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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 IU Indianapolis, 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!

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Alex Magallanes

Danville, IN

Major: Business (Financial & Real Estate)

 

In high school, Alex was hard working and focused on saving while working at Walmart to learn about Customer Service and working at Edwards Electrical and Mechanical to do hands-on work. In school he participated in the Spanish Club to interact with others that shared the same culture as him. Alex has always read finance books and always tries to learn through Real Estate. At IU Indianapolis, he is majoring in Finance and Real Estate to help communities and organizations that need financial help. He has involved himself with the Finance and Investment Club and the Real Estate Club. Because of growing up in a hardworking household, his drive is to push himself to achieve success in education.  Alex has been excited to further his education with the help of 21st Century Scholars Success Program and the CREA Scholars program. He is excited to use all the resources that these programs provide to further his educational success.

Alex Magallanes
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Amaree Conley

Indianapolis, IN

Major: Psychology

 

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 along with the TRIO Sudent Support Services. at IU Indianapolis. She hopes to inspire others in parallel circumstances to demonstrate how attending and graduating from college is achievable.

Amaree Conley
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Amy De Leon

Cicero, IN

Major: Dental Hygiene

 

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 currently involved in the Diversity Enrichment and Achievement Program at IU Indianapolis and is grateful for the opportunity to share her story and inspire others in a similar situation. She believes the CREA Scholars program serves as an essential support system and helps her feel guided throughout her college experience as she aspires to become a dental hygienist to help people with their overall health and smile.

Amy De Leon
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Daawan Baker

Anderson, IN

Major: Cybersecurity

 

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. In addition, to the CREA Foundation Daawan has been active in both Thrive and DEAP. Daawan is studying cybersecurity at IU Indianapolis, and his goal is to begin a professional career in the broader technology field.

Daawan Baker
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D'jhanea Joyce

Gary, IN

Major: Social Work

 

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 IU Indianapolis. She enjoys connecting 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.

D'jhanea Joyce
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Gracie Boles

Brownstown, IN

Major: Psychology

 

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 IU Indianapolis, Gracie is studying 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.

Gracie Boles
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Kamya Williams

Indianapolis, IN

Major: Journalism

 

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. Kamya is thankful for the wrap-around services the CREA Scholars program will provide throughout her education and learning experiences. Last year she traveled to Ghana as part of the EEP study abroad program. She participates in the Black Student Union as well as multiple other organizations.

Kamya Williams
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Makaela Watkins

Gary, IN

Major: Exercise Science

 

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. She is grateful the CREA Scholars program will allow her to enhance her holistic belonging while she pursues her degree.

Makaela Watkins
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Nomar Reyes

Indianapolis, IN

Major: New Media

 

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. 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. He is grateful for the CREA Scholars program and IU Indianapolis' academic reinforcement, professional coaching, and abundant resources to help him earn his college degree.

Nomar Reyes
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Raniya Knuckles

Evansville, IN

Major: Business (Accounting and Finance)

 

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 is excited to continue to broadening her views due to spending time with diverse people, coupled with having and being a support system for others.

Raniya Knuckles

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317 634 4797

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