33 Indiana Women Selected as 2020 500 Festival Princesses

February 26, 2020

500 Festival Princesses will serve as ambassadors of the 500 Festival and Indiana, and participate in participate in the 500 Festival Leadership Development Program, presented by BKD

 

INDIANAPOLIS (February 26, 2020) – The 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500®, today announces the 33 Indiana women selected to serve as 2020 500 Festival Princesses. The 2020 500 Festival Princesses represent 14 Indiana colleges and universities and 22 cities and towns across the state. With a cumulative GPA of 3.64 this year’s 500 Festival Princesses were selected from hundreds of applicants based on communication skills, academic performance, community involvement, commitment to service, and leadership.

 

The 500 Festival Princess Program has a long history of celebrating Indiana’s most civic-minded, academically driven young women. Serving as a 500 Festival Princess provides young women with countless opportunities for leadership and professional development. The 500 Festival Princesses will participate in the 500 Festival Leadership Development Program, presented by BKD, which empowers participants to make a profound impact within their community and Indiana. Since the program’s launch, more than 2,000 Indiana women have experienced the honor of serving as a 500 Festival Princess.

 

The 500 Festival Princesses are selected throughout a competitive process consisting of a written application and two rounds of interviews. The 2020 500 Festival Princesses represent a diverse group of women with 26 different fields of study ranging from education to software engineering to journalism to biochemistry.

 

In 2015, the 500 Festival added a $1,000 scholarship for each Princess selected to the program, made possible by the 500 Festival Foundation and Marlyne Sexton, an Indianapolis philanthropist and president of the Sexton Companies. Prior to 2015, only the Princess selected as the 500 Festival Queen Scholar received a scholarship. Marlyne recently made a generous commitment to the 500 Festival and 500 Festival Foundation to build a fund that ensures that scholarships for all 33 women selected as a 500 Festival Princess will be covered in perpetuity. To thank Marlyne for her generosity and support of the Princess Program, the 500 Festival Queen Scholar award will now be named in her honor.

 

“Marlyne Sexton has made a generous commitment to help us build a fund to ensure the scholarships are covered in perpetuity,” said Bob Bryant, 500 Festival president and CEO. “The Queen Scholar award will henceforth be named The Marlyne Sexton 500 Festival Queen Scholar Award in recognition of her contribution to Indiana women.”

 

The Sexton Companies has a long history as a builder and developer beginning in Speedway, Indiana in 1962. Since then, thousands of apartment homes have been built in numerous communities from central Ohio and Indiana to Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

 

From February through May, 500 Festival Princesses complete 30 hours of leadership development including: sessions led by business and community leaders, professional development events, and mentorship from 500 Festival Board of Directors. 500 Festival Princesses are also provided with once-in-a-life-time experiences, including involvement with the 500 Festival’s statewide community outreach programs, volunteering at 500 Festival events and participating in various Indianapolis Motor Speedway functions, including the pre-race ceremonies and Victory Circle celebration for the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500.

500 Festival Princesses participate in a statewide outreach program, which educates Hoosiers about the history and legacy of the Indianapolis 500, the 500 Festival, and our various events and programs. Each year, 500 Festival Princesses conduct more than 1,500 community outreaches impacting more than 50,000 people, expanding the celebration and impact of the Indianapolis 500 in a meaningful way.

“The 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by Reis-Nichols Jewelers, gives young women an opportunity to grow their leadership abilities and professional development. The program ensures each participant an empowering experience with opportunities to make a profound impact on their community and state,” said Kathy Cabello, 500 Festival board member and Princess Program committee co-chair. “The board of directors is honored to join the 500 Festival in celebrating these remarkable current and future leaders.”

The 2020 500 Festival Princesses, hometown, high school, college or university and area of study are as follows (in alphabetical order):

Alexa Austin, Indianapolis, a graduate of Lawrence Central High School and a senior at Indiana University majoring finance and marketing.

Elizabeth Bishop, Jeffersonville, a graduate of Jeffersonville High School and a junior at Butler University majoring in strategic communication.

Jacqueline Carnaghi, Carmel, a graduate of Bishop Chatard High School and a graduate student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) majoring in medical anthropology.

Supriya Chittajallu, Indianapolis, a graduate of Pike High School and a junior at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) majoring in biology and medical humanities and health studies.

Kirstin Comment, Hamilton, a graduate of Hamilton High School and a junior at Indiana State University majoring in communications (public relations).

Emily Crowel, Indianapolis, a graduate of Franklin Central High School and a senior at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) majoring in art education.

Regan Culp, Francesville, a graduate of West Central High School and a junior at Purdue University majoring in animal science agribusiness.

