By: Tori Metzger
Two Kelley students on the IUPUI campus have been selected to participate in this year’s 500 Festival Princess Program. Ariel Gastelum, BS’19, from Greenwood and Alyssa Halcomb, BS’19, from Versailles are two of 33 princesses chosen from 14 Indiana colleges and 21 cities across the state.
Hundreds of applicants were reviewed and 33 princesses selected based on communication skills, academic performance and community involvement. 2018 is the third consecutive year that at least one 500 Festival Princess has been selected from the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI.
“If you want to learn how to be a leader, give back to a community that has given to you, and inspire new generations, this program is perfect for you,” Gastelum said.
Gastelum, who moved to Indiana from Mexico 6 years ago, applied to be a princess along with her best friend from Indiana University, Eva Li, who was also selected to be a princess this year.
“One of the reasons I wanted to do the Princess Program is to represent Kelley and turn my best Kelley moment into momentum,” Gastelum said.
As part of the program, the princesses are invited to meet with local business leaders and each princess is assigned a mentor from the 500 Festival Board of Directors. In addition to volunteering at 500 Festival-coordinated events, each princess is also expected to spearhead four chosen community service initiatives.
“The Princess Program goes far beyond the crown and sash,” Halcomb said. “It provides so many areas for growth personally and professionally all while making a lasting impact on the state of Indiana.”
Both Gastelum and Halcomb say their favorite part of the Princess Program is interacting with and influencing local elementary school students.
“I most enjoy being a role model to younger children,” Halcomb said. “Being someone that children look up to is a remarkable feeling. I always tell them the importance of academics and volunteering in their community, giving them the mindset that they can be in my place one day if they work hard to accomplish their goals.”
“It’s really nice to see that you’re inspiring young girls who are probably going to apply to be princesses in the future,” Gastelum said.
It’s no coincidence that Kelley women continue to be chosen to represent the 500 Festival Princess Program.
“The time management and teamwork skills that Kelley taught me have helped me throughout my term as a princess,” Halcomb said. “I continue to use these skills every day within the Princess Program by working with 32 other amazing women and juggling the program and my schoolwork.”
“Feeling the support of everyone from the community is a beautiful experience,” Gastelum said. “It’s not just about being a princess, but about being an ambassador.”
In addition to Gastelum and Halcomb, four IUPUI students and two Indiana University Kelley School students were also chosen to be 500 Festival Princesses.
In total, 15 of this year’s 33 princesses are students at an IU-affiliated school:
Learn more about the 500 Festival Princess Program.