Meet the 2026 Class of CREA Scholars.
CREA Foundation is committed to providing scholarships, resources and multi-faceted programming to young adults to overcome barriers to success, extend educational opportunities, and assist in obtaining a college degree. Through the continued generosity of donors and unmatched support of our partners at IUPUI, our distinctive CREA Scholars Program is built upon a cohort model that includes wraparound services to further bolster student success. Our mission is to help and empower students in crossing the finish line by creating impactful educational and developmental opportunities.
Learn more about the impressive and motivated inaugural class of ten CREA Scholars below!
In high school, Amaree served as Vice President of the Japan Club, acted as a student helper, and participated in the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority GEMS Program. Additionally, Amaree is currently involved in a mentoring program for women who aspire to work in the medical field. Supporting this experience, it is her aim to become an OBGYN and she is passionate about helping to decrease the number of minority women and children fatalities during labor. Interested in the TRIO Student Support Services, Diversity Enrichment and Achievement Program, and 21st Century Scholars Success Programs, Amaree is optimistic about IUPUI’s support in helping her have a successful journey. She hopes to inspire others in parallel circumstances to demonstrate how attending and graduating from college is achievable.
Amy De Leon
Amy is a proud Mexican American, fluent in both the English and Spanish languages. She served as Vice President of the National Honors Society chapter at her high school, where one of her responsibilities was to organize and run the food-drive committee. Outside of school, Amy volunteered as a camp counselor and enjoyed teaching sixth graders about nature. Amy is interested in the Diversity Enrichment and Achievement Program at IUPUI with the opportunity to share her story and inspire others in a similar situation. She believes the CREA Scholars program will serve as an essential support system and help her feel guided throughout her college experience as she aspires to become a dental hygienist or orthodontist to help people with their overall health and smile.
In high school, Daawan participated in multiple intramural sports, including wrestling, football, and track and field, while also working as a Crew Member at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Daawan is widely described by others as compassionate and kind-hearted, as well as a loyal sibling, friend and teammate. Various academic support programs at IUPUI interest him—TRIO Student Support Services, Diversity Enrichment and Achievement Program, 21st Century Scholars Success Program, Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars Program, and THRIVE Program—because they will provide the necessary academic and personal resources to navigate and be successful in college and future work life. Daawan is looking forward to studying cybersecurity at IUPUI, since his goal is to begin a professional career in the broader technology field.
Throughout high school, D’jhanea participated in student government and served as a leader of the yearbook committee. Heavily involved outside of the classroom, D’jhanea also volunteered at a children’s center, babysat for single mothers, and worked as an assistant for Gary City Courts. She credits her upbringing for her positive mindset and grit, which she will hold close to heart as she strives to meet her personal and academic goals at IUPUI. D’jhanea is motivated to make a difference in the world through a future profession in medicine or humanitarian work. Thus, she is excited to connect with passionate people who share her core values and enthusiasm for educational enrichment through academic support programs such as the TRIO Student Support Services, Diversity Enrichment and Achievement Program, and 21st Century Scholars Success Program.
Gracie volunteered through her youth group and local food bank and was involved in theater—twice named the “Brave of the Month”—throughout high school. Outside of school, she worked as a teacher and a washer assistant with semi-trucks. At IUPUI, Gracie plans to study Psychology with the goal to eventually become a mental health therapist, in hopes to effectively help people who are struggling. Uniquely, Gracie has been a member of the 21st Century Scholars Success Program since eighth grade; this program has given her the desire to invest continual effort into her educational journey. Gracie is grateful for the opportunity to focus on her studies with the financial and academic support of the CREA Scholars program.
During her high school career, Kamya was active in the Boys and Girls Club and student government, served as an honorary volunteer for Congressman Andre Carson, and worked at Target. She is deeply passionate about acting and theater, such that performing gives her a positive outlet and a distinctive voice. To utilize her charismatic spirit and outspoken attitude, Kamya intends to major in journalism with a concentration in broadcasting to further explore her interests. As a self-starter, she is excited to embark on her college journey. Kamya is thankful for the wrap-around services the CREA Scholars program will provide throughout her education and learning experiences. At IUPUI, Kamya is interested in participating in the THRIVE and Diversity Enrichment and Achievement programs.
Makaela was heavily involved in extracurriculars during high school, volunteering at the United Steel Workers Bike Drive, hospital toy drive, Gary Neighborhood Clean Up, beautification of gardens at Merram Health Center, food drive, and local animal shelter. She served in Diversity Club and Best Buddies, interned at NIPSCO as an energy ambassador, and worked at Ben’s Soft Pretzels, Chick-Fil-A, and Forever 21. Makaela also participated in intramural track, golf and basketball. At IUPUI, Makaela wishes to major in Biology or Psychology in preparation for medical school and a career in the health professions, where she hopes to research how to close health care gaps in urban areas. Makaela is interested in the Social Justice Scholars Program and the Diversity Enrichment and Achievement Program. She is grateful the CREA Scholars program will allow her to enhance her holistic belonging while she pursues her degree.
During high school, Nomar participated in science fair and robotics opportunities while working in maintenance and learning new skills. He is particularly passionate about gaming and sharing a loyal, true sense of community with others. As such, it is no surprise that Nomar plans to major in media arts and science, intending to ultimately become a game designer. Nomar lives by the notion that he will always push himself to be better today than yesterday, along with a goal to strengthen his individuality during his college career. Nomar is enthusiastic to live on campus with peers and is looking forward to continuing his involvement with the 21st Century Scholars Success Program. He is grateful for the CREA Scholars program and IUPUI’s academic reinforcement, professional coaching, and abundant resources to help him earn his college degree.
Perrena was widely involved in high school, where she served as the National Honor Society president, worked as a library page, interned as a social media manager for a book publishing non-profit, and held the position of USA Community Service committee chair. Perrena also volunteered for Rocket Readers (helping elementary students’ study) and worked as a gaming club moderator and outreach assistant. Given her love for all forms of art and the intangible comfort of storytelling, Perrena plans to pursue a degree in (visual) communications. Perrena has a passion for creating optimistic perspectives through art and communication, so she aspires to be a creative director (or a similar role) in her professional future. She hopes to develop secure connections, engage in positive experiences, and foster a meaningful community through the TRIO Student Support Services Program at IUPUI.
Raniya’s high school involvements were widespread. She played softball, ran track, volunteered at a local food bank and animal shelter, served as Secretary of the Interact Club, and contributed as a tutor, mentor, and member of Link Crew to help new students acclimate to a new school. Raniya also played intramural volleyball all four years, where she acted as team captain and achieved Academic All-State and Academic All-City recognitions. Despite her many engagements, she also juggled school and extracurriculars while working at a number of retail stores. Raniya starts her IUPUI career as an exploratory student given her varied interests and career aspirations, which all essentially seek to help others: entrepreneurship, business, criminology and criminal justice. Raniya looks forward to broadening her views due to spending time with diverse people, coupled with having and being a support system for others.
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