She grew up in Huntington County. In middle school, her dad served time in prison, leaving her mom to raise her and her younger sister alone. Thankfully, a guidance counselor knew the family was going through a tough time and recommended Caroline sign up for 21st Century Scholars.

“It was sort of presented to me as really my only option for going to college. We were living in poverty. College was not a focus at the time. Food was.”

Like so many other 21st Century Scholars, Caroline Everidge has dedicated her life to helping others.

This January, Caroline began working as the Health and Human Sciences Educator for Purdue Extension in Huntington County. She provides coordination of community programing and development in the areas of health, food, money, and family.

Previously, she worked for a community action agency to help find housing for military veterans experiencing homelessness.

Caroline earned a bachelor of social work from Ball State in 2016. Three years later, she earned a master’s in social work from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

While Caroline would have otherwise qualified for government loans, she said the idea of taking on thousands of dollars of debt as a teenager would have likely scared her away from college. She may have ended up going straight into the workforce.

“There are opportunities to do social service work without a college degree,” Caroline said. “But to be where I’m at doing what I love to do would not be possible without one.”

Closing the Gap in Educational Achievement

Ball State University’s 21st Century Scholars have been vital to closing the achievement gap, curbing the brain drain, and more. Want to know how this program has made a difference for our students? Read more of their stories.