Invictus Alumni

David AkeDavid C. Ake grew up on a dead-end dirt road outside of Monticello, Ind.  He joined the Army after high school, serving four years overseas in Germany and Iraq as an M1A1 Abrams tank gunner.  He credits the letters he often wrote home as the catalyst for his writing career.

At the end of his service, David went back to Indiana and earned an associate’s degree while writing for several newspapers.  He started as an advertising salesman, writing stories in his spare time before becoming a full-time daily news reporter.

David left newspapers to study magazine journalism and political science at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.  He lives there with his girlfriend Anjee. After Ball State David hopes to continue his education and earn a master’s degree in magazine journalism.

Twitter: @davidake

Laura AllenLaura Rose Allen: It was while hanging out of a McDonald’s Drive-Thru window at the age of 16 when Laura decided she wanted to be a magazine writer. Born and raised in the suburbs of Cincinnati she was the first born to Greg and Christine Allen, and sister to Beth and Julie. She grew up pursuing a variety of sports and interests, and discovered a passion for writing along the way.

After graduating from Fairfield High School in 2008, Laura began attending Ball State University to pursue a degree in magazine journalism. She plans on graduating from Ball State in the summer of 2011, and hopes to live in New York City as a freelancer someday.

Twitter: @lauraroseallen

Katelin CarterKatelin Carter grew up Carmel, Indiana where she spent her childhood exploring the woods behind her house and getting lost in any book she could get her hands on. In high school, she picked up a camera and was convinced to join the yearbook staff. Since then, she’s always had a love for storytelling.

Now a senior journalism graphics major at Ball State University, she enjoys riding her bike, train travel and exploring the world as much as possible. This past summer, Katelin interned at YES! Magazine located in Seattle, Washington. When she graduates in May, she hopes to return to the Pacific Northwest contributing to movements of positive change and sustainability.

Twitter: @katelincarter

Malik CatoTyrone Malik Cato was born in Fort Wayne, Ind. He practiced the alto saxophone for jazz and concert bands from elementary into high school. Much of his time was spent playing videogames, and discovering how much fun it was to come up with and share ridiculous stories.

He would go on to join the Three Rivers Jenbé Ensemble (now the Three Rivers Institute of Afrikan Art and Culture), an educational outreach forum. The TRJE/TRIAAC teaches and practices traditional song and dance of the Malinké people.of West Africa. He helped the group raise enough money to take 10 of the members on a three-week study tour in Guinea, West Africa. It was there Malik got a taste of what life was like outside of the U.S.

Malik is now a senior at Ball State University studying magazine journalism and journalism graphics. After his upcoming internship at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, who knows.

Lauren HardyLauren Hardy is a senior Journalism major at Ball State University where she is the Managing Editor of the student life magazine, Ball Bearings. Born and raised in Elkhart, Ind. by Bruce and Jennifer Hardy, Lauren has always had a love for storytelling. She published her first book in elementary school and hasn’t stopped writing since.

In her spare time, Lauren enjoys cooking, baking, reading, swimming and singing. You can follow her latest musings at, where she blogs weekly about inspiration, food and faith. Lauren is also working on a book and hopes to have it published soon after graduating in December.

Twitter: @lauren_hardy

Tiffany HolbertTiffany Holbert realized her love for words early in grade school when she was introduced to the school library. When she wasn’t lost in the latest book she’d picked up, she was trying her hand at writing her own short stories and poems. Born in Anderson, Ind. where she was raised until the age of 14, she relocated with her mother to Tampa, Fla. where she went to high school and began her college career at the University of South Florida.

In 2008, she returned to her home in Indiana and continued her education at Ball State University, where she graduated with a degree in Public Relations in July of 2010. Before graduation, Holbert  participated in the social media team for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” where she wrote short stories capturing the behind-the-scenes activities of the show’s Kokomo production.

She currently resides in Indianapolis, Ind. where she works as an account coordinator at an advertising and public relations agency. In the future, she hopes to find an avenue that will allow her to indulge her passion for writing and the arts.

Twitter: @tiffanyholbert

Matt HoldenMatt Holden grew up in West Lafayette, Indiana, as the oldest of four. Growing up he spent most of his time traveling across the Midwest playing competitive soccer. In high school, Matt and his family lived in Louisville, Kentucky for two years where he met new people and learned the city’s proper pronunciation. After moving back to West Lafayette his junior year, Matt joined his high school newspaper staff where he discovered the thrill of publishing his writing.

In the summer of 2011, Matt lived in New York City where he interned for Whitewall Magazine, a contemporary art and luxury lifestyle magazine published four times a year. Matt will graduate from Ball State University in May 2012 with a degree in magazine journalism. While attending Ball State, Matt was the editor-in-chief of Ball Bearings Magazine, Ball State’s student-run quarterly publication.

After graduation Matt hopes to attend graduate school or find work as a writer and a storyteller.

