Pendleton Heights students earn Lilly scholarships

MADISON COUNTY — Kate Cowger and Samantha Davis, Pendleton Heights High School seniors, have been selected as the Madison County Community Foundation and South Madison County Community Foundation 2018 Lilly Endowment Community Scholars.

The two were chosen by an independent college committee to receive full-tuition scholarships to any public or private four-year institution in Indiana and a $900 annual stipend for books and equipment.

Cowger, daughter of Patrick and Sally Cowger, intends to study neuroscience with hopes of becoming a neurosurgeon and practicing medicine as a missionary doctor in developing countries.

She is a member of National Honor Society, BETA Club, SADD and Best Buddies and is an active member of her church. Cowger was named Academic All-State for both soccer and track. She was also selected as a Rising Star of Indiana for academic achievement by the Indiana Association of School Principals.

Cowger also has served as an EMT rookie and hospital volunteer.

Davis, the daughter of James and Jackie Davis, intends to study civil engineering with a minor in Spanish through the U.S. miliary’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program.

She hopes to design and build houses for Habitat for Humanity through the Jimmy Carter Foundation.

Davis is a member of National Honor Society and BETA Club and has participated in the Bishop Leadership Academy.

She is also an active member of the marching and concert bands and is the clarinet section leader.

Davis has received several medals at Indiana State School Music Association’s solo and ensemble contests; she has also played clarinet in the All District Honor Band, Fort Wayne Honor Concert Band and the Indy 500 Marching Band.

Davis is involved in her church youth group, inner-city mission work, and the Feed My Starving Children Food Pack.

Cowger and Davis competed with more than 50 other applicants for the awards.

Applicants for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship were judged on academic performance, demonstrated community leadership, work ethic, a written essay and financial need. Eligible applicants had to have achieved an SAT score of 1,300 or above or an ACT score of 24 or above with a cumulative GPA of 3.90 or above on a 4.0 scale.

Five other students who competed were awarded $1,000 each as finalists.

Madison County Community Foundation and South Madison Community Foundation each contribute $500 for 2017-18 college tuition assistance to: Catherine Cox, Anderson Preparatory Academy; Joseph Conrad, Lapel High School; Andrew Dalton, Alexandria High School; Sarah Dudley, Pendleton Heights High School; and Holly Sallee, Elwood High School.

After the community foundations’ scholarship nominating committee narrowed the field of Lilly scholars applicants, those candidates were submitted to Independent Colleges of Indiana Inc. (ICI) for the selection of recipients.

ICI is a nonprofit corporation representing 31 regionally accredited degree-granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state.

The scholarships are the result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education. Indiana ranks among the lowest states in the percentage of residents older than 25 with bachelor’s degrees.

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Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or