To register for the 2021 Beyond the Badge 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, September 19, 2021, visit this link.
Law enforcement and public safety are changing. Calls for an overhaul of law enforcement training, policies, and practices could reshape the future of these fields—and O’Neill students will be part of that change.
To help support those students in their future endeavors, the O’Neill School offers career-specific scholarships, including the Jason Baker Legacy Scholarship.
Jason Baker was killed in 2001 while on duty as a Marion County Sheriff’s deputy. After his death, his parents, Jerry and Sharon Baker, wanted to create a way to honor their son and support students working toward a career in public safety. They created the annual Beyond the Badge 5K Run/Walk event as a way to bring members of the law enforcement and civilian community together while also raising funds for student scholarships.
In 2020, the organization awarded scholarships to five O’Neill students: Olivia Hale, Chase Simpson, Ingrid Ortega, Reece Thompson, and Alexander Clausius. The money will help students cover the cost of their education.
“As one of five children I have always been considerate and very appreciative of anything I am given,” Hale says. “With this scholarship, I will be able to cover a majority of tuition, which will be even more helpful with finances since I plan to move to Indianapolis permanently.”
Hale is a sophomore Public Safety Management major and says she chose O’Neill IUPUI for the campus diversity. She believes that’s critical to helping her prepare to work in large and diverse communities.
Simpson is also a Public Safety Management major. In addition to his course load, he works 32 hours a week to cover the costs of college. He says receiving scholarship money from the Jason Baker Legacy Scholarship will mean he can reduce hours to focus more on school.
“My academic duties are incredibly important to me and being able to devote more time to them would help further my career exponentially,” he explains. “Because of the funding, I am financially secure and have the freedom to explore different classes that could serve to benefit me later in my career.”
The deadline to apply for the Jason Baker Legacy Scholarship is March 1. To apply, students must be pursuing a degree in public safety and entering their sophomore year. Scholarship amounts vary each year.
The scholarship is renewable beyond its initial award. Clausius, Ortega, and Thompson all had their scholarships renewed for the 2020-2021 academic year. All three say the ongoing support has opened doors that may have otherwise remained closed.
“Without this scholarship, I wouldn’t be where I am right now in my college career,” Ortega admits. “I am extremely grateful because my family and I have been able to worry less about how I am going to pay for my education, which is something many students don’t always have the opportunity to say. My parents have always wanted me to attend college and this scholarship has allowed me to do just that.”
That financial flexibility also allows scholarship recipients to take on challenges and build relationships that can launch them into the next phase of their lives.
“I would not have been able to engage in an internship with the Indiana State Police without this scholarship,” Thompson says. “This internship led to great connections and future job opportunities and I plan to use the experience to apply for the police academy.”
As a three-time scholarship recipient, Clausius is now beginning work on his master’s degree. He says he is not only grateful for the funding but for the inspiration and motivation he draws from the Baker family’s commitment to their son’s memory and the future.
“This is a constant reminder of why law enforcement is my passion,” Clausius says. “For the rest of my life, I will work to honor the values Jason held close to his heart—those of service, community, and country.”