By Kimmie Collins
May 1, 2019
Princess Starts Her Engine at State
Once upon a time, a princess raced onto Indiana State University’s campus, ready to create her own fairy tale.
Annie Bowen, a freshman from Terre Haute, Ind., has been selected to serve as a 500 Festival Princess during the 2019 Indianapolis 500 season. Bowen, proud of her starting position as an Indiana native, is enchanted by the opportunity. “The experience so far has been very rewarding,” she said. “I’ve gotten to see the full gamut of what the 500 Festival Organization does. Being able to make an impact on Indiana culture is something that is really important to me. I love being able to teach about the history we have and the deep roots we’ve always had in racing.”
Bowen’s sister, a junior at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis was also selected to serve as a 500 Festival Princess. Together, the Bowen sisters have immersed themselves with racing and service events across the state. “The best event so far has been volunteering at the Promingdale’s event for cancer patients at Riley Hospital for Children,” Bowen said. “It gives an opportunity for the whole family to pick out dresses, tuxes, shoes, jewelry and accessories provided by the Riley Children’s Foundation. The prom is a night for all cancer families to come together and celebrate all of their obstacles and success.”
Riley Children’s Foundation is a cause very dear to Bowen. A patient at Riley Hospital for Children herself, Bowen has become involved with State Dance Marathon since coming to Indiana State. Members of the organization dance for 12 hours to raise funds for the patients at Riley Hospital for Children. “This school and its support are really special to me,” Bowen said. She served as a member of the Corporate Partnerships committee for the 2019 State Dance Marathon, and during the event, the 500 Festival Princess escorted a younger patient during a fashion show.
Bowen’s journeys to faraway lands extend far beyond Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Over spring break, Bowen traveled to Frankfurt, Germany with the Networks Professional Development Program. “I was able to visit the different business cultures there and spend time exploring the city,” she said. “Being with friends in a different country is something a lot of students might not have the opportunity to do, but Indiana State University was so helpful in getting me there in my second semester as a freshman.”
Bowen, who is studying insurance and risk management and financial services, is actively involved with the Networks Professional Development Program and the Gongaware Scholarship Program. “Both of these programs have engaged me and challenged me to be a leader, a scholar, and a diverse student through opportunities such as internships and weekly seminars with the other scholars who have become my second family,” she said. “This program is one of the top reasons why Indiana State is my dream school.”
Rebecca Wray, the director of the program, has acted as a “fairy godmother” for Bowen during her time at State. “She really has the best interest of students at heart at the end of the day,” Bowen said. “She does everything in her power to make sure that our time here is fulfilled to the best.”
To Bowen, the true magic of campus lies in its people. “My BLUE is the everlasting friendships and relationships that this campus instills within every life they impact,” she said. “My favorite experience at State so far has been being involved with all the different organizations we have. My current focus has been participating in my sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, my business fraternity, Gamma Iota Sigma, Student Government Association, and the Give to Blue Committee.”
Indiana State is helping Bowen’s professional dreams come true. “I chose Indiana State University because of the unlimited potential that is here not only on campus but within the community,” she said. “Indiana State is the perfect size to become the leader and professional that you have always dreamed of and provides you with every tool and resource you would ever need. The students, staff, and faculty truly make Indiana State University feel like home.”
After she waves the blue and white checkered flag at graduation, Bowen hopes to become involved with medical insurance within the Terre Haute community. “There are so many opportunities in Terre Haute,” she said. “Our community is growing and it has the ability to help students grow as leaders, from elementary school and high school through college.”
This summer, Bowen will complete an underwriting internship with MedPro Group in Fort Wayne, Ind. The experience and her time at State are just the pace lap for this 500 Festival Princess that is certain to have a future in the winner’s circle.