From Farm Fields to Engineering Dream

Thursday, November 12, 2015
Ethan Flook

Civil engineering sophomore Ethan Flook is one of 31 Indiana students to receive a Realizing the Dream scholarship for first-generation college students.

Sophomore Ethan Flook's family has deep roots in agriculture. His dad is the fifth generation in his family to farm the land northwest of Lafayette, Indiana. But the civil engineering major is making new family history as a first-generation college student-and he's getting help doing it as a recipient of an Independent Colleges of Indiana Realizing the Dream Scholarship. Flook was among 31 students to receive the award in a ceremony in Indianapolis on November 7.

Funded by the Lilly Endowment since 1989, the Realizing the Dream program acknowledges first-generation college sophomores for outstanding achievement during their freshman year. In addition to the $2,500 scholarship, each student is asked to name the high school teacher who most influenced their decision to attend college. The teacher receives a $1,000 Professional Development Grant.

For Flook, choosing that influential teacher was easy. Educator John Weitlauf's passion for technology inspired the Fowler, Indiana, native to pursue a degree in engineering.

"I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, like everyone else," Flook recalls. He took three years of engineering and technology classes in high school with Weitlauf. "His classes were so energetic and he made them so interesting-it really drew me into engineering," he adds.

These days, Flook is making the most of his time pursuing an engineering education at Rose-Hulman. He's a member of the Cecil T. Lobo student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Triangle fraternity, and recently co-founded Rose-Hulman's new student chapter of the American Water Works Association.

And now, he's realizing his own dream thanks to an inspirational teacher and this scholarship from the Independent Colleges of Indiana organization.