College of Arts and Sciences

Mission Statement

Project COMPASS (COMmunity Partners Against Student Suicide) is a comprehensive suicide prevention and health promotion program, originally funded by the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act through Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The mission of Project COMPASS is to provide suicide awareness and gatekeeper education and training on the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne campus and in our campus community.

Contact information:

Project Compass table in Walb

Meet the IPFW Project COMPASS Interns

Students completing an internship with IPFW Project COMPASS learn valuable skills in planning, training, educating, outreach, and program development while making significant contributions to the safety and well-being of our campus. Students may use the experience as an elective or Psychology Department capstone. Internships are not limited to psychology majors. A two-semester (academic year) commitment is preferred.

Melissa Pfefferkorn

Jennifer DumfordFlynnKatherine Piercy

(top left) Melissa Pfefferkorn is a junior studying Psychology. She has hopes of going on to grad school once she finishes up at IPFW. She plans on studying psychobiology.

She joined the Project Compass team with the hopes of informing the student body of this very serious issue (student suicide) that is impacting our campus but not getting the recognition it deserves.      

(top right) Jennifer Dumford is a senior, double-majoring in Psychology and English with a Language Concentration. Her research interests lie in the intersection of psychology and language: why and how people use and understand language, especially people affected by mental illness. She became interested in Project COMPASS and suicide prevention after seeing the devastation that suicide and mental illness causes and realizing the power that any individual has in effecting positive change just by reaching out a caring hand to those in pain. Depression is treatable. Suicide is preventable. And anyone has the power to help, including her.

(bottom left) Katherine Piercy became a Project Compass intern in the fall of 2016. She is a middle child born and raised in Fort Wayne. She has loved biology all her life and majored in it at IPFW. She is currently working towards graduate school in the field of genetic counseling. She works as a substitute teacher, preschool-12th grade, and for special events on the IPFW campus. Outside of her love for genetics and helping people, Katherine enjoys movies, music and has a passion for sharks and oceanic conservation.

(bottom right) Emma Flynn is a new intern for Compass. She is a senior in psychology with a minor in human services. She hopes to go to graduate school next year for school psychology. 

Trevor Project


IPFW and Project COMPASS to Take Part in National Suicide Prevention Week (September 8-12, 2015)

Suicide prevention was brought to the forefront of campus conversation September 8–12, 2015 as Project COMPASS (COMmunity Partners Against Student Suicide) presented "Reach Out—Change a Life," a week-long effort to educate students as well as members of the community about the warning signs of suicide, such as withdrawal and mood changes.

Fort Wayne Mayor, Tom Henry, spoke at the opening ceremony along with officials from Veterans Affairs.

Schedule of events

To see pictures throughout the week, click here.