Huntington woman gets ‘Realizing Dream’ honor at MU

Photo provided.
Elizabeth Allred

Elizabeth Allred is the first person in her family to attend college. Adopted by her grandparents when she was 13, the Manchester University social work major from Huntington was recently honored with a “Realizing the Dream” award by the Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI).

Each recipient is awarded $3,000 by ICI to help with college costs, and each of them in turn selects a “most influential” teacher or mentor to receive a $1,000 professional development grant.

In Allred’s case, that teacher is Huntington North High School’s Paige Humphries, someone who cares about academics, but cares even more about the individual students. That care involved a word after class, a kind question when someone was having a bad day.

That day for Allred was her 18th birthday. Humphries noticed she was down, pulled her aside and asked how she was doing. Allred walked into class the next day to homemade cake, games and karaoke.

Personal connections like this also drew Allred to Manchester.

When Allred was getting ready for college, she wanted to be near her grandparents. She had always known she wanted to help people, and social work finally bubbled to the top as a career.

During her three college visits, only the Manchester social work program “felt like home.”

“It was the only department I really got attached to after visiting and sitting in on the classes,” she says. Accustomed to small-town life, she was also drawn to what she describes as the “quaint campus.”

Along the way, Allred has found many caring faculty members, and she has developed a close bond with her academic adviser, Assistant Professor Alicia Dailey.

“She got here just three years ago, so it’s been nice to learn together through the process, to see both of us learn how to grasp certain areas,” Allred said. For example, they both found the process of doing online enrolling for classes a challenge, so they tackled it together.
 “It’s learn as you go,” Allred says.

They also talk about their lives. Dailey grew up in Indianapolis. As an ordained Baptist minister, she seeks opportunities to integrate her faith with social work ethics and values. For Allred, remaining close to her grandparents is a priority. They are her inspiration.

“They’ve always been back there, saying, ‘Hey, go to school, do well in school, keep moving forward, keep doing what you need to do so you can have that career you want,’” Allred says, adding her grandmother is a certified nursing assistant and her grandfather worked in a factory.

“My grandpa had to start as a janitor and work his way up to plant manager over 35 years. Anymore, those stories are hard to come by,” she says.

They wanted her to start with a career she loved, and go on from there.

Once she got to Manchester, she was immediately asked to join the Social Service Club.

As it turned out, she became club president, even though she really had no idea about how such clubs work. Whenever she had a question, she got help. In the end, the tiny club raised money for a Christmas Angel Tree and joined others in the North Manchester community in welcoming a Guatemalan family new to the country.

Allred’s plans include pursuing a master’s degree. Recently engaged, she hopes to work part time during that process and build a life.

The Realizing the Dream scholarship is provided for 30 first-generation college students each year from Indiana’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities by the Independent Colleges of Indiana. It is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. These students were chosen for outstanding achievement in their first year.

The Huntington North High School graduate’s leadership activities include being social work Class of 2022 representative, president of the Social Service Club and being a member and secretary of the Student Senate.

One-third of all students who enter Manchester as undergraduates are first-generation students, something made possible by financial aid given from the university combined with state and federal grants.