Local Graduates Coming Home to “Pay It Foward” to Others
Written by: Robin Reid, Storyteller/Content Manager
If you’re the parent of a college-bound student, determining how to pay for ever increasing tuition, books, and housing costs is overwhelming. It puts a lot of stress on families and some students give up pursuit of their dream career. Fortunately, the Community Foundation of Morgan County (CFMC) offers two Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships, Kendrick Foundation and CFMC Scholarships for qualified students.
“We know it can be a difficult time when families are faced with the question, ‘How are we going to pay for it all?’, so we’re here to help,” said CFMC Finance and Scholarship Manager Christine Arnold. “Our scholarships provide a way for many students to achieve their goals.”
Kaitlin Applegate and her brother, Brandon, along with Elisabeth Nicholson are current/past winners of the Kendrick Foundation Scholarship. The generous, financial support provided has opportunities for them to pursue their dreams, and they plan to ‘pay it forward’ in our community.
Kaitlin Applegate – 2018 Kendrick Foundation Scholarship Winner
A 2014 Martinsville High School graduate, Kaitlin is enrolled in her first year at the Indiana University Doctor of Optometry program.
“The Kendrick Foundation Scholarship has impacted my life tremendously and I’m honored to have been selected as a recipient of such a prestigious award,” said Applegate. “It’s definitely lessened the financial stress on my family, as well as reduced the amount of federal loans incurred to pay for my education.”
According to Kaitlin, not having to worry so much about college expenses allows her to better focus on her studies so she can excel in graduate coursework.
When she is not busy “hitting the books”, Kaitlin is actively involved with the Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) and the American Academy of Optometry (AAO). “Through VOSH, I’ll have the opportunity to volunteer and assist with school eye exams and fulfill a lifelong dream of going on a mission trip to provide services to underprivileged people around the globe,” Applegate added.
She said it’s important to fully embrace the college experience by getting involved outside the classroom. Whether it’s joining a professional organization or participating in charity work, college life provides a great springboard for personal and professional development.
What are her plans after graduation? As a Doctor of Optometry, Kaitlin wants to return to Morgan County and open her own practice. “Not only do I want to provide quality eye care to my patients, I also want to raise awareness on the importance of eye safety and health,” she said. “I also hope to be a well-known community leader through sponsoring and helping with different events and organizations, especially with the generations of youth that follow.”
What advice does Kaitlin have for high school students thinking about applying for a scholarship? “Be involved and have fun while doing it! Community involvement is one of the most important factors when pursuing a scholarship,” said Applegate. “It helps you develop a network of professional relationships and the scholarship committee understands who you are on a different level. Overall, just remember to be true to yourself, let it show in your application and pursue your passion!”
Elisabeth Nicholson – 2013 Kendrick Foundation Scholarship Winner
Upon graduating from the Indiana University Dental Surgery program, Elisabeth wanted to ‘
pay it forward’ and returned to Morgan County to practice dentistry at Mooresville Dental Care.
“I treat my patients like family by offering compassion as they enter our office,” Nicholson said. “For some people going to the dentist can be scary.”
Elisabeth went to Butler University for undergrad studies where she double majored in Chemistry and Spanish. “Working seemed to be my hobby in college as I was a lifeguard, chemistry lab tech, tutor and nanny,” she added. “When I wasn’t working or studying, I volunteered with College Mentors for Kids and rode horses with the Butler Intercollegiate Equestrian Team.”
Receiving the Kendrick Scholarship gave Elisabeth the opportunity for additional volunteer work while in dental school. She was involved with the research department and spent four years interviewing and investigating trends in dental care access for the Latino population in Indianapolis.
When asked what advice she had for college-bound students, Nicholson said, “Keep applying! I wasn’t selected for the Kendrick Scholarship for undergrad, but I didn’t let that discourage me when it came time to apply for dental school.”
Brandon Applegate – 2016 Kendrick Foundation Scholarship Winner
Upon graduation from Indiana State University’s (ISU) Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program, Brandon Applegate plans to return home and work in an outpatient orthopedic clinic as a physical therapist.
“Morgan County is a widely underserved area and I would like to make my impact through health promotion and health prevention,” he said. “Chronic diseases are preventable and it’s my goal to help raise awareness and educate our community to help people live their healthiest and best life.”
A 2012 graduate of Martinsville High School, Brandon earned a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from ISU. He is currently in his third and final year of the doctorate program. While at ISU, Brandon was a member of the Track and Field team as a javelin thrower. He was also a regular volunteer at the Terre Haute Boys and Girls Club. For the last two months, he has overseen a health promotion program at the Boys and Girls Club, emphasizing the importance of a healthy lifestyle, both physical and mental.
“The Kendrick Foundation Scholarship has taken a significant financial burden off my shoulders. Grad school is expensive, and I truly believe I wouldn’t have been able to immerse myself into my studies as much as I have without this scholarship,” he said. “I would have had to take a second job to help make ends meet. My parents helped pay for undergrad for me and my two siblings, but I didn’t want them to have to help pay for grad school, too.”
When asked what he would say to high school students wanting to apply for a scholarship, Brandon had this encouragement, “If you’re applying for the scholarship, make sure you’re an active community member. Volunteering is an important part of being a Kendrick Scholar, as we continually strive to give back to our community. I would also recommend making your studies top priority as the Kendrick Scholarship is very competitive.”
We hope the testimonies of Kaitlin, Elisabeth and Brandon encourages students and their families to consider applying for one of our scholarships. While the application process is currently closed for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship. You can still apply for a CFMC and Kendrick Foundation Scholarships. Application deadline is January 7, 2019. CFMC will host its annual Scholarship Fair at Martinsville High School on December 3rd. The schedule and times for the scholarship fair will be released in the near future. For more information, go to www.cfmconline.org or call us at (765) 813-0003.