Freshmen from across the state share why they chose to join the IU family

Freshman year is an important time in a student's college career. Big changes meet big dreams, and paths to futures are forged. Whether they're attending classes in New Albany, Richmond or Fort Wayne, these freshmen are excited to join the Indiana University family.

Meet nine students from IU campuses and regional education centers across the state and learn why they chose IU.

Evelyn Sanchez, IU Bloomington

After doing her first interview while working on a project for a student publications class, Evelyn Sanchez was hooked. As she starts her freshman year at Indiana University Bloomington, the Ben Davis High School graduate plans to learn all she can about reporting for all mediums.

Journalism isn't just something Sanchez likes to do; it's something she's good at. During her senior year of high school, she was named Student Journalist of the Year by Youth Journalism International and won the National Federation of Press Women's award for best Video News Story for her story about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Evelyn SanchezView print quality image
Evelyn Sanchez. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

But Sanchez wasn't always sure she would choose IU Bloomington. Even though she knew the campus had a strong journalism program where she could continue her pursuit of the truth, she was worried she'd feel overwhelmed at such a large school. But after visiting campus and learning about the Luis Davila Latinx Thematic Learning Community, a Living Learning Community in Forest Quadrangle, she started to see herself in Bloomington.

"The transition to college can be really hard, and being a minority doesn't make it easier," she said. "I'm happy my friend convinced me to join the Latinx community, because it will allow me to improve my Spanish and be surrounded by people who have similar experiences as me but may be taking different paths."

Beyond being involved with the community in her residence hall, Sanchez said she plans to take advantage of every journalism-related extracurricular activity available. She's already applied to write for the Indiana Daily Student covering the diversity beat and plans to get involved with IU Student Television as well.

Carly Butz, IUPUI

First-year student Carly Butz will continue her family's teaching tradition during her IUPUI career.

As an art education major within the Herron School of Art and Design, Butz will follow in the footsteps of grandfather Bruce Butz and mother Heather Butz as educators. However, Carly Butz will combine her passion for working with kids with her art prowess.

Carly ButzView print quality image
Carly Butz. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

An impressive portfolio of paintings, drawings and ceramic pieces has her locked into studio classes, starting with two- and three-dimensional design this semester. The talent will help in the classroom, which will be greatly enhanced thanks to Herron's many resources.

"They have an awesome woodworking area: the Think It Make It Lab," said Butz, a Fishers native. "I've never been able to work with 3D printers at all, so it will be really cool to learn how to use those."

Butz is a new member of the Honors College after receiving the Bepko Scholarship, along with a Herron scholarship and a Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship, which goes to students looking to start their teaching careers in Indiana.

"I love working with kids," said Butz, who worked as a camp counselor at Conner Prairie this summer. "I've had teachers inspire me, and I've seen how much teachers can make a difference in students' lives."

Butz sees high school or junior high school as her destination to teach art. After absorbing the love of education from her family and the expertise taught by Herron faculty, Butz will be ready to mold the next generation of young artists.

"I've always been around the classroom environment," Butz said. "I've always kind of loved lesson planning and being able to make those projects."

Katelyn Coddington, IU East

Katelyn Coddington was born at Reid Health Hospital in Richmond, Indiana, a stone's throw from the IU East campus. She grew up in Fountain City, Indiana, and attended Northeastern High School. Music, her favorite extracurricular activity, led her to engage with the Richmond community. Still, Coddington never really had it in her plans to attend IU East.

When it came to choosing a school, though, the freshman studying secondary education and math said IU East became a no-brainer.

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Katelyn Coddington. Photo courtesy of IU East

"IU East may not have always been on my radar for schools to go to, but since I've been on campus, I've felt so welcomed and so at home," she said. "It's a very everybody-knows-everybody type of campus."

Being close to home will allow Coddington to strengthen the connections she's built in Richmond. She can continue to play in the music ensembles like the Richmond Jazz Orchestra. She can maintain ties with her high school teachers who inspired her to pursue a degree in education. She said she even hopes to one day teach in the community that helped foster her success.

As the semester begins, Coddington said she's eager to roll up her sleeves, dig into her classes and start learning. She's also applied to be an ambassador with the Office of Admissions to welcome prospective students visiting campus.

"I want to help welcome younger students and share my story with high school students so they may find their place at IU East like I did."

Jacob Warner, IU Fort Wayne

As one of the first nearly 300 first-year students at IU Fort Wayne, Jacob Warner is entering one of the healthiest programs Indiana University offers.

Warner, a Fort Wayne native, is pursuing his nursing degree, just like his mother, Daniss Warner, did at the former Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne years before.

Jacob WarnerView print quality image
Jacob Warner. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

"I thought I'd carry on that tradition," said Warner, whose father is also a nurse. "I thought it'd be nice to help people, too."

The IU Fort Wayne School of Nursing contains about 400 students among its many tracks, making it the biggest program at the regional education center. Warner is looking forward to finding his niche and being part of the first class to graduate from IU Fort Wayne.

"They're very welcoming here, and I hope to learn a lot and have fun," Warner said.

While IU Fort Wayne is brand new, the nursing program spans generations. Warner is looking forward to following in his parents' footsteps.

"I just hope I can do them proud and get into the work and make my legacy," Warner said.

Betsy Powell, IU Kokomo

Betsy Powell picked up a tennis racket for the first time at age 4, in a summer tennis program in her hometown of Peru, Indiana.

This fall, her skills on the court take her one step closer to her dreams of being a high school math teacher, as she enrolls as a student-athlete at IU Kokomo. She's majoring in secondary education, with a focus on mathematics, while also competing as a member of the tennis team.

