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Miller honored as “Realizing the Dream” award recipient

Shawna Miller, a sophomore youth ministry and missions double major at Huntington University, was recently honored as a 2015 “Realizing the Dream” award recipient. She is originally from Portland, Indiana, and is actively involved on and off campus as a resident assistant, student admissions staff member and youth group volunteer at The Well.

Miller was one of 31 students from Indiana’s independent colleges and universities to be celebrated Nov. 7 at the 26th annual “Realizing the Dream” banquet held in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Realizing a dream takes commitment, hard work, and, most often, a helping hand from family and others. Now sophomores, the students selected for the award have realized the dream of being the first in their families to go to college, have been selected by their colleges for outstanding achievement during freshman year, and are successfully advancing towards completing their bachelor’s degrees.

“Shawna is warm, enthusiastic and joyful,” said Mallory Harrigan, resident director for Baker Hall and Roush Hall, where Miller serves as a resident director. “She cares for residents on her floor with kindness and she has an influential positivity. Shawna is the kind of woman that you want to befriend.”

Made possible by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to the Independent Colleges of Indiana, the event recognizes first-generation students attending ICI campuses, along with their inspirational teachers and families. Chrissy Krieg of Jay County High School in Portland was recognized with an award as an influential educator in Miller’s life.

“I feel so blessed by the award,” Miller said. “God’s provision is so great and he continually shows me that Huntington University is where I am supposed to be. It was also such an honor to get to honor my teacher, Chrissy Krieg. Her hard work and love throughout my high school career always pushed me to go the extra mile!” 

Each student honored will receive a $2,500 check to help with college costs, and each student’s selected “most influential” teacher/mentor will receive a $1,000 professional development grant. One out of every three students on ICI campuses is first-generation. Generous financial aid provided by the campuses themselves, combined with state and federal grants, makes a private college education a possibility for all students in Indiana.

Independent Colleges of Indiana serves as the collective voice for the state’s 31 private, nonprofit colleges and universities. ICI member institutions enroll almost 100,000 students (approximately 17 percent of all students statewide) and annually produce 32 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in Indiana. Information about ICI is available at www.icindiana.org.