Cassie Popplewell was well into one of the most impactful semesters of her life. The O’Neill public safety major was in Washington, D.C., with O’Neill’s Washington Leadership Program. She was thrilled to be working as an intern with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
But, once there, her excitement was soon interrupted by a family crisis. While she was 600 miles away, her mother had been placed on life support back home in Shelbyville, Indiana.
“When I received the phone call, I wasn’t sure what to do,” Popplewell recalls. “I was emotionally taxed from balancing my professional work and monitoring my mother’s health. I couldn’t focus and started struggling academically.”
Popplewell’s internship was unpaid and the flight home was expensive.
She reached out to her O’Neill advisors for advice. That’s when she learned she could apply for help from the IUPUI O’Neill School Student Emergency Fund.
The fund helps students cover the cost of unforeseen expenses such as health emergencies, sudden unemployment, unexpected housing costs or car repairs, and more. For Popplewell, it also covered the cost of a plane ticket to be by her mother’s side.