Ball State top 100 students look back on their experiences

The nomination. Filling out the application. Writing an essay about defining Beneficence. All of it ends in a waiting game. 

The process for applying to be a top 100 student can be lengthy between recommendations from bosses or professors to having to wait to see if you made it. 

One of the top two students, fourth-year theatre education and English education double major Denver Hammons, went through this process for the 2023 top 100 students. 

According to Hammons, he applied in November and found out in February he got into the top 100. By the end of March, he found out he was in the top two specifically.

Finding out if students made it into the top 50 is through a brunch at the Alumni Center where the students and two to three of their family and friends were invited, said third-year public relations and advertising major Grace Carman. 

"[At the brunch], you have no idea if you are top 25, top 10 or top two," Carman said. "You just sit there waiting for your name to be called, which is quite anxiety inducing with your friends and family sitting right there." 

While process and waiting is the anxious part of being a top 100 student, the benefits that come with it can be anywhere from event opportunities to being mentored. 

According to Hammons, the top two students get $500 each to donate to a fund or organization on One Ball State Day. He was able to donate to the fund set up for a scholarship in the name of the late professor Troy Dobosiewicz. 

The newest benefit for the top 100 students through the program is an alumni mentor they can use as a connection or to ask questions about anything. 

"Being able to connect with my mentor has given me opportunities that I would not have gotten if it wasn't for the top 100 student program," Carman said. 

For other top 100 students, the designation can be used on their resumes and to Katelyn Harris, fourth-year pre-medicine and biology double major, it gave her more connections to different events and people who  she normally wouldn't have spoken to. 

"The only downside to this program is that people do expect more out of you," Harris said. "Like, everyone thinks that I'm just going to be absolutely perfect." 

Being a student for the past four years, some top 100 students got to experience new things like a new minor or new organizations that weren't around when they started at Ball State. 

"At the end of [the pandemic], the new minor of health humanities started, so I got into that, which I very much enjoy. [I will be] the first student to graduate with the health humanities minor," Harris said. 

Harris plans on taking a gap year before going into medical school. She is interning and helping get the word out about the health humanities minor. 

When it comes to the top 100 students, which are mainly third-year and fourth-year students, they tend to have more experiences and memories that can be told to the lower classes. 

The highlight of Hammons' college years was being able to work with the National Collegiate Jump Rope Association to host the seventh annual University Jump Rope Summit March 21 to April 2.

"I would say the biggest highlight and the most exciting moment of my time here was getting to watch 100 competitive jump ropers from 14 different universities come to Ball State and see how great it is and how cool of a school it is and how wonderful of a place it can be," Hammons said. 

To other students, it's spending time with friends that will be remembered as they move onto the next chapter of their lives. 

Harris recollected studying in the library at 3 a.m. with her friends, and they got stuck in the elevator. They started joking around and laughing so hard, in the 15 minutes they were stuck, she ended up spitting coffee in her friend's face.  

For some of the top 100 students, their love for Ball State started years beforehand.

"I remember having a conversation with my fifth grade math teacher telling her that I wanted to go to Ball State when I went to college," Hammons said. "So I made that dream come true."

Overall, the top 100 students have experiences they will carry with them for a long time. 

"Say yes to almost everything because you never know what experiences are going to come your way," Hammons said. "After making that educational commitment, you never know who you might cross paths with, what you might learn, what you might see and what you might experience." 

Contact Mya Cataline with comments at or on Twitter @mcata_20.