Senior and Indianapolis native Raziya Hillery wanted to come to Butler University since she was in third grade, when her student teacher (who went to Butler), gifted her with tickets to a basketball game.

Over the following years, she visited campus multiple times, beginning with her first official visit as an eighth grader and then almost every year after.

“I probably visited Butler four or five times,” she says. “Way, way more than any other University I was considering.”

During her visits as a prospective student, she not only got a feel for campus, but was also able to interact with faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Before she had even applied to the University, she’d had in-depth conversations with two different faculty members in the majors she was considering: Dr. Margaret Brabant with Political Science and Dr. Elise Edwards with Anthropology.

“The fact that professors were so willing to talk to me and be such a helpful resource even before I was a student told me that Butler was a place where I could have those personal relationships. It was the place I wanted to be.”

Although it was her dream to come to Butler, making that dream a reality—financially—was a massive hurdle.

“Butler’s tuition was going to be a challenge for me and my family,” Hillery says. “I knew that I would need substantial scholarships and financial aid in order to attend.”

During her senior year of high school, after being admitted to the University, she was invited to campus to interview for the Butler Tuition Guarantee, a full-tuition scholarship available for students in Marion County who show a high financial need. She ultimately received the scholarship, and happily accepted her offer of admission.

Now a senior at Butler, Hillery is a triple major, studying Political Science, International Studies, and Spanish. She’s the President of the Black Student Union, is a multicultural mentor for the Diversity Center, and the Co-Team Director for Delight College Ministries. She’s also completed three internships, participated in the Rangel International Affairs Program, and is in New York City this semester, where she will intern with the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations. She hopes to one day work for either the United Nations or the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer.

“Coming from the far East Side of Indianapolis, a lot of students think that Butler is just not attainable for them. I used to think that, too,” she says. “I just want to tell those students to reach high and apply. If this is somewhere you really see yourself, you can make it here. Butler is here to support you.”