Our team members make the work of Conexus Indiana possible, but they also make it fun! Each one of them has a unique story to tell and over the course of the year we want to introduce you to our team and get to know them a little better.

Meet Industry Engagement Coordinator Andrea Kirschling. Before joining Conexus, Andrea investigated cases of housing discrimination as Test Coordinator at the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana. Prior to her work in Fair Housing, Andrea joined Exodus Refugee as an intern within the Reception and Placement Department coordinating the needs of refugees within their first 90-days of arrival to Indiana.

What in your background influenced your decision to join Conexus?

After college I decided to stay in Indiana, and I really liked that Conexus was providing something sustainable for Indiana; trying to continuously make Indiana into a better place live. I didn’t always think I would stay in Indiana after college but now that I am here and I see everything the state has to offer I just think I have an obligation to help contribute. I really like that Conexus provides opportunities to a wide range of people regardless of their educational background. Neither of my parents have bachelor’s degrees, I was a first generation college student, and then my sister is in the National Guard, so a lot of Conexus’ work lines up with my experience as well.

Explain your role at Conexus.

I bring all the partners such as companies, public sector groups and higher education organizations on the logistics and advanced manufacturing councils together. We bring all these people together to discuss and identify issues and then combine their efforts to keep Indiana strong by being innovative, providing jobs and identifying education opportunities.

What are your aspirations for Indiana?

I want to make sure Indiana is still competitive and whether that is through technology or whether it’s being able to provide meaningful work for residents. I think it would be awful if we’re not able to come up with good action items that are important and as a result people are losing jobs or not being paid a fair wage. I stayed here because my family is here and we’re close, so I’d hate to have someone need to leave the state and their family behind because they can’t find opportunities here.

If you could only eat at one Indiana restaurant for the rest of your life, what would you pick?

I would eat at Three Carrots. It’s the only full brick and mortar vegan restaurant in Indy, but it isn’t like healthy vegan food, it’s comfort vegan food. I could easily their loaded biscuits and gravy every morning for breakfast.

What’s your most irrational fear?

Driving. Not because I don’t like driving or I’m a bad driver, but I don’t trust other drivers. My husband makes fun of me because I signal for everything; I’m a very cautious driver. If I see someone texting on the highway or in a construction zone I get so upset. I want to get a megaphone out and tell them to put down their phone and stop endangering everyone’s lives.  

Do you prefer the city or the country?

Country. I pretty much live for long camping weekends in the summer.

If you were to get in a fight with a bear, who would win?

I don’t think I would fight the bear, I would just convince it to be my friend. I once spent hours trying to convince my grandma’s cat to like me, so I think with a little patience and some treats I could win the bear over too. I naturally seem to attract animals into my life so I think the bear just wants to hangout with me.