Brittany Davis, Indianapolis, a graduate of Ben Davis High School and a senior at DePauw University majoring in neuroscience and global health (pre-med).

Madilyn Eberle, Goshen, a graduate of NorthWood High School and a graduate student at Purdue University studying pharmacy.

Emma Edwards, Indianapolis, a graduate of New Palestine High School and a sophomore at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) majoring in nursing.

Bailey Fields, Indianapolis, a graduate of Southport High School and a junior at Ball State University majoring in international business and Spanish.

Gabrielle Forsythe, Brownsburg, a graduate of Bethesda Christian High School and a senior at Butler University majoring in software engineering.

Jamila Gipson, Indianapolis, a graduate of Merrillville High School and a junior at the University of Indianapolis majoring in criminal justice and psychology.

Logan Glassburn, Earl Park, a graduate of South Newton High School and a junior at Purdue University majoring in agricultural education.

Anne Hannon, Sullivan, a graduate of Sullivan High School and a senior at the University of Evansville majoring in public health.

Abigail Hayes, West Lafayette, a homeschool graduate and a senior at Purdue University majoring in hospitality and tourism management.

Madison Herschberger, Saint Joe, a graduate of Eastside Jr./Sr. High School and a senior at Indiana University majoring in biochemistry and biology.

Sarah Kolczak, Westfield, a graduate of Westfield High School and a junior at Purdue University majoring in public relations and strategic communication.

Alexa Kovacs, Greenwood, a graduate of Center Grove High School and a senior at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology majoring in mathematics and economics.

Marriah McKillop, Terre Haute, a graduate of Terre Haute South Vigo High School and a junior at Butler University majoring in communication sciences and disorders.

Emma Kathryn McMurtry, Terre Haute, a graduate of Terre Haute North Vigo High School and a junior at Hanover College majoring in history and communication.

Margaret Mary McMurtry, Terre Haute, a graduate of Terre Haute North Vigo High School and a senior at the University of Saint Francis majoring in psychology and exercise science.

Sydney Meyer, Greensburg, a graduate of Greensburg Community High School and a junior at Indiana State University majoring in legal studies.

Jenna Niemeyer, Hoagland, a graduate of Heritage Jr./Sr. High School and a senior at Trine University majoring in English education.

Tracy Ortiz, Elkhart, a graduate of Elkhart Central High School and a senior at Indiana State University majoring in political science.

Sam Robbins, Zionsville, a graduate of Zionsville Community High School and a senior at Ball State University majoring in visual communications.

Meg Schleter, Greenfield, a graduate of Mt. Vernon High School and a junior at Purdue University majoring in accounting.

Kathleen Soller, Greenwood, a graduate of Roncalli High School and a sophomore at Saint Mary’s College majoring in nursing.

Julia Stockman, Greenwood, a graduate of Center Grove High School and a senior at Indiana University majoring in healthcare management and policy.

Meredith Struewing, Sunman, a graduate of East Central High School and a junior at Indiana University majoring in media.

Madison Surface, Middletown, a graduate of Shenandoah High School and a freshman at Ball State majoring in journalism telecommunications.

Racquel Wilson, Pittsboro, a graduate of Tri-West High School and a senior at Butler University majoring in sociology and criminology.

Nicole Zellers, Indianapolis, a graduate of Ben Davis High School and a senior at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) majoring in biomedical engineering.

The 2020 Marlyne Sexton 500 Festival Queen Scholar will be announced on Saturday, May 16 during the 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard, presented by Midwestern Engineers, Inc. The 500 Festival Queen Scholar will receive an additional $1,500 scholarship.

 

As representatives of the 500 Festival, Princesses play a crucial role in the execution of the 500 Festival’s mission to produce life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and foster a positive impact on the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana. To request a visit from a 500 Festival Princess click HERE.  

 

Support of the 500 Festival Princess Program is provided by: BKD, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Vera Bradley, the 500 Festival Foundation, and Marlyne Sexton.

 

To learn more about the 500 Festival Princess Program, please visit www.500festival.com/princessprogram or search #PrincessProgram on social media

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Individual and group photos can be downloaded HERE.

 

 

About the 500 Festival

Founded in 1957, the 500 Festival is a not-for-profit organization that produces more than 50 life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and foster a positive impact on the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana. One of the largest festivals in the nation, each year more than half a million people attend an event or program produced by the 500 Festival. Since its founding, the 500 Festival has contributed more than $500 million in economic value to Indianapolis. To learn more about the 500 Festival, please visit www.500festival.com, follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

 

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