Herbert Scholars have large thirsts for learning and career success 

November 14, 2023 |

There is an abundance of common denominators and life interests in the stories of the three new Herbert Presidential Scholars at Indiana University East.

They all are multifaceted and have strong-minded drives to succeed. They were surprised by winning the award and by the breadth of its benefits, mainly knowing that tuition and fees are covered for four years. They love small class sizes and close-knit campus connections that mimic the feel of their rural high schools.

Yet, Ryan Craig of Shenandoah, Cadence Wright of Northeastern, and Anna Hoover of Hagerstown have widely unique experiences and perspectives.

They thirst for new learning experiences that will help them prosper in school and propel them toward successful careers.

Craig channeled the drive of his mother and the memory of his late father to become an excellent student and athlete (He is on the IU East men’s golf team). He plans on gaining a degree in business administration and supplementing that with three minors.

Wright, appropriately, is focused on writing. She journals. She writes books. She is pursuing a degree in communication and hopes to carve out a niche career as an online book reader and editor.

Hoover is a multitasker with interests that range from art design to architecture, reading to horseback riding, and sociology to the study of connections between languages. She plans degrees in graphic design and marketing – and she may add Spanish to make it a trio of majors.

The full-ride Herbert Presidential award is prestigious: It is given to only 30 incoming freshmen throughout the Indiana University system.

The award comes with a $1,200 stipend to buy electronics (such as a laptop) and also $1,000 toward a study-abroad experience anytime in the four years.

It also offers opportunities to meet leaders at Indiana University and to earn internships and research in the students’ chosen fields.

Ryan Craig

Ryan’s story is one of surprise, blessings, and tragedy overcome through a mother’s love and sacrifice.

His hard work and perfection at Shenandoah High School helped pave the way to the prestigious full-ride scholarship.

Ryan Craig of Shenandoah High School
Ryan Craig of Shenandoah High School

“I have to do good in every class,” Ryan admits. “It’s always been a drive of mine.”

The drive for success was imbedded by his parents, Steve and Melia.

Sadly, though, Steve was killed in a car crash as he drove to work on the same morning Ryan started first grade in August 2011. “It was very sudden,” he remembers.

“He was a well-known and well-liked guy.”

Steve, who died at age 32, was an MRI technician in Fishers, an avid Cubs and Bears fan, and a coach for his children’s baseball, basketball, and soccer teams.

Ryan is amazed that his mother, Melia, made monumental sacrifices for 12 years to prod him and his older sister, Katie, toward academic and athletic excellence. “I didn’t know how she did it. She was there for everything,” Ryan said. “It’s incredible how she raised us.”

Now, he says, it’s incredible that the Herbert Scholarship will help to pay her back by covering his tuition and fees. “It’s amazing to take that burden off of her,” Ryan said. “I still have a busy schedule, but know I don’t have to worry about rent.”

Melia proudly watched on Scholarship Day as Ryan opened the folder that contained the information about the reward for his years as a high-achieving student. “I had no clue. I was dumbfounded,” he said. “It was the most exciting thing ever.”

He used the $1,200 stipend “to buy a nice Dell laptop.”

He’s excited about the study-abroad help. “I am interested in doing a program in Kyoto, Japan, or Singapore,” he said. “They are business hubs of the world.”

Ryan and Katie (a junior) both play golf now for the Red Wolves – the sport their father loved. In fact, Steve also attended IU East.

“I never had a doubt where I was going,” said Ryan, who turned 18 in June.

He likes taking some classes online and small class sizes on campus like he had at Shenandoah (the Class of 2023 had 93 graduates). “I am really comfortable with it,” he said.

He likes Richmond. “I am really big into the city feel. Richmond is not bustling, but it’s busy. It has a small-town feel at the same time.”

He likes the degree offerings at IU East. He aims to major in business administration and also work on three minors: forensic financial investigation, marketing, and sports marketing/management. “My uncle helps uncover fraud in the corporate world,” Ryan said. “I want to follow him.”

Cadence Wright

Writing is essential to Cadence Wright.

It’s in her DNA. It’s in her day-to-day life. And it’s certainly appropriate for her last name.

How essential? Well, she kept an “extensive journal of everything that happened” through her years at Northeastern High School.

She already has started writing two books and has solid ideas for others.

Cadence Wright of Northeastern High School
Cadence Wright of Northeastern High School

And, she is focused on a Communications degree at IU East with hopes of working in a niche career as an online reader and editor of novels. “There are not many opportunities to do that,” she admits.

Call it a challenge: she has the determination to chart her own path and reach her career dreams.

An online-focused career opportunity would be a way to stay close to home and pursue other interests, such as working around pets as she does in a job at Kurtz Veterinary Clinic in Hagerstown.

