Madyson Wigley is a Biology student at the Ivy Tech Community College Valparaiso campus. She just started her second year there and hopes to transfer to Purdue to finish her four-year degree.
After that, she said, her dream is to pursue a career as a forensic scientist.
“I’m really interested in genetics,” she said.
That dream is one step closer for Wigley and 28 other Ivy Tech students from around the Region, all members of this year’s cohort of Chancellors’ Scholarship award winners.
“It’s amazing,” Wigley said. “It’s great to be recognized for the hard work that I’ve put into my education.”
For the last 18 years, the Ivy Tech Foundation has hosted its annual Chancellors’ Scholarship fundraiser to recognize the year’s scholarship winners and raise money to support the students who follow them in the years to come.
The 2019 event, titled “Celebrating Academic Achievement,” was held Thursday evening at the Avalon Manor in Merrillville.
Aco Sikoski, Chancellor of the Ivy Tech Valparaiso and Michigan City campuses, said he was excited to be able to attend the event.
“It’s just wonderful,” Sikoski said. “When we are able to call on Northwest Indiana and embrace this kind of initiative, we are able to provide so many scholarships and help students improve their lives.”
The evening’s keynote speaker, Distinguished Alumni Brenda Stellema, said she knew first-hand how much impact these scholarships, and an Ivy Tech education, can have on a person’s future.
When Stellema lost a long-term job, she faced homelessness and her father’s recent cancer diagnosis. With help, she turned to Ivy Tech for retraining and education. Now, she serves as the Director of the Court Youth Advocate program in Michigan City under the Family Advocates umbrella.
“It’s such an honor to be recognized as a member of the community,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of people at Ivy Tech who have reported to me and mentored me, so I feel this is an amazing way to give back.”
The Ivy Tech Foundation presented scholarships totaling $43,500, said Cindy Hall, Executive Director of Resource Development for Ivy Tech Community College. Over the lifetime of the Chancellors’ Scholarships, 270 students have benefitted from nearly $400,000 in assistance through the program.
Scholarship winners, Hall said, are selected by committees composed of faculty members from each campus. To be considered, they must have at least a 3.75 grade point average and submit an essay and letters of recommendation from the faculty.
To be as fair as possible, the judging process is blind. Reviewers grade each applicant on a clearly-defined point system based on the information they submit.
“Our students who are Chancellors’ Scholars are the crème de la crème,” Hall said. “This is something that’s all about academic achievement. These students are excited about it because it puts them over the finish line to graduation.”
For more information about Ivy Tech Foundation scholarships visit their website: https://giving.ivytech.edu/.
The full list of the 2019 Chancellors’ Scholarship winner are as follows:
Lake County campus (East Chicago):
Elizabeth Burrell - Hospitality Administration Joy Czech - Health Care Support-Nursing
Jacob Delich - Liberal Arts
Michael Solberg - Human Services
Lake County campus (Gary-Arts & Sciences Building and Crown Point):
Madeline Aviles - Early Childhood Education
Rachael Bright - Health Care Support–Nursing
Monica Butkiewicz - Business Administration
Rachel Faucher - Nursing
Megan Juchcinski - Physical Therapist Assistant
Gareth Keeble - Industrial Technology
Betty Koeing - Medical Assisting
Felicia Smith - Nursing
Shanee Tolbert - Psychology
Alejandra Velez Reyes - Nursing
Valparaiso-Michigan City Campus (Michigan City):
Brandi Baird - Business Administration
Madison Gierke - Business Administration
Jeremy Burba - Accounting
Valparaiso-Michigan City Campus (Valparaiso):
Melissa Barrie Lehmann - Paramedic Science
Kaylee Batzek - Health Care Support-Nursing
Brian Boedeker - Design technology
Harold Boone - Advanced Automation/Robotics
Jennifer Cronin-Johnson - Business Administration
Eric Jimenez - Computer Science
Raquel Ruiz - Paralegal
Mendee Stroud - Human Services
Kristy Volk - Industrial Technology
Elizabeth Watkins - Energy Technology
Madyson Wigley - Biology
Kortney Wilgus - Human Services