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Betsy Powell. Photo by Alisha Referda, IU Kokomo

Being part of the team helped calm her nervousness before classes started.

"I came to campus with at least 10 new friends right from the start," the she said.

Powell looks forward to new experiences on campus and meeting new people.

"I'm excited to get out of my comfort zone and not talk to the same five people that I talked to every day in high school," she said, adding that she's pushing herself by taking a public speaking class.

"Talking in public is one of my biggest fears," she said.

She’s also eager to meet other education majors, as well as faculty.

"At new student convocation, I was told the education program is one big family," she said. "I'm excited to get to know those professors."

Powell originally considered being a history teacher, but one of her favorite teachers at Maconaquah High School inspired her to choose a different path.

"Mr. Wolfe was the best teacher I ever had," she said. "I already knew I wanted to be a teacher, and he made me realize if you’re good at math, you should try math."

Meghan Latta, IU Northwest

IU Northwest freshman Meghan Latta is looking forward to flexing her creative muscles as she joins the campus community this fall.

The first in her family to pursue a four-year degree, the Hammond resident and Chancellor's Merit Scholar plans to pursue visual arts education and become an art teacher as well as a professional artist.

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Meghan Latta. Photo by Erika Rose, IU Northwest

Latta's band instructor at Clark High School, perhaps unknowingly, inspired Latta with his own passion.

"He was just so passionate and caring, and he put what he loved into teaching," Latta said. "I love art, so I wanted to do the same, but in my own way, so I felt that teaching art would be a good career for me to pursue."

Latta said her family supports her aspirations, whether that means college or another route to a satisfying career. And even though a four-year degree is proven to increase one's earning potential, Latta says a salary is secondary to her love of learning.

"I'm not doing this for the money," she said. "I am doing this to be creative and help others."

Latta loves to create. Painting with acrylics is her favorite outlet right now, which has perhaps taken a backseat to getting acclimated to college these days. Latta said that once she gets used to her workload and can effectively manage her time as a new college student, she plans to check out the Paintball Club and the Art Club.

"I'm excited for a new beginning," she says. "I can't wait for new challenges, meeting new people, and all that IU Northwest has to offer. I am so thankful to be a part of the IU Northwest family."

Angie Gonzalez, IUPUC

The dentist's office may not rank that high on most children's top destinations, but it was a favorite pastime for a young Angie Gonzalez.

"I've loved going to the dentist since I was little," said the incoming IUPUC student from Columbus. "It's weird."

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Angie Gonzalez. Photo courtesy of IUPUC

Gonzalez plans to study dentistry at IUPUI after finishing all of her general education and prerequisite classes at IUPUC.

During her sophomore year at Columbus North High School, Gonzalez participated in the C4 Columbus Career Connection program, which exposed her to the dental hygienist and assistant professions. She fell in love with the occupation quickly.

While not sure which track she will choose in dentistry, Gonzalez said she is thrilled to be starting her collegiate career. She is the first in her family to become a full-time college student.

"It's a little bit stressful," Gonzalez said. "I want to make my family proud."

The 17-year-old has chemistry, biology, English and human anatomy classes scheduled for her first semester. By staying in Columbus, she will be able to keep her part-time job at iCARE, a pre-kindergarten to sixth-grade day care and after-school center in Columbus.

Gonzalez said IUPUC's smaller student-to-faculty ratio will work in her favor the first two years of her college experience.

"I'll be able to communicate more with the teachers since it's a little campus," Gonzalez said. "I like being in a small class, so I can learn better."

Just like when she was a little girl on her way to a teeth cleaning, Gonzalez is looking forward to polishing her skills at IUPUC and then eventually helping children enjoy the dentist as much as she did.

"I already know how to manage little kids," Gonzalez said. "The skills I have now will help me when I'm working as a dental assistant or hygienist."

Rana Hamad, IU South Bend

First-year student Rana Hamad is continuing the family tradition of attending IU South Bend. Hailing from Whiting, Indiana, Hamad chose IU South Bend because her older sister is a psychology major here.

"IU South Bend was not on my radar at first," Hamad said. "However, my sister attends here, and when she was talking about it, I decided to visit. That's when I fell in love with the atmosphere of campus. It's a small college and reminds me of my small hometown. I just love the vibes of just knowing people and feeling welcome."

Rana HamadView print quality image
Rana Hamad. Photo courtesy of IU South Bend

Hamad plans to study biochemistry as a stepping stone to pursuing a medical degree.

"I'm leaning toward pediatrics because I love working with children," she says.

In the meantime, Hamad is ready to get her college career started on a successful note.

"I just hope to adjust into college life, understand how my classes are going to work, and handle school work and being social in a new environment. But mainly, I'm just really excited to be here."

Kyann South, IU Southeast

Freshman Kyann South said the support and culture of IU Southeast made her decision to attend easy. Now she's enjoying getting to know her new community.

"The great thing about IU Southeast is how welcoming everyone is," South said. "I really feel like I belong here."

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Kyann South. Photo courtesy IU Southeast

South, a New Albany native, is looking forward to starting her path to become a counselor for youth in juvenile centers. South said she wants to help the children and teens get themselves on the right track and give them a fresh start. To do so, she plans on studying at the School of Social Sciences and getting degrees in psychology and communications. She hopes to get her master’s in counseling after her undergraduate program.

She also stays busy by working at the Autumn Woods Health Center, a health care home in New Albany. Outside the classroom, South wants to take advantage of the different opportunities offered. She plans on joining the volleyball and psychology club at IU Southeast.

"I am impressed by the number of clubs and activities that IU Southeast offers their students," South said. "I am looking forward to getting more involved in and out of the classroom."