Twitter: @ThatMattHolden

Kyle HovanecKyle James Hovanec was born in Seoul, South Korea to parents he never knew.  He was adopted at three months old by Richard and Debra Hovanec who have since raised and loved him along with his three siblings: Jordan, Samantha, and Nicholas.

Kyle grew up in Crown Point, Indiana and attended school at Westfield Elementary School until the age of six, where he and his family then moved to Valparaiso, Indiana where he attended Union Center Elementary and Middle School, and eventually Wheeler High School.During these years Kyle began to develop a fascination with writing and magazine style writing.

After completing high school Kyle began attending Ball State University to earn a degree in Magazine Journalism and Digital Storytelling. Kyle is currently a senior in his final semester.  Kyle has written for three online publications and has also worked on a student produced digital storytelling project.

He is currently the president of Ball State University’s Asian American Student Association and has held the position for two years running.After college Kyle plans on pursuing a career in either magazine journalism or transmedia storytelling.  He has been to Japan twice and plans to one day work there.

Twitter: @KJHovanec

Lacey LordLacey Lord is a senior English Literature major with minors in Digital Media and Peace and Conflict Studies. Her love for storytelling began before she could read. She would memorize the words that went with each picture in her picture books and then “read” them to her family. Daily story times and weekly trips to the library were a staple of her childhood and led to a lifetime love (obsession?) with books and the words that go in them. After two years of college, she finally realized that she wanted to make literature the focus of her studies and pursue a career in something related to books.

Lacey has worked on several literary projects, including Transmedia Indiana, a digital archive exhibit on the life and work of Kurt Vonnegut, the 2013 edition of The Broken Plate, Transmedia Star Wars, an online literary magazine, and Invictus.

Despite her love for words, Lacey has never considered herself a writer. This story will be the most creative and most personal piece of writing she has ever attempted, and she is delightfully terrified. When Lacey’s not reading, she is listening to as much music as possible, trying to decide what she wants to be when she grows up, and attempting to understand human beings.

Twitter: @laceygl

Jordan MartichJordan Martich writes fiction and non-fiction out of Indianapolis, Indiana, his hometown. He expects to graduate in July of 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in magazine journalism and a minor in creative writing. He published a short story in the Fall 2010 issue of and will publish a non-fiction piece with the Invictus Writers Group at the end of Spring.

He is currently working on his first novel, a comic book, a literary magazine, and plays music with a few bands. He blogs about thinking about writing at, sometimes.

Twitter: @JordanMartich

Andrew NeylonAndrew Neylon spent his youth criss-crossing the Eastern US with his itinerant folks. Originally born in Peoria, Illinois, he finally settled into Indiana at the age of 14. He attended Fishers High School for a full four years, discovering his knack for competitive speaking and performance during his Junior and Senior year.

As he entered adolescence, Andrew quickly realized his passion for writing, music, and film. He carried this interest into his time at Ball State, where he is currently a junior English Literature major. He has parlayed his diverse talents into two Immersive Projects so far – serving as a writer on the Middletown Theatre Project and spearheading the development of a digital archive for the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library Immersive Project. He’s hoping to complete a Virginia Ball Center Project during his senior year, with an eye on obtaining a Fulbright Scholarship to teach globally after graduation.


PerovJennifer Perov grew up in Wheatfield, Indiana, a small town boasting cornfields and an annual Sandhill Crane festival. Growing up, she was either roaming the woods and sand hills at her cousin’s house, or reading and writing in her own bedroom.

Jennifer will graduate in May 2012 with a Creative Writing major and Digital Media minor.

After graduation, she’ll be spending a year at home, then plans to find her way out of Indiana.

Twitter: @Jen_Perov

Kelly SheaKelly Shea grew up outside of Chicago, where she started writing short stories while home sick in the first grade. A multimedia enthusiast at heart, she often added illustrations and soundtrack choices to develop the film potential of these early works. Later her family moved to Carmel, Ind., and after graduating from high school, Kelly enrolled at Ball State University.

Her parents, an executive for a winery and a magazine merchandiser, weren’t surprised when she began pursuing a journalism graphics major, but Kelly eventually moved away from the vice scene and developed a passion for environmental journalism.

After Ball State she will be working at her third nonprofit internship as a designer and writer. She only hopes for a few things out of her future career: to travel the world, continue working with passionate people and never feel bored.

Twitter: @kellyelaine

Rhett UmphressRhett Umphress is finishing his master’s degree in journalism at Ball State University. While at Ball State, Rhett collaborated with Professor Brad King on a number of projects, including the books Making Digital and the forthcoming Transmedia Indiana project and textbook. He worked with a social media team during the shooting of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and co-wrote Bunker Hill Extreme: How Seven Days in the Cold, Rain and Mud Changed a Community.

He will be an intern during the summer of 2011 at the Greensboro News & Record in North Carolina. Previously, he was intern at and worked on a social media team for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” He will likely be looking for a full-time job when this is published, so feel free to make him an offer.

Twitter: @rhettumphress