Wright is planning to earn a bachelor’s in communications studies along with a minor in creative writing or technical writing.

Wright happily discovered that the Herbert Award can be used to pay for graduate school, which she plans to attend at IU East. The bonus year is possible because she completed a year’s worth of dual-credit classes while in high school.

Wright said her parents, Michelle and Darrell Wright, have high expectations for her in education and she ranked second in her class at Northeastern. Still, it was a surprise for all of them to learn about the award on Scholarship Day.

“They were proud of the full ride,” said Cadence Wright.

Wright said she is still exploring her options about buying a laptop and hasn’t started considering where she might want to do a study-abroad trip: “It’s a great opportunity. I’ve never been out of the United States. Anywhere would be cool, an amazing experience.”

The award also came with something else that Wright cherishes: “They came in and gave us medals between classes one day.”

In strong academics, Wright was a conference champion in tennis for Northeastern.

But, she has stopped playing competitively. “I loved tennis so much, but my wrist could not handle it any more,” Wright said. “I still play with friends and my mom.”

She had a legacy reason for applying at IU East. Michelle Wright attended there for her last two years in college and earned a degree in business management.

Cadence noted other reasons for attending IU East – low costs, small class sizes, and a strong reputation for academics. “It’s a really good school,” she said.

There is another good reason: She loves pets and can continue to work as a receptionist at Kurtz Veterinary Clinic, where her mom is the practice manager: “I can get along with pretty much any animal,” Wright said. Her family owns an Aussiedoodle dog and two cats.

Anna Hoover

This multitalented and multidimensional student is seriously considering the herculean task of majoring in three disciplines at IU East.

“I really like learning,” explained the graduate from Hagerstown High School. “I am often on the hunt for something new to do.”

Anna Hoover of Hagerstown High School
Anna Hoover of Hagerstown High School

That hunt often includes:

– Drawing, creating an art design or thinking of a new marketing idea: “I like making things look nice.”

– Delving into architecture, science, sociology, geology, or the connections between languages. “I really enjoy other cultures,” she said. “Spanish is an important language, connected a lot to English. Their roots are similar.”

– Writing or relaxing while reading a lot of books on a large variety of topics.

– Teaching beginners how to ride horses on her sister’s farm. Hoover is working now with a third-grader.

– Traveling to foreign countries: “International travel is really cool.”

Her interests in foreign travel and languages align perfectly with the study-abroad component of the Herbert Scholarship.

Hoover is already thinking of ways to utilize the $1,000 study-abroad stipend. “I am not too picky. Spain would be a good option,” she said. Other options include Central America or South America.

She gained the travel bug in part by accompanying her parents, Zsani and Ronald Hoover, on spring-break trips the last two years that included chasing the Northern Lights in Iceland and taking in the histories and architectures of Paris and Prague. “We went to an old castle that had a lot of great history,” Hoover said. “It was amazing.”

She knows that she is majoring in graphic design and marketing.

But, Spanish is a strong possibility for a third major because she has a high interest and dual credits earned toward it: “I think it’s one of the most spoken languages in the United States. It will be a good skill to have.”

She wasn’t expecting the Herbert Award that was announced at Scholarship Day during the spring: “I have always been academically inclined. It was a very nice surprise to get something so robust,” she said. “My parents were with me. They both were really excited.”

Her parents had saved for her higher education, but now could use that elsewhere. “I am really grateful they thought of my future,” she said. “It is nice to have the merits to make my own way. I really enjoy my independence, to make decisions for myself.”

Hoover is following in the footsteps of older sister Kate Pointis, who earned her BSN degree at IU East. Pointis is now a nurse practitioner.

Ronald Hoover attended IU East before transferring to the Bloomington campus, Anna said.

She enjoyed working as an intern at IronGate Creative earlier this year. That successful graphic design business was founded in Hagerstown by Jeff Huffine and Jeff Richards.

The experience at IronGate Creative fortified Anna’s thoughts of starting her own business someday.

She is flexible about living in other areas of the country where her career may take her.

Still, she would be satisfied staying in Wayne County. “I like to know the area I am in, so I wouldn’t mind staying around here,” she said. “It’s important to give back to the community that raised you.”

About the Adam W. Herbert Presidential Scholars

Herbert Presidential Scholars are an exceptional group of talented and diverse young men and women. To ensure students make the most of their education at IU, the program provides scholars with a number of academic and career resources designed to support, enrich, and educate. Students are encouraged to take advantage of these resources and all of the opportunities available. Information on benefit details, programs, and networking opportunities can be accessed online at herbertscholars.iu.edu/.