Indiana State University Newsroom

2013 Gongaware Scholars announced

July 2, 2013

The Gongaware Center in the Indiana State University Scott College of Business announces the 2013 class of Gongaware Scholars.

Freshmen Ben Weber, Meagan Stenger and Zach McCoy are recipients of the scholarship, which includes a $3,000 professional development account, a laptop and participation in Networks Financial Institute's (NFI) Professional Development Program. Stenger and McCoy also received full in-state tuition through the program; Weber received a full in-state tuition award to attend Indiana State through the 21st Century Scholars program.

"The Gongaware Scholars program is a tremendous opportunity for students to develop as professionals by participating in professional conferences, internships, workshops and events hosted by the center," said Rebecca Wray, interim director of the Gongaware Center in the Scott College of Business at Indiana State. "Graduates of the program enjoy 100 percent job placement and are well-prepared to have successful careers in the insurance and risk management and financial services industries."

In addition to participating in Gongaware Center and insurance and risk management program events, Gongaware Scholars also participate in the NFI Professional Development Program. This program provides scholars with an award-winning, four-year curriculum designed to cultivate leadership, management, teamwork and career skills. Scholars also receive access to corporate mentors, internships and travel opportunities. Participants in the NFI Professional Development Program are required to complete internships and regularly attend educational seminars throughout the year.

"These students are 10 miles ahead of many other graduates hitting the job market when they graduate," Michelle Reeson, assistant director for the NFI Professional Development Program, said of students who participate in the program. "Over half of the last senior class of scholars held offers or had accepted jobs by December of their senior year, and that was largely due to the fact that they had worked a number of internships" and taken advantage of other professional opportunities.

The Gongaware Scholars are involved with numerous events on campus, including organizing the insurance and risk management program's annual golf outing, Wray said. Weber, Stenger and McCoy have shown themselves to be strong leaders in a number of different areas inside and outside of the classroom, she said.

"These students have been a group of very involved students who really want to give back," Wray added. "The students volunteer and then they've taken on leadership positions in sports and in professional organizations."

Weber, who is from Huntingburg, graduated from Southridge High School. He was a member of the National Honor Society, Business Professionals of America and served as a peer mentor for Natural Helpers. He also was a four-year member of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), serving as the organization's vice president his senior year. Weber played football, baseball and basketball all four years for Southridge, including being a three-year varsity starter in each sport. He was a two-year varsity captain on the basketball team and was named to the Evansville Courier and Press' All-Southwest Indiana boys' basketball first team.


Stenger is from Shelbyville, Ill., and graduated from Shelbyville High School. She was a member of the National Honor Society, including serving as vice president; four-year member of Key Club and was a two-year captain of her high school's scholastic bowl team. She served as sign coordinator for two years for her Relay for Life team and participated in three walks for Diabetes Walk for the Cure. Stenger also was a three-year member of Shelbyville High School's mathletes team. She also was a tutor for other students for two years.



McCoy, who is from Logansport, graduated from Lewis Cass High School. He was a National Honor Society member who served for four years on the student council. He also served as the head of concessions for basketball games for two years, and volunteered for the Special Olympics. He played baseball for the American Legion, and also was a four-year member of the Lewis Cass baseball team. He was named All-Loganland Baseball first team in 2011 and in 2012 was the All-Loganland Baseball Player of the Year. In 2012, he also was named first-team all-state second baseman.

The Gongaware Center was established in 1999 with a $5 million gift from Don and Patricia Gongaware. Don Gongaware is a retired senior executive at Conseco Inc.

Photo: Ben Weber

Photo: Meagan Stenger

Photo: Zach McCoy

Contact: Rebecca Wray, interim director, Gongaware Center, Scott College of Business, Indiana State University, 812-237-8924 or

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or