2013 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Nominee Christine Harper

2013 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Nominee Christine Harper

Each year, Grant County accredited high schools are asked to nominate one representative for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Award.  The representatives must attend a Grant County high school and have a minimum 3.5 grade point average (unweighted).  Additionally, they must be in the top 10% of their graduating class, intend to pursue a bachelor’s degree at an accredited public or private college or university in Indiana, have strong leadership skills, and demonstrate volunteerism through community service.  They also must interview in front of the Community Foundation’s Lilly Nominating Committee.

The Nominating Committee chooses two nominees and the remaining four candidates are presented as alternates.  The finalists’ names are submitted to Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. (ICI) for selection of the recipients. ICI oversees the statewide administration of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program. ICI sets basic guidelines, reviews the local selection process, and approves final winners chosen in Grant County.

The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship awards full tuition for four years to the Indiana college of the scholar’s choice, plus a $900 stipend for required books and equipment.  Among the six nominees, two scholars will be chosen as Grant County’s “Lilly Scholars”.

The two (2) Lilly Award Presentations will take place on April 1, 2013 at the schools of the local winners.

The four (4) Runners-up will receive the Robert R. Board and Janis M. Board Scholarship. This scholarship is a $4,500 award renewable for three additional years for a total scholarship award of $18,000.

Christine Harper
Oak Hill

Town:  Swayzee
High School:  Oak Hill High School
College Choice:  Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Major:  Natural Science
High School Class Rank:  1 (of 138)
GPA:  4.0
SAT Score:  2040
ACT Score:  33


1. What Extracurricular Actives have you been involved in over the past 2 – 3 years?
Certainly the most time consuming extracurricular activity I have been involved in is high school sports. I am a three sport athlete; I play volleyball, swim, and run track. I will finish my high school career with eleven varsity letters. I could not say enough about my love of high school sports. I appreciate the camaraderie, the competition, the challenge. Sports have shaped the way I approach problems, increased my leadership ability, and taught me teamwork. In my free time, I enjoy community service. Lately I have spent time at the Salvation Army. I rang bells in the holiday season and worked with the children’s program in the fall. I am so thankful to have been part of the children’s program. They are such a beautiful and innocent group of children. Among the other things I have participated in are German Club, National Honor Society, and
Academic team. Each activity offers a unique addition, and the culmination of the extra-curricular activities has brought me a balanced but varied high school experience.

2. What are some of your hobbies?
Two of my favorite hobbies are reading and baking. I’ve been a voracious reader for years. Depending on what you choose to read, books can teach you something new, give you a new perspective, or just entertain you. I love getting lost in books. I love the interplay between my own imagination and the author’s words. Unfortunately, I have been reading more textbooks lately than novels, but reading novels is still something I love to do in my free time. I also bake on a regular basis. There is something satisfying about creating something with your own hands. Baking is involved enough to entertain me but easy enough to allow me to relax and let my mind wander. Admittedly, my favorite part of baking is eating my creations in the end.

3. What is your best memory from high school?
My favorite memory is when my 1600 meter relay team broke our school record at sectionals. I remember stumbling across the finish line, exhausted, and the three other girls on my relay mobbed me and smothered me in the most affectionate group hug. We had just smashed our school record by ten seconds, and going to state was now a realistic possibility. This memory is perfect for so many reasons.  Accomplishing this goal with my teammates, running for them and with them, perfectly exemplified one of my favorite aspects of sports: camaraderie. We had put so much time and effort into track. Those can be long, long hours to work without a promise of a reward, and it was so beautiful to see that hard work pay off in such a big way. And while know I would cherish my high school sports experience with or without a school record, reaching that goal, getting the acknowledgment, was a wonderful moment.

4. If you could be the best at any one thing, what would you choose?
If I could be the best at anything, I would best the best researcher in the world. I can think of no other single quality that would be of better use to humanity. A single researcher can impact millions or even billions of people. I think of the resounding impacts of the research done by the likes of Louis Pasteur and Marie Curie and hope that I too can make a significant scientific contribution that would lead to human betterment. Not only would being the leading researcher be helpful to society, but it would be something I enjoyed. Research is so challenging and rewarding. I would enjoy my job; I could work on complex and useful puzzles daily. Being the best researcher in the world, I would have the opportunity to surround myself with other great intellects and secure ample funding to pursue my projects.

