BNEDC announces pair of One Voice Scholarship winners

(Normal, Ill.) – The Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council (BNEDC) is proud to announce the BNEDC One Voice Scholarship winner and the creation of a new opportunity for the 2019 One Voice trip to Washington, D.C.

Ashwin Siddaraju is a senior at Illinois State University majoring in Community Health Promotion and minoring in Business Administration.

“I am absolutely ecstatic to have received the EDC’s One Voice Scholarship and cannot wait for the opportunity to travel to D.C. with community leaders,” Siddaraju said.

Ashwin Siddaraju, 2019 Eikenberg Scholarship winner

“We had an outstanding group of applicants for this year’s scholarship,” said Mike O’Grady, BNEDC interim CEO. “Our committee was very impressed with the community engagement level of students at our local colleges and universities.”

The scholarship allows one local college student from an EDC investor school – Illinois State University or Illinois Wesleyan University – to participate in the One Voice experience.

“The trip provides a unique chance for college students to experience Washington D.C. and to also be inserted into McLean County’s community development discussions,” said Amy Denham, BNEDC Business Manager and One Voice trip organizer.

The selection process is based on the applicants’ responses to an essay question, volunteer/civic engagement experience, and their personal interest in the trip. The top three finalists are then interviewed by a committee made up of BNEDC staff and board members.

Siddaraju has been a part of many initiatives to better the Bloomington-Normal community. He participated in advocacy for Tobacco 21 law passage in the Town of Normal.  He has also acted as the VP of Civic Engagement for ISU’s Interfraternity Council, raising money for the Special Olympics.  Additionally, Siddaraju serves as head coach for the University High’s junior varsity football team.


Heartland Community College One Voice Scholarship

Joshua Crockett, 2019 Heartland CC One Voice Scholarship winner

For the 2019 One Voice trip, the EDC is partnering with Heartland Community College (HCC) to present a new opportunity to Heartland students interested in community engagement. The inaugural recipient is Joshua Crockett.

“While conducting interviews over the past few years, we realized a need was there for a Heartland-specific scholarship,” Denham said. “Joshua is an impressive student, and we are excited that he will be our first representative under the new award.”

Crockett is in his final year at Heartland and will be transferring to Illinois State University in the fall to major in Political Science.  He is currently interning for the Continuing Education department at HCC, which aligns with his goals of working in higher education after graduation.

“I am pleasantly surprised and honored to represent Heartland,” Crockett said. “I have witnessed the impact students can make when they speak out for what they believe in, and the One Voice trip is yet another platform to advocate for the needs of this community alongside our dedicated local leaders.”

He has held several leadership positions on Heartland’s campus including: member of Phi Theta Kappa, SGA Senator, Student Body President, and as the current Student Trustee.  He has utilized these roles to serve the students of Heartland by raising awareness for issues regarding textbook affordability, campus safety, and enhancing the overall student experience.


By: Zach Dietmeier

Published: December 18, 2018