Meg Bell ’22 is the 2019–2020 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.

Bell is a theatre major from Union Mills, Indiana. She is a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority and recently worked backstage in the campus production of “Barefoot in the Park.”

“Being a Valpo student means creating a welcoming and inclusive environment. When I came to Valpo, the first thing I noticed was how close all the students were and how all the faculty had the desire to help their students,” Bell said. “I’m grateful to be at Valpo where I can connect and create friendships with people from a variety of backgrounds.”

Bell has been impacted by Gretchen Buggeln, professor of art history and humanities, with whom she went on a Spring Break Cultural Immersion Trip to Oklahoma in March 2019.

“Professor Buggeln is passionate about her work and has an abundance of knowledge. Seeing her dedication influences me to discover my own vocation,” Bell said. “If I ever needed to talk to someone, I know she would listen and try to help the best she could.”

Buggeln shows great excitement and appreciation for students like Bell, highlighting the connection that Valpo students have with their professors. Valpo faculty are dedicated to student success work hard to give their students what they need to be their best selves.

“Meg is thoughtful, hardworking, observant, and has a spirit of adventure and discovery,” Buggeln said. “Meg works really hard, in and out of school, to make her Valpo experience possible. I believe she is exactly the sort of person the creators of the award had in mind — full of promise and determination. A gift to our Valpo community.”

Bell and the other 29 scholarship recipients received their awards at a banquet in Indianapolis on Nov. 2.