Lisa Fischer ’19 grew up on a pumpkin farm in La Porte, Indiana, and neither of her parents went to college. But she said education always came first in her family. She was encouraged to reach for higher education and chose Butler as the university to mold her mind for the next six years.

Now a sophomore in the Pre-Pharmacy program, Fischer got the chance to represent her university—and honor the high school teacher who influenced her to attend—at the Independent Colleges of Indiana 25th annual Realizing the Dream banquet November 1.

The event honored outstanding first-generation college students. Fischer was selected as the $2,500 Realizing the Dream scholarship winner from Butler’s pool of sophomore first-generation students. Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI), through a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., offers the scholarship opportunity to one student from each of its member schools.

“It’s really an honor to be held as the example to first-generation students,” she said, “and really to have someone that maybe my little sister can look up to.”

Fischer is active in the Pre-Pharmacy club, the marching band, the basketball band, and Kappa Kappa Psi, the band service fraternity. She made the Dean’s List both semesters her freshman year.

Jennifer Griggs, Director of the Learning Resource Center, said Fischer was selected for her academic success, leadership initiative, and involvement in a wide range of campus activities.

She said Fischer stood out among other applicants because of her involvement in The Mall, a peer-reviewed publication of works from student First Year Seminar writing. Students can help manage and submit writing to the journal during their freshman year.

“It’s unique,” Griggs said. “Very few people volunteer to do that in their first year at Butler. With the band involvement, the literary journal, some volunteer work, and her high aspirations as a Pre-Pharmacy student, we just thought that she was very well-rounded.”

Fischer said she was thrilled for the opportunity to recognize her influential New Prairie High School aerospace engineering teacher Tim Eldridge, who received a $1,000 award from ICI. Eldridge, whose son goes to Butler, recommended that Fischer consider Butler.

Fischer said her parents wanted her to get a better education and earn a better living than they’ve been able to. Her two older siblings both went to college, and she said it was never a question for her or her parents that she would follow in their footsteps.

“Just because we came from a farming background,” Fischer said, “doesn’t mean we can’t achieve whatever we want.”