Kate O'Rourke

Kate O’Rourke

It is hard to believe that a year has passed since I was polishing my Lilly application, but it is even more surreal that I am currently a Lilly Scholar. After years of dedication, I am living my dream and pursuing my passions at Indiana University, due in large part to the generosity of the Community Foundation. I feel so incredibly blessed to be a Lilly Scholar and represent Lebanon’s dedication to education at Indiana University.

My transition into IU was smooth, but that’s not to say that it was easy. College visits simply do not prepare you for the amount of studying that is necessary to be successful. I did not anticipate having to study as much as I did, but I quickly adjusted to my new environment. My course load was much more difficult than I anticipated. With three honors courses, fifth semester Spanish, and another challenging course, I certainly kept myself busy. While I watched many students slack on their schoolwork, I stayed more motivated than ever because the Community Foundation has given an opportunity that very few even know about.

Though I did my fair share of studying, I also got involved in a few organizations on campus. I am one of two freshmen who joined IU’s student television (IUSTV). I primarily watched and learned during my first semester. Even though I know that I want to pursue a career in broadcasting, I have had little experience with producing my own stories. After shadowing our news director, I picked up my first assignment: covering The Thirst Project’s Seth Maxwell’s visit to the IU chapter. This was such a thrilling experience for me because, not only was it my first story, but I covered something that holds a special place in my heart. (You may recall that LHS raised enough funds to build a freshwater well in Uganda during my senior year.) It was such a neat experience to step back and give The Thirst Project media coverage at my new home! If you would like to see the Vo/Sot, here is a link to the Hoosier News Source episode.

Aside from IUSTV, I have dabbled in a few other extracurriculars. I went through formal recruitment in the hopes of joining the Greek community. It was one of the best experiences of my life! I learned a lot about myself and practiced the communication skills I used last year when preparing for my Lilly interview. I have met so many great friends, and I am proud to call myself a Chi Omega. As I open this next chapter of my life, I am excited to challenge myself to be the best sister, student, and leader that I can be.

I have also found a happy home at St. Paul’s Catholic Church just north of campus. Though it is a long walk in the cold for my roommate and I, we really enjoy going to mass and hope to get even more involved with the youth groups.

I am having the most terrific time at IU, and I thank God every day for the Community Foundation’s support! If you are a high school senior in Boone County, I strongly encourage you to apply for this prestigious scholarship (applications are due February 2!). It may seem like a long shot, but someone has to be awarded – why not you? Do not doubt yourself! Yes, it is nerve-wracking, but the scholarship selection committee is so kind. Our community wants to see you succeed! And, just maybe, your life will change forever. I know that mine has!

Kate O’Rourke
Lilly Scholar, 2013
Indiana University, 2017