Lizzie Heisler ’21 is the 2018–2019 recipient of the “Realizing the Dream” scholarship at Valparaiso University.

The “Realizing the Dream” annual award recognizes outstanding academic success by awarding a $2,500 scholarship to a first-generation sophomore student who excelled during their freshman year. Made possible by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., this award honors one student at each of the 30 member institutions of the Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI), a nonprofit association that works for excellence and choice in higher education for all students.

Heisler is a nursing major from Osceola, Indiana. She is a member of the Valparaiso University Chorale, Pi Beta Phi Sorority and Student Nursing Association; is an Ambassador in Admission; and volunteers at the Humane Society and ETHOS Innovation Center.

“To me being a Valpo student means being part of a community and contributing as much as you can to it. Valpo is an amazing campus in that you have so many opportunities presented to you,” Heisler said. “As a student at Valpo you won’t develop just in your major but as a whole person. Every day I am so happy with the people I have met, the opportunities I have and the mentors I was able to work with.”

Heisler has been impacted by Gail Kost, an associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions whom she met at a nursing banquet in Indianapolis earlier this year.

“Often a major like nursing can get to be overwhelming, and Professor Kost is always willing to help explain topics in which I struggle or give me advice when I need it,” Heisler said. “She thoroughly cares about her students and their success.”

“I actually just met Lizzie when I attended the awards banquet. She and I spoke about her courses and she said she was doing well. She articulated being a hard worker. She and her sister are both attending college and will be the first in the family to attend college and graduate,” Kost said. “She is a lovely young woman and seems to have a genuine love for the profession.”

Heisler and the other 29 scholarship recipients were honored and presented with their awards at a banquet in Indianapolis.