One of the O’Neill School’s most prominent scholarship opportunities is the Jason Baker Legacy Scholarship. The fund honors the memory of O’Neill IUPUI alumnus and Marion County Sheriff Deputy Jason Baker, who was killed in the line of duty. His parents, Jerry and Sharon Baker, established the fund in memory of their son.
To apply for the scholarships, students must be pursuing a degree in public safety.
Both Olivia Hale and Candace Smallwood were previously awarded the scholarship. For the 2022–23 academic year, three new students were named as recipients: Jasmynn Mullen, Chase Settergren, and Julia Ridgway.
Settergen felt a particular connection to the Jason Baker Legacy Scholarship. After his brother passed away five years ago, his family created a foundation to raise awareness and funds for scholarships in his name—a path very similar to that of the Bakers.
In addition, Settergen’s father also was a first responder, serving as a firefighter for 33 years. Settergen hopes to follow in his footsteps, just as Jason followed his father’s career path. He says those connections make receiving the scholarship even more special to him.
“Jason continues to help people even after he is gone—that’s just the kind of person he was,” he explains. “This money will help me finish the rest of my schooling and come out debt free, which is a huge thing nowadays. I am paying for school all by myself, so this is very rewarding.”
For Mullen, the decision to pursue a career in law enforcement also was personal. She says her grandfather was wrongly convicted of a crime and sentenced to life in prison.
“Throughout my life, I was surrounded by court cases, the Innocence Project, negative policing, and much more,” she recalls. “That made me want to be better than the police officers I encountered and help ensure there are people who do not have to go through the same things I did as a child.”
Mullen says the scholarship will help her pay for the remainder of her classes, allowing her to focus on the beginning of her career.
“This scholarship is important to me not only for what it represents but for the future I am able to have as a result,” says Mullen.
Ridgway has her sights set on her future as well. Already working in law enforcement, she wanted to earn her degree in Public Safety Management with O’Neill to hone her skills and better serve her community.
After giving birth to a baby girl in the summer, she returned to school to take a full courseload in the fall.
“I continue to be passionate about my work as a sworn law enforcement officer and the effect that I have and will continue to have on those that I come into contact with,” she says. “The scholarship will help pay for my tuition expenses and will help me focus on my academic goals, rather than focusing on working countless overtime hours to try and pay for school. Without this scholarship, I would not have been able to pursue a full course load, which would have ultimately delayed my education goals.”
To learn more about the Jason Baker Legacy Scholarship and other scholarships available through the O’Neill School, visit the O’Neill Admissions website.