Illinois State University student Dyrell Ashley has been named a Gates Millennium Scholar through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Ashley, a freshman from Chicago, is the first Gates Scholar from the University. Ashley is one of 1,000 students who will be awarded a good-through-graduation scholarship that can be used to pursue a degree in any undergraduate major at the accredited college or university of his or her choice.

“This was a long and exhaustive application process,” said Ashley, who is working toward a degree in biology teacher education, “but everything from room and board to books and tuition are covered.”

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999 to provide outstanding African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline area of interest.

Continuing Gates Millennium Scholars may request funding for a graduate degree program in one of the following discipline areas: computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science. “If I go on for a doctorate, then that means 10 years of college costs covered, which is amazing,” said Ashley.

Scholars must be first-time college students who have excelled academically and demonstrated leadership abilities through participation in community service, extracurricular or other activities. Those accepted must plan on enrolling at an accredited U.S. college or university. Ashley began the process of applying for the grant when he was a senior at Julian High School in Chicago.

To speak with Ashley, contact Media Relations at (309) 438-5744.