From Tiaras to White Coats

From Tiaras to White Coats

This year’s Princess class has a variety of interests. While some study the arts, business, and education, three of these 33 young women are professional students in graduate school. Carolina Vogel is a 1st-year medical student at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Elaina Etter and Olga Vlashyn are both pharmacy students at Purdue University College of Pharmacy.

These women in white coats share how the 500 Festival Princess Program is enabling them to pursue a career in healthcare and leave a lasting impact beyond the classroom.


Carolina Vogel

“When I chose to apply to become a 2018 500 Festival Princess, two themes stood out to me amongst the program description and requirements: education and civic engagement. I’ll be honest… I wasn’t quite sold on the tiara and sash, but as a future physician, education and service are two integral pillars of my life. I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am to the 500 Festival Princess Program for giving me the opportunity to serve my community on such a large scale. In my future as a healthcare professional, I will serve the people of Indiana on a regular basis, but my desire to serve extends far beyond the patients I will see in my office. I hope to have a voice in public health, legislation, and be a leader in our community. Through leadership workshops about civic engagement, as well as the huge variety of opportunities to serve around the state in the coming months, the 500 Festival Princess Program has already given me many tools for growth. I hope to use this experience as a platform to build upon my passion for community service and civic engagement throughout the rest of my career. When May comes to a close, my tiara will be replaced with a white coat and stethoscope, but the skills I’ve honed and the memories I’ve made will enable me to better serve my future patients – a truly invaluable gift.”


Elaina Etter

“For me, becoming a 500 Festival Princess was the next logical step in my growth as a leader. I have spent my time at Purdue University discovering my passions through involvement. While I never set out to be a leader in college, I cared so deeply about the causes that each organization represented that I felt compelled to take on leadership positions. Acting as a leader allowed me to harness my own passion to have a more profound influence on the causes and people who mean the most to me. Entering my fourth year as a Purdue student, I realized that many of my leadership positions were naturally coming to an end. I was ready to graduate on to other organizations and make an impact that stretched beyond my university. The 500 Festival Princess Program entered my life at exactly the right moment. The Princess Program seeks out women who are established leaders on their respective college campuses and elevates them to become leaders throughout the state. I was inspired to apply by the promise that with this title, my influence would be felt far beyond Purdue University. As a future healthcare professional, I recognize that wearing a white coat holds much of the same responsibility as wearing a tiara. People expect the wearers to act as leaders, advocating for the people they serve. This experience is preparing me to act as a healthcare professional who will wield my passions to educate, inspire, and impact both my patients and my community.”


Olga Vlashyn

“The 500 Festival Princess Program captivated my attention because it allows academically driven young women to participate in 500 Festival outreach initiatives throughout the entire state of Indiana. I was eager to educate Hoosiers about where the 500 Festival traditions began and how they have evolved over the years. In addition to celebrating the richness of being a Hoosier, I knew that the program would provide each 500 Festival Princess with a $1,000 scholarship. This scholarship is made possible by Marlyne Sexton, an Indianapolis philanthropist and president of The Sexton Companies, as well as the 500 Festival Foundation. The scholarship awarded to me through the Princess Program is allowing me to pursue my dream of being a pharmacist within a large academic medical center in the future. Through my didactic curriculum at Purdue University College of Pharmacy, I have learned that I enjoy educating patients about their medications and enabling them to make positive changes in their lives. I think it is important to highlight that all 33 women that were selected as 500 Festival Princesses strive to achieve excellence both inside and outside the classroom. As we all look forward to the exciting events of the 500 Festival in May, we are also prioritizing academics to set ourselves up for success in the future.”


In closing, we would like to thank the 500 Festival for the opportunity to serve our community and for their continued support of our pursuit of higher education. This opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we will always cherish.

To learn more about the 500 Festival Princess Program, click here.