KOKOMO — A history major from the Kokomo campus was one of 31 Indiana University students recognized for academic excellence and campus involvement, as a winner of the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Service Award (DASA) grants.
Connor Reed, from Macy, received the $2,500 scholarship for the spring 2017 semester, allowing him to complete his degree without any additional student loan debt.
He realized the prestige of an IU degree while attending the awards ceremony in Bloomington, which also included induction of four new DASA honorees. They included Grammy-award winning trumpeter and composer Chris Botti, football player turned adoption advocate for African American children Moses Gray, federal disaster response leader Richard A. Reed, and the Hon. Lorna G. Schofield, the first federal judge of Filipino-American descent.
“It made me understand that as an IU Kokomo graduate, I am part of the bigger IU family,” said Reed, who is earning a minor in philosophy. ““It was inspiring to see people with IU degrees doing amazing things with their lives. The DASA club wanted us to be inspired by their success, so someday we will do something just as memorable with our degrees.”
He also enjoyed networking with other DASA scholarship recipients, and sharing ideas for campus service projects.
DASA members present the scholarships annually to IU seniors who meet academic standards, who have been involved on their campuses, and who have not previously received any IU grants or scholarships. All seniors are considered without an application process, which left Reed pleasantly surprised when he received notification by email that he had been chosen.
“This scholarship should cover most of my expenses for my last semester, and I should be able to pay the rest myself, so I won’t have to take the loan I thought I would have to take next semester,” he said.
He credits his involvement in IU Kokomo’s honors program for making him stand out to those selecting DASA grant winners. He’s participated in honors program events, and plans to present a paper at IU Kokomo’s undergraduate research symposium.
He’s undecided on his career path, and is looking for museum internship opportunities after graduation in May, to see if that is what he wants to do with his history degree.
Reed appreciates his professors, and the opportunity to learn about a variety of areas in history while earning his degree.
He noted that Peter Sposato, assistant professor of history, has influenced his writing and his potential career choices.
“He’s definitely taught me how to be a better writer, and that the writing aspect of history, and the critical thinking about history, opens a lot more doors than I previously thought,” he said. “There are opportunities other than teaching or being a historian. He talked to be about how the ability to think critically will allow me to apply my history degree in just about any company, because employers are seeking people with those abilities.”
The grants are based on academic achievement, and are funded solely by personal donations from the elite group of alumni who have received Distinguished Alumni Service Awards, the university’s highest award given to an alumna or alumnus. Grant recipients were honored as part of IU’s Homecoming Celebration October 14.