2020-21 MEG VOTTA MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT
Anna Bender found her passion for rugby as a founder of the Carroll High School Girls Rugby team. She helped found the team from the ground up and worked to recruit and retain players, all while learning the fundamentals of the sport. In a matter of a few short months and one 15s season, Anna learned the game and found her confidence on the field. She continued to learn new positions and skills, and would carry on to help her team win three consecutive state championships. By her senior season, Bender became team captain and was prepared to lead her team to a fourth consecutive state championship until the pandemic rocked the globe. Bender and her teammates were coming off a successful 7s season and were prepared to move up a division.
In addition to holding a 4.2 grade point average and fulfilling her rugby commitments, she was heavily involved in many other extracurricular activities. Anna held a health sciences internship at Parkview Regional Medical Center, volunteered at Anthony Medical Associates, served as a peer leader for Sources of Strength Club, was an active member of the Student Advisory Club, mentored Carroll High School freshman, and volunteered as a campus tour guide and student helper in the guidance office at Carroll High School.
“In all my interactions with Anna, she has proven to be a young woman of high integrity who is committed to excellence. From the first moment I met Anna, I was drawn to her inclusive and thoughtful personality. She is kind, compassionate, and caring. She cares deeply about the world around her and that translates to all the people she comes into contact with. She loves to learn and commits herself to the world around her in deeply empathetic ways,” said Carroll High School English Teacher, Carrie L. Wisehart.
Bender will continue her athletic and academic career at Purdue University where she intends to study nutrition and dietetics in preparation for a pre-medicine academic track. She is eager to take advantage of internships, research opportunities, and volunteer experiences that will help her achieve her career goal of becoming a doctor.
On the pitch, her collegiate rugby goals include striving to continue to learn how to play different positions and working to become a better kicker.
Despite COVID-19 shaking the collegiate rugby world in 2020, Anna has transitioned well into college life and her new role as a member of the Purdue Women’s Rugby Club.
“Anna has reached out to our team leaders to see how she can help out; she shows great initiative on and off the field. She was recently elected to our officer board and was the only freshman voted into a leadership position this year. She is eager to lead the team and club, and has great ideas on improving our playing and making new players feel at home on our team,” said Mary Reilly, Purdue Women’s Rugby Club President.