Beech Grove senior Sarah Ramsey, worried that her dreams of going to college – at least the college of her choice – were never going to become a reality. Academically she excelled. Financially, Sarah and her family struggled. Tuition, room/board, and all of the other fees that come with attending a world-renowned university such as Purdue were too much of a strain.

Sarah grew up being “bounced around from two homes” after her parents divorced. She remembers them fighting – a lot – when she was growing up, which she wonders if that attributed to her shyness and lack of self-esteem. She suffered from childhood instability, among other things. Sadly, she had to watch her dad battle cancer when she was a sophomore in high school. Although he beat it, the cancer returned in a deadly way the following year. He died from a brain tumor when she was just 16. As Sarah was his caretaker, his cancer took an emotional toll on her. The feelings of loneliness, fear, and heartbreak were overwhelming following his death! 

High school became her place of comfort. Her senior year, she continued to shine in the classroom and in choir and drama. She chose to take AP and accelerated classes to challenge herself and to help prepare her for college classes. She was nominated drama club president and earned the leading role in “Into the Woods”, her favorite musical. According to Sarah, she became more comfortable with herself, more social, and more self-confident. She set her sights on attending Purdue University – where she wanted to major in psychology, with a minor in forensics and human development.

Sarah knew she would need financial aid in order to follow her dream of becoming a Boilermaker. She applied for numerous scholarships, including the OPTIONS Scholarship – a scholarship that is awarded every four years to one deserving student.

In her scholarship application, she wrote: “Ever since my parents’ divorce, I wondered why the two just couldn’t seem to ever effectively communicate with each other. I pondered the question of why such different people ever got together in the first place. Ever since then, I became interested in the individuality of humans, and psychology seemed to be the perfected field for me, especially as it could further the research of mental illness, aid and comfort those in times of suffering or even help in criminal justice to further understand how their minds work.”

Sarah’s winning application was among many. “I cried and my mom danced around the kitchen when we found out I won,” said Sarah. “It was so surreal, and I couldn’t believe it had happened to me. I still can’t believe these wonderful women have made my dreams come true.”

‘These wonderful women’ are the women of the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana – an organization known for creating transformative and sustainable change for women and girls in Central Indiana. The scholarship was established by the first OPTIONS class and has been awarded to two other young women. Without the scholarship, Sarah knows her dreams of attending Purdue University would have been dashed.

Holding back tears during this interview, Sarah expressed how incredibly grateful she was to the Women’s Fund for the scholarship, for believing in her, and for giving her the courage to create her own platform to help other women and girls in the future. She plans to give back to others in ways that the Women’s Fund has given back to her by working toward getting her master’s degree and providing affordable therapy to people who struggle financially. She also wants to give back to her mom.

“In the future, I really want to provide for my mom and make sure she doesn’t have to work,” said Sarah. “I really love everything she’s done for me and she’s worked so hard so that I could have a good life, and I want to give back to her.”

On behalf of everyone at Women’s Fund and the women of OPTIONS, we congratulate Sarah on her achievements and wish her the best of luck at Purdue University. We have no doubt she’s going to be amazing!