Picking her lane

Name: Shelby Dartis
Major: Pharmacy
Year: Freshman
Hometown: Indianapolis

On the leader board: As a track standout (400 meters is her main event), Shelby is used to leading. But off the track she leads, too. In Athletes of Character, she mentors 8th graders and at the Center for Leadership Development, she helps kids aged 11-17 build character and explore careers. “I want to be the person who stands out from the crowd and does what they’re supposed to do—a leader,” she says. “I want kids to look up to me.”

It’s a “pharmer’s” life for her: Fascinated by the water-analysis work she’s seen at her summer job in a wastewater treatment facility, Shelby is a budding scientist and future pharmacist. Over the summer she looked into some of her options, like nuclear pharmacy, clinical and retail pharmacy work.

When you don’t know—ask! Shelby gets it. When some math concepts weren’t clicking for her, she stayed late and asked questions. She found out, too, that math grades were key to getting into college. She buckled down and got A’s in math. And did we mention that her GPA was 4.2? You read that right. The extra 0.2 comes from her honors and AP classes.

Keeping the faith: Shelby walks the talk. At her church in Indianapolis, she leads a girls’ group that keeps elderly church members involved and positive. The girls are letting Shelby know they’ll miss her when she’s at Purdue. “They keep crying, ‘When are you coming back?’” she says.

Feeling the love: Purdue hooked Shelby fast. On campus for a high school track meet, it was love at first sight. “I was impressed with how the campus looked, and I just loved the atmosphere.” Then she did a double take. “It seemed more diverse, too, with a lot of different faces. It just excited me—thrilled me, actually!”

By Amy Raley