Colleges & Schools 

Meet Gloria Turner

Ivy Tech graduate. Current IUPUI student. 21st Century Scholar, Ivy Tech Bowen Scholar. Miss Plus Indiana.



Background: “My grandmother dropped out [of high school] at 15, so did my mother, and I did, too. Education was never a priority. I grew up thinking that if I got a good enough job, I would be all right. I did have a good job, but then I got into an abusive relationship, got pregnant and lost my job, all in one month. School was the last option. I enrolled at a school called The Excel Center – a tuition-free adult education center [see article on page 30]. I thought about quitting the first day I enrolled, but it was that first day that really ignited my academic journey. I realized I could do it and keep up. I graduated in seven-and-a-half months as the valedictorian, with a 4.0 GPA. That really added fuel to my fire to go on, especially with the motivation of The Excel Center.”

College: “I applied to several colleges and was accepted at all of them. Ivy Tech was reasonable in cost and flexible with online classes. When I started in 2014, I was working full-time and I didn’t have a lot of support or a very strong college influence. I was an online student and didn’t have much interaction with others. I took a back seat for a while, but I came back. I started prioritizing my time. I felt compelled to give back. I gave more than 300 hours of community service. My last semester at Ivy Tech, I made the dean’s list and had a 3.7 GPA.” At Ivy Tech, Turner served as vice president of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, as a senator in the Student Government Association, and as community service chair for the the National Society of Leadership and Success. She’s now enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program at IUPUI.

What’s ahead: When Turner earned her first associate degree, she decided she wanted to continue her education and plans to eventually earn a Ph.D. “Now education is a priority in my family. I’m excited about everything I’ve shared with my nine-year-old son.”

Her goal is to own and operate a non-profit she already has given a name: ALERT—Adult Learners, Educated, Restored and Transformed. “My mission is to connect non-traditional students with resources to help promote social and economic mobility in the most disadvantaged demographics in Indianapolis. I want them to know that nothing is impossible, and that you can create your own legacy.”

Financing her education: Turner actively sought out scholarships and financial aid. As a 21st Century Scholar, she received funds to support her studies at Ivy Tech. She also has been awarded a number of scholarships from community organizations. “My goal is to be debt-free to my Ph.D.”

Advice: “You are not defined by your past. You have the ability to change your future. Seek out opportunity by asking questions. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals and keep company with people who are getting good grades. That will motivate you to do better. Seek out opportunities to get involved. Not only are you building lasting relationships, you’re opening doors to scholarships and networking opportunities.”

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