affect reality made me question everything,” she said.

Olivia switched her focus to physics and soon discovered the unified field theory and the work of John Hagelin. “The idea that consciousness is everything really resonated with me,” she said. When she learned that Dr. Hagelin was the president of MIU, she decided to enroll and study physics.

During her two years at MIU, Olivia has noticed improvements in many aspects of her life as a result of the practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique. “My focus definitely increased,” she said. “I learned to take breaks and meditate, so when I study I am more effective.”

Olivia is pursuing an individualized major and will graduate in December with a major in physics and a minor in computer science. Her goal is to earn a PhD and become a theoretical physicist. Her current interest is the integration of subjectivity into the scientific method.

“All of our scientific method is based on the theory that you can eliminate subjectivity,” said Olivia. “The separation between objective and subjective isn’t that clear-cut, and there is no such thing as complete objectivity. So we might as well integrate the concept of subjectivity into the way we are doing research. In the future I hope to come up with a measure for subjectivity.”

Jeremy Erdman—Exploring His Multifaceted Creativity

Jeremy Erdman—Exploring His Multifaceted Creativity

MIU student Jeremy Erdman recording a radio commercial for his product during the Concept to Market Institute semester with local voice talent Jeffrey Headquist

Presenting his business idea to investors during the ChangeMakers event on entrepreneurship

At the David Lynch Foundation benefit concert with fellow contest winner Sharlyn Muigei

Visiting the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., after the benefit concert

In 2015 Jeremy Erdman was looking for a college to attend when he discovered a video of David Lynch on MIU’s YouTube channel. Jeremy admires Mr. Lynch’s bold and unique style of storytelling and the diversity of his artistic expression. Since Jeremy is a highly creative person and aspiring filmmaker, he became inspired and drove overnight from Idaho to visit campus. After a quick tour, he drove home and applied to MIU.

Jeremy is graduating this June with a BFA in creative writing. During his time at MIU, he explored many of his creative interests, including photography, videography, architecture, industrial design, graphic and Web design. He has also acquired numerous paying clients for his services.

In addition, Jeremy took the Concept to Market Institute’s semester in creative entrepreneurship and came up with a business idea for a portable computer stand and other accessories. In June 2019 he participated in an MIU ChangeMakers contest, where he was one of five finalists to pitch their business ideas to investors in a Shark Tank-like competition.

In the fall he entered another contest sponsored by ChangeMakers, and his winning essay earned him an all-expenses-paid trip to a David Lynch Foundation benefit concert featuring Katie Perry.

As someone with eclectic pursuits, Jeremy enjoys the diversity of the MIU student body. At the same time, he appreciates the peaceful atmosphere and the opportunities for introspection, which are essential for his ability to invent and create. “The Transcendental Meditation technique taught me the value of silence and solitude, self-care and self-love,” he said. “It’s a good tool when things get crazy.”

Jeremy’s goal is to obtain a graduate degree in film and write and direct movies. He is also continuing to pursue his business ideas for various products. “I want to create and leave a legacy in multiple ways,” he said.