From student scholarships to innovative spaces, from faculty support to hands-on leadership experiences, philanthropy is already at work on campus. Two Illinois State students have benefited from donor-funded scholarships.

Caleb Scott

Caleb Scott

Caleb Scott envisions himself in the classroom after graduating with a degree in technology and engineering education. Scott is grateful to have received the Joe Talkington Endowed Scholarship, which allowed him to focus and succeed in his studies.

Over the summer, Scott interned in Boulder, Colorado. During his internship, he tested equipment and recorded precipitation using code in Python for the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Scott is approaching his future as a graphic communications teacher with enthusiasm while also rooting for his fellow classmates. Scott loves the individualized attention in his major and could not be prouder to be part of a group of hard working and supportive classmates. He wants to bring joy to and challenge future students, as his past high school teachers have inspired him.

Because donors believed in him and gave him the push to finish strong, Scott plans to pay it forward in the future. Scott had this to say to his donors: “College has been extremely important to my success in life and hopefully my career, and it could not have been possible without your help.”

Valerie Sherman

Valerie Sherman

Valerie Sherman always knew that she wanted to advocate for children, but she was unsure how. After receiving The Audrey J. Grupe Fellowship in School Psychology, Sherman felt her efforts in school were paying off, and the scholarship confirmed that she was in the right field.

It was through her courses at Illinois State that Sherman realized she wanted to become an advocate for children of diverse and struggling backgrounds by supporting their behavioral and social-emotional development. Sherman spent two weeks in Arequipa, Peru, this past summer in a language immersion program. This exposure to another culture and language encouraged her to become fluent in Spanish. It was also through this trip that she realized she wanted to become a bilingual school psychologist.

When the director of the psychology program called her name to inform her she was selected for the Audrey J. Grupe Fellowship in School Psychology fellowship, she could not contain her tears of joy. “I knew now I would be able to devote more time to myself and my interests and focus on and appreciate my graduate training experiences,” Sherman said.

Sherman recognizes her donor’s support: “Thank you for continuing to support this wonderful fellowship. Your great kindness and generosity have touched me tremendously, and I hope to make you proud in my career as a future school psychologist.”

To learn how you can join over 54,000 donors who support scholarship, leadership, and innovation at Illinois State, visit