Rebekah Chaffee, a biotechnology student, is among the very first to receive Ivy Tech Community College’s inaugural Presidential Honors College Scholarship. 

The scholarship provides substantial financial assistance to new, full-time Ivy Tech students in Honors College who are motivated and academically talented. 

“Receiving this scholarship is super motivating,” Chaffee, 17, said. “I knew that I was going to need scholarships to go to college because paying for it would burden my parents. Especially because they also pay for my medical expenses, and I can’t work full-time right now.”

Chaffee grew up in Lafayette, where, in high school, she wasn’t able to excel as much in her academics due to a genetic heart condition and an autoimmune disease. Add in the coronavirus pandemic, and Chaffee struggled to find adequate accommodations. For a while, she wasn’t even sure if college was in the cards for her. 

“For much of high school, I was very sick. But near the end of my high school career, I got much better, and so I said , ‘I'm gonna go to college!’” Chaffee said. 

Chaffee knew she wanted to go to Ivy Tech because her mom graduated from Ivy Tech in surgical technology. She saw that Ivy Tech Indianapolis had a biotechnology program and eagerly applied. 

“I knew I could do great things at a community college,” Chaffee said. “My mom really liked the smaller class sizes and the chance to have closer relationships with the professors, and I liked the idea of that as well because I’m only 17!” Chaffee laughed.

The 17-year-old applied for several scholarships, including the Presidential Honors College Scholarship. 

“I was like, ‘you know what, I’m not bad academically, so let’s see … why not?” Chaffee said. “Something my mom always says is: ‘the worst they can say is no.’”

Chaffee said receiving the scholarship is “a huge burden off of my family and parents. This scholarship makes it so I don’t have to work and put my academics at risk.”

Chaffee wasted no time during her first semester at Ivy Tech Indianapolis. She not only enrolled in Honors College but also joined the Student Government Association, Game Club, and Phi Theta Kappa. Chaffee says she’s met great, positive people who she now considers friends, a community. 

“It feels really weird but great at the same time because, like I said, I wasn’t valedictorian or anything in high school. But now, since being at Ivy Tech, I have made the Dean’s List, I’m in Honors College, and now I am receiving scholarships,” Chaffee said of finding the right fit. “So, this feels really nice, and I’m super motivated. My parents work very hard, and they’re great people. I hope that this kind of start to college gives me the opportunity to be able to help them out in the future.”

Chaffee looks forward to continuing her education after Ivy Tech. She aims to enter the medical biotechnology field, where she can have the opportunity to develop skin grafts, prosthetics, medications, or vaccines. 

Learn more about Honors College and the Presidential Honors College Scholarship.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.