5. What advice would you give underclassmen?
The first thing I would tell underclassmen is to get involved. High school has so many enriching opportunities. There are sports teams, drama club, speech team, show choir, debate team, FFA, academic team, and so many other opportunities. You never know what you might be good at, and normally the company of the people around you makes it worth it no matter what. Do your best to enjoy what you have and surround yourself with people that make you happy. The second thing I would tell underclassmen is to realize that the opportunity to obtain an education is a blessing. It is too easy and too common to see high school as a job and a burden. Students do as little as possible to get by and complain about each new challenge teachers present.  Appreciate that what you are learning now will help you in the future. I know it is tough, but try your best to see school as a great opportunity. As Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

6. If you had an unlimited source of money, how would you spend it?
First I would help my family and friends with their house payments, car payments, college debt, or whatever else. My family and friends have invested so much in me; I know I could never fully repay them, but with unlimited money I could at least start.
Next I would start injecting money into our community. The dedication and vision that I have seen while working in places like the Salvation Army and St. Martin inspires me. I am assured that investment in places like those and community involvement are the keys to making Grant County an even better place. After family and community my last focus would be education. I want to fund programs that would get elementary and high school students excited about learning. In particular, I want to encourage girls to enter into the fields of math and science. Freeing graduates from the monetary constraints that prevent them from pursuing further education would be one of my last steps. Society can only keep improving if it keeps learning.

7. What are some things you can’t live without?
There are not many material things I could not live without, although I would seriously miss my laptop, my running shoes, my bed, and Netflix. Most of the things I would not like to live without are opportunities and abstract ideas. I couldn’t survive without the opportunity to interact with other people. Despite being a fairly independent and self-sufficient person, living without human interaction would be miserable for me.  Other people make life enriching. I could not live without the opportunity to learn and grow. I cannot bear the idea of becoming intellectually stagnant. The abstract things I could not live without include friendship and love.  Friendship makes life beautiful.  Love makes life meaningful.

8. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years I would like to be starting a family and researching at one of the local colleges or a pharmaceutical company. Of all of the things in life, family is the most important. I hope that in ten years I will be blessed with the opportunity of creating my own family. I look forward to such titles as wife and mother. Professionally I hope to have established myself as a reliable and innovative biochemist. I am particularly interested in the genetic and medical applications of biochemistry, and ten years from now I want to be doing work that can help others. Ideally I would be working on creating medicines or gene therapy. Above all, I want to return to Grant County. This community has invested so much in me. I have invested so much in it. So many wonderful community members that I have grown to love live here. I have no intention of leaving Grant County behind.

9. What kind of music is on your iPod/iPhone?
I have an eclectic collection of music on my iPod. The wonderful variability of music means that I can find a song to fit every mood. The majority of my music can be fit into three categories. I have relaxing music, workout music, and nostalgic music. I play the relaxing music when I am alone and feeling introspective. I like to listen to voices with soul and lyrics that you can unravel in layers. The songs of Mumford and Sons and Florence and the Machine grace my playlist. When I am working out, I listen to more upbeat pop songs. The words don’t concern me, but I need a motivating and happy beat. My last category of music, the nostalgic music, consists of songs that remind me of other people. Whenever I hear oldies I immediately remember my Grandpa playing the piano. Classic rock summons images of my father singing hopelessly out of tune. The tunes of Peter, Paul, and Mary inevitably have me picturing my mother. I love music and how it can so easily capture memories.

10. If you were stranded on an island with only your clothes and three other items what would they be?
I would bring a machete, a flint, and a field guide containing information on local flora and fauna. The versatility of the machete would make it invaluable. I could use it to do everything from hunting to building a shelter. From the flint comes fire; I could cook my food, sterilize water, stay warm, and perhaps signal a passing boat with my smoke.  The field guide may not initially seem as much of a practical choice, but ultimately it could be the most useful. If am stranded on an island, I will be unfamiliar with the local ecosystem. with the indispensable knowledge contained in the almanac, I could safely avoid consuming poisonous plants or aggravating dangerous animals. The combination of these three items would equip me to face most challenges on an island.

11.  If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would love to have dinner with Queen Elizabeth the First. when I was in elementary school I read a biography about her, and I have been intrigued ever since. I admire her capable leadership in the face of many adversities. After a tumultuous childhood where she lost her mother and brother and was imprisoned by her own sister, she ruled with incredible wisdom and tolerance. She was such a powerful figure in a time when women were not considered capable. I would love to get her perspective on feminism. She even chose to forgo marriage so that she could continue serving her country. I could learn so much from her about self-sacrifice and working for the greater good. I’m sure should would have some inspiring words about trail blazing and dedication.

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