Chastity Lee wins Idaho State University’s Ultimate Bengal Challenge, receiving a $13,000 scholarship package
Posted April 25, 2014
It may have been the two hawks she saw while driving back from work in the morning or the prayer she gave. Whatever it was, 21-year-old Chastity Lee’s luck continued as she was awarded the $13,000-plus Idaho State University Ultimate Bengal Challenge scholarship package Wednesday night.
“It’s awesome,” Lee said, shortly after receiving the scholarship package.
The ISU social media contest running from Jan. 14 to April 23 attracted nearly 180,000 entries, and Lee was among the challenge’s 70 randomly selected finalists. Most of those finalists gathered at the donkey basketball game put on by the ISU Student Activities Board at Reed Gym on April 23; Lee’s name was randomly chosen again, and she was announced as the contest’s winner.
“Today I prayed, because in my culture you are supposed to pray to our old people, so I prayed this morning that hopefully I could get it,” Lee said. “And when I was driving back from Fort Hall this morning, because I work at an elementary school out there, I saw two hawks, so I blessed myself with them, and I’m just more blessed that I won this.”
The 21-year-old pre-nursing major is now a sophomore at ISU. Lee went to high school at Winslow, Ariz., but she grew up in Teesto, Ariz., on the Navajo Reservation. A member of the Navajo Nation, Lee was crowned Miss Native ISU by the ISU Native Americans United student group in November.
She’s been active at ISU, taking a full load of classes, and has been participating in the University’s Career Path Internship program, working as a tutor at Fort Hall Elementary School and working with Drusilla Gould, senior lecturer in the ISU Department of Anthropology.
“I hadn’t been applying for scholarships lately, so I am blessed that I won,” Lee said. “Now I have to keep going to school and graduate.”
Part of the reason she wants to graduate is because she has three younger sisters and she wants to be a good role model for them, Lee said.
As the Ultimate Bengal winner, Lee will receive a year of in-state tuition, one year of campus housing, a one-year meal plan, a $1,000 ISU Bookstore credit, an iPad, a reserved parking pass, a Student Unions bowling and billiards card, and ISU swag, including a jacket and polo shirt.
Lee was congratulated by ISU President Arthur Vailas, Chubbuck Mayor Kevin England, Associated Students of ISU President Matt Bloxham, and ISU Vice President for Advancement Kent Tingey. The crowd gathered at Reed Gym also cheered her.
Members of the ISU Social Media Committee, which conceived of and promoted the challenge, were also on hand, congratulating Lee.
“This unique social media competition was unlike anything seen in the higher education,” said Adrienne King, director, ISU Office of Marketing and Communications. “We’re proud Idaho State University is leading the way in innovative communications, and to offer this scholarship opportunity to an outstanding student.”
Stuart Summers, chair of the ISU Social Media Committee and director of marketing and recruitment for the ISU College of Technology, noted how much the Ultimate Bengal Challenge has benefitted ISU social media efforts. During the challenge’s timeframe the number of ISU Facebook followers increased by 55 percent, Twitter followers increased by 52 percent and Instagram followers increased by 78.4 percent.
“The contest was wildly successful,” Summers said. “We had entries from all over Idaho, from throughout the United States and from far continents. Universities from throughout the country who have expressed interest in our challenge have also contacted us. The challenge has attracted a lot of positive feedback for our social media and for our university.”
At present, there are no plans to have another Ultimate Bengal contest, but the ISU Social Media Committee will continue to run creative promotions to engage ISU social media fans.