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Curious Students Inspired to Achieve

When Neal Coleman was a child, he was fascinated by math. So much so, he taught himself calculus in the fourth grade. Now, as a senior majoring in math and physics at Ball State, Coleman is researching the multivariate basis behind digital security codes and debugging physics code in the Computational Nanoscience Center. A recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in 2009, he plans to earn his doctorate and pursue a career in research following graduation.

Coleman is just one of a growing number of bright, curious students at Ball State University. Since the start of Education Redefined: Strategic Plan 2007-2012, the number of students enrolling in our Honors College and holding Academic Honors Diplomas has risen. These students are earning more—and increasingly large and prestigious—national scholarships and fellowships.

“I think we are starting to see a pretty clear trend where Ball State students are competing with the best of their peers around the country for many of these prestigious awards,” says Barbara Stedman, director of national and international scholarships and Honor College fellow. “It’s proof of what we have been doing recently in terms of recruiting these kinds of high-achieving students.” 

Since 2007, Ball State students have earned 18 major national awards, including the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, Morris K. Udall Scholarship, Fulbright Fellowship, James Madison Fellowship, Critical Language Scholarship, and Navy Health Professionals Scholarship.

Building on the knowledge and education earned at Ball State, our students are using these scholarships to teach English in Indonesia, experience the culture of Egypt and Peru, and further their education and careers.

Ashley Keith, a 2009 graduate who majored in information systems and criminal justice and criminology, earned the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. She is continuing her education at the nationally ranked Information Networking Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. As part of her scholarship, she will work for the federal government for two years after completing her master’s degree.

“I’m pursuing my dreams,” she says. “I thought that working for the government, perhaps helping with digital forensic investigations, would be the perfect way to combine my two fields of interest. My scholarship is giving me the opportunity to do exactly what I want to do.”

Coleman’s plans for the future are not as firm; however, he knows his Ball State education will prepare him for his next steps. “Being able to work closely with professors in my major and in the Honors College has been invaluable. I know my education will give me the tools necessary to be flexible in my career,” he says.

Coleman and Keith are just two examples of students who are pursuing their dreams at Ball State. Read The Chronicles for more stories about our bright, curious students.

Also, learn more about the ways we are achieving the strategic plan objectives related to academic excellence and a rigorous learning experience.