Earlham sophomore Carly Mays selected for ‘Realizing the Dream’ scholarship

Carly Mays 2024 Realizing the Dream scholarship recipient
Carly Mays, left, is pictured with Thom Christ, at a banquet honoring the 2024 Realizing the Dream Scholarship recipients.

Earlham College sophomore Carly Mays has been selected for the “Realizing the Dream” scholarship by the Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI). 

Supported by Lilly Endowment Inc., the $4,000 scholarship is awarded to 29 first-generation students — one from each of the ICI’s member colleges and universities — in recognition of outstanding achievement in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree.

“Like most college students, I am young and eager to take on as many things as possible,” said Mays in a video tribute published on ICI’s website

“I think my college education will allow me to keep that chase going, keep that drive going and keep that curiosity alive,” she said. “I also believe it will let me chase my dreams a little more.”

Scholarship recipients also select an influential educator that have supported them in their education. Mays selected Thom Crist, her former music director who is now working for Northside Middle School. Influential educators receive $1,000 in professional development grants.

“One thing that really stands out to me is that he never gave up on me,” Mays said. “There have been moments where I was ready to give up on all my progress and dreams and throw in the towel. He would be waiting there with an open mind and an open heart. He always knew exactly what to say and what direction to point me in.”

As an Earlham College student, Mays benefitted from the LIFT program, which provides additional support to first-generation college students during their first year on campus. She was selected in 2023 to travel to Germany and the Netherlands as part of a fully funded excursion available only to LIFT students.

“Throughout the program, Carly consistently displayed thoughtful concern for the welfare of her peers, demonstrating both adaptability and reliability,” said Amy Bryant, Earlham’s library director and director of the LIFT program.

All 29 scholarship recipients were celebrated at a banquet on Feb. 24 at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis.

“Thanks to the continued support of Lilly Endowment, we get the opportunity to hear the inspiring stories of these first-generation students and the impact local educators have had on their drive to succeed academically,” said Dottie L. King, ICI’s president & CEO. “These scholarship awards will provide critical support for these young people who are dreaming of future success.”  

For more information about this year’s class of Realizing the Dream recipients, visit ici.org.


About Earlham College 

Since 1847, Earlham College has fostered a collaborative learning community that inspires and motivates students with transformative opportunities and experiences so they can become catalysts for good in a changing world. Located in Richmond, Indiana, Earlham is one of U.S. News & World Report’s Top 100 national liberal arts colleges and offers one of the top 20 classroom experiences in the nation, according to the Princeton Review.

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We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.