By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV
Indigo Graves, a senior at Greenbrier East High School from Sinks Grove, won the Yeager Scholarship to attend Marshall University this fall. She is one of eight recipients of the prestigious honor. It covers full tuition, study at Oxford, an additional study abroad experience, a textbook stipend, and additional academic opportunities. She believes she is the first student from a Greenbrier County school to receive the award.
Several hundred students from across the world applied to be Yeager Scholars this year. After online essays and phone interviews, only 24 students were invited to campus for interviews.
In late February, Graves traveled to campus for four personal interviews and one group interview. “I felt good about my chances after the interviews,” she says. “But everyone else did too.”
A few weeks later, she received a Zoom call from Brad Smith, President of Marshall. He offered her the opportunity to attend Marshall as a Yeager Scholar.
“I had a feeling before,” she shared. “But when he called, I just gasped and started crying. I kept it together to talk to him, but after I got off I cried a lot more. Then every time I called another family member to tell them, I cried again. It’s just such an honor.”
Graves entered her college search planning to attend an out-of-state school. She was accepted to a number of schools to study engineering including the University of Miami, Ohio University, Clemson University, and the University of Georgia. She was even accepted into Purdue University’s engineering program, which is ranked second in the nation.
“That was a hard one to turn down,” she confesses. “Yeager sealed the deal. I’m really excited about the future at Marshall.”
Graves plans to major in biomedical engineering, run for student government, join the environmental club, and minor in management, spanish, and journalism. “I’ve been busy my whole life,” she says, “so I’m used to it.”
That’s putting it mildly. In addition to her academic success, Graves is an athlete (track, soccer, and weight lifting), she works at The General Lewis Inn, she’s Vice President of the Senior Class, she’s in the band, and she serves on the board of High Rocks.
Graves isn’t sure exactly where her studies will lead just yet, but she’s excited for the journey. “I have no idea what I want to do professionally yet,” she says. “I want to study biomedical engineering. I’ll see where it takes me! It’s very fascinating. You can get into so many different things with that background.”
Graves wants other students in West Virginia to know that with hard work and support from your family, anything is possible. “This is something that is such a great honor, but I’m also so proud that I worked to get this,” she says. “It’s meant for me and I worked for it to make it possible.And I get to stay in West Virginia, too.”
And she’s the first to point out all those who helped her along the journey, especially her family. “Everyone is so supportive and caring and encouraging and loving. They’ve pushed me to get to where I am now. I am grateful.”