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UC Graduates First Group of UC|21 Scholarship Recipients

The UC|21 scholarship for National Merit and National Achievement finalists is successfully attracting the nation’s most academically talented students to the university.

Date: 6/5/2009 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Andrew Higley, Dottie Stover

UC ingot  

The University of Cincinnati celebrates Commencement on June 13 with the first group of graduates representing university efforts to bring the nation’s most recruited students to UC. The seven graduates were among the first UC students to be awarded the UC|21 Scholarship for National Merit and National Achievement Finalists.


The UC|21 Scholarship was first announced in 2005 – part of the university’s strategic plan to double the number of National Merit finalists at UC. The scholarship provides for in-state tuition and campus housing valued at more than $60,000 over four years, plus, a one-time award of $1,500 to pay for a computer, a study abroad experience or an undergraduate research opportunity.

Awardees are also automatically invited into the University Honors Program, which enriches the educational experience of UC’s academically talented students through coursework and out-of-the-classroom activities – emphasizing the Honors themes of community engagement, global studies, leadership, research and creative arts.

When the award was first announced in 2005, the university reported 50 National Merit Finalists were enrolled at that time and the scholarship was aimed at doubling that number. UC’s Student Financial Aid reports that a total of 129 National Merit and National Achievement finalists have been wooed to UC with the UC|21 Scholarship and another 29 UC|21 freshman awardees are expected this fall.

Alex Amrine
Alex Amrine

UC|21 Scholar Alex Amrine of Ann Arbor, Mich., is graduating with his bachelor’s degree in UC’s top ranked architecture program, which first drew his interest to the university. “The high school I went to was really small – I graduated with only 10 other students from Rudolf Steiner High School in Ann Arbor, so I was really excited to be coming to a university with so many people,” he says. Amrine says he’ll be heading back to Michigan to job hunt and pour though some independent research, but adds he feels his cooperative experience at UC also gave him valuable real-world experience – working in Pittsburgh and in Washington, D.C.

Christine Wankewycz
Christine Wankewycz


UC|21 Scholar Christine Wankewycz of Cleveland, Ohio, is graduating with her bachelor’s degree in communication, as well as a minor in Spanish and a minor in math. At Commencement, she has the added honor of representing the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences as a student marshal in the 2 p.m. ceremony. “I’ll always think of my experience at UC as dynamic because I came from a high school with only 55 people in the graduating class,” says the graduate of Cuyahoga Heights High School. “Back there, I was a big fish in a small pond. All of the teachers knew me.

“Here at UC, I knew I had to prove myself to everyone, but I became very comfortable carving out my place in the ocean,” she says. Wankewycz says the scholarship bolstered that effort tremendously. “I got involved on campus right from the get-go and I think my experience would have been so different without the financial help. I would have had to focus more on work and school, and not as much on my campus involvement.”

Wankewycz is also job hunting but after her experience at UC, she adds that she wants to stay in Cincinnati.

In 2007, UC marked the first time it made a national list of 97 universities reporting large numbers of National Merit Scholars reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The National Merit Scholarship Program selects approximately 15,000 finalists per year that represent the top one-percent of high-achieving college freshmen across the country.

UC|21 Scholars

2005 awards – 19
2006 awards – 37
2007 awards – 29
2008 awards – 44
Expected 2009 freshmen – 29

Proudly Cincinnati: 21st Century Learning

UC|21 Scholarship Information

UC Student Financial Aid

UC Commencement Information