From dropping out to SGA president

As she stood in front of an audience at the Indy Achieves Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening Celebration, Tapiwa Mzumara took a moment to reflect on everything leading up to that moment. The second-year Biotechnology student and President of the Student Government Association returned to finish what she started eight years ago through the Indy Achieves Completion Grant and has made a significant impact on her fellow students and Ivy Tech community since returning.

“In 2013, I was a bright-eyed freshman, ready to learn and ready to achieve. But I had obstacles.”

Tapiwa Mzumara

In her first semester at Ivy Tech, her mother was chronically ill, causing her to be in and out of the hospital. Additionally, Tapiwa was an undocumented immigrant, anticipating becoming a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient. Being in mixed-status family (for immigration) and her mother’s illness caused her to leave school midway through her freshman year.

Indy Achieves offers two scholarship opportunities: Promise Scholarship and Completion Grant. The Promise Scholarship is available for first-time, full- or part-time transfer students. With the Completion Grant, students seeking their first credential, and more than halfway through their program, are eligible to receive grant funding to return to Ivy Tech. Participants in the program have enrollment coaches to assist them in navigating through the process, gap funding to cover remaining balances not covered by financial aid, and student support services.

For students like Tapiwa with an outstanding balance, Indy Achieves offers the ReConnect Completion Grant, which pays existing balances.

“One day, I received an email that I was selected to receive a grant from Indy Achieves. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I read that email. It felt like finally I had been seen.”

Tapiwa didn’t waste any time and jumped on the opportunity to finish what she started eight years ago. Not only did she jump right back in, but she didn’t waste her talents, either. Tapiwa is on track to graduate with an associate degree in Biotechnology and is also President of the Student Government Association. Her leadership and dedication to her goals and fellow students has been invaluable to peers, Ivy Tech staff and faculty, and so many more. Upon graduating, Tapiwa plans to continue on to earn her Bachelor’s degree.

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