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UC’s Cincinnatus Full-Scholarship Presidential Awards Recruit Talented Local and National Students


The 2012 full-scholarship recipients are entering UC from as close as North College Hill and as far away as California.

Date: 6/26/2012 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Lisa Ventre

UC ingot   Their academic talents make them the most highly recruited students at the nation’s most elite universities. The 13 incoming freshmen awarded full, $88,000 Cincinnatus Presidential scholarships are revealing why they chose the University of Cincinnati to pursue their studies.
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Since 1997, UC’s Cincinnatus Scholarship Program has provided different levels of awards for academic achievement, leadership and commitment to community service. As part of their scholarship commitment, each scholarship recipient will perform 30 hours of community service each year. The full, $88,000 awards cover tuition, fees, room and board and books.

Here are UC’s newest Cincinnatus Presidential awardees who will begin classes at UC this fall:

Michael Dudley – The 18-year-old resident of Liberty Township, Ohio, is a graduate of Lakota East High School. The National Achievement Finalist is majoring in commercial music production in the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). “I have always had a passion for music,” says Dudley. “However, recently, I have been fascinated with composition, arranging and recording. I visited several other high-caliber music schools, and CCM was the school I felt fit me and my needs the most.” Dudley has earned numerous awards in music at his school, community and national level. He has also been honored for his academic achievements, including his performance on the National Latin Exam. His dedication to service included participation in the Youth Arts Council of West Chester and Liberty, for which he planned and participated in events to educate and promote the arts in his community. Dudley also comes from a family of Bearcats – his mother, Cheryl, father, Michael, and cousin, Michael Meadows, all attended UC. “I’m looking forward to meeting new friends and greeting old friends at UC. I know many people who currently attend UC, and I am looking forward to being close to them again,” says Dudley.

Deirdre Elfers – The 18-year-old resident of Sunman, Ind., is a graduate of East Central High School and plans to major in middle school math and science education as well as public health in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH). She says she was inspired to pursue her field of study after volunteering at a school, clinic and orphanage in Uganda last summer. “The only way to help those in poor living conditions like the people of Uganda is to give them a sense of self-worth and potential that one receives with an education. After that trip, I wanted to provide a foundation and an opportunity for people to bring about change and improvement in their own lives.” Elfers held offices on her student council including student body president, vice president and treasurer and was involved in many other high school activities. She was a Class-A certified volunteer for the Special Olympics, worked closely with the Southeastern Indiana YMCA and also volunteered at local food banks. She is the daughter of a UC Bearcat. Her father, Robert J. Elfers Jr., earned a bachelor’s of business administration from UC in 1992. “From the moment I stepped onto UC’s campus, I could feel the energy,” Elfers says. “UC provides a progressive environment that nurtures aspirations. As a student, I feel like I can get involved and work my way toward any opportunity here.”

Michael Fitzgerald – The 18-year-old resident of Peoria, Ill., is a graduate of Peoria Notre Dame High School. He is majoring in biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS). “My love for medicine and my engineering mind led me to this choice,” he says. “I was impressed with the number of programs that UC offered, in addition to co-op.” Fitzgerald is the recipient of numerous school, state and community awards for outstanding leadership, scholarship, character and service, including Illinois State Scholar and Peoria Notre Dame Man of the Year. He was senior captain for his football, hockey and baseball teams and was the recipient of the Central Illinois Prep Hockey League’s Tim Conklin Award for Sportsmanship and High Character. His service activities included participating in a canned food drive and organizing high school blood drives. He says he is looking forward to a challenging curriculum at UC as well as participating in UC’s numerous extracurricular activities.

Karyn Georgilis – The 17-year-old resident of Mariemont, Ohio, is a graduate of Mariemont High School. She will be majoring in industrial design in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). “UC has consistently ranked number one in the country in terms of undergraduate industrial design programs, so naturally UC was very appealing,” says Georgilis. “I also liked the idea of being part of a university and not just solely an art school.” Georgilis has received local and national recognition for her photography and was president of her high school art club and leadership council. She was also involved in show choir and was a member of the Cincinnati Teen Arts Council. Georgilis was captain of her high school track team, a member of the National Honor Society and member of her high school’s Mock Trial Team. Her service activities included working at an orphanage for girls in Haiti, organizing a 5K run to support a local food bank and participating in youth group service activities in Appalachia and the south. She says she’s looking forward to joining a university community that’s “highly acclaimed in both the arts and sciences as well as participating in a uniquely diverse community.”

Christopher Gonzalez – The 18-year-old resident of Hacienda Heights, Calif., is a National Hispanic Merit Scholar and was salutatorian of Bishop Amat Memorial High School. He will be majoring in food and nutrition in the College of Allied Health Sciences. Gonzalez is a student through UC’s Connections dual admissions program. Through that program, he will reserve his admission into the UC College of Medicine upon completion of his bachelor’s degree. As president and founder of his high school medical club, he organized a lecture series to introduce students to various careers in health care. In addition to his academic achievements, he was an award-winning tennis player for his high school, was captain of the boys varsity tennis team, and was California Interscholastic Federation (southern section) Male Student-Athlete of the Year. His service activities included volunteering at the Interfaith Food Center in La Mirada, Calif., traveling twice to Malawi, Africa to volunteer on medical missions, and tutoring fellow students. “For a university of its size, I was pleased that UC made a concerted effort to get to know me as an individual,” says Gonzalez. “I’m looking forward to all of the opportunities to conduct research and study abroad and quite simply, to make the most of what UC has to offer.”

Michael Green – The 18-year-old resident of Dacula, Ga., is a graduate of Mill Creek High School and will be majoring in accounting and finance in the Carl H. Lindner College of Business. He is interested in a career in investment banking. Green says he chose UC because the university offered the best financial deal for an out-of-state student to attend a prestigious university. “The campus was by far the nicest I had visited,” says Green. “UC absolutely blew me away. Also, because Cincinnati is a business hub, it’s a great market for graduating students. Plus, cooperative education is a vital component of UC, and I felt the benefit of getting real-life experience in a specialized career field was invaluable. Co-op was not emphasized at my other prospective universities,” says Green, who is also entering the Carl H. Lindner College of Business Kolodzik Business Scholars Program. He says he’s looking forward to meeting new people, learning new things, cheering at UC’s athletic events and exploring his new independence away from home.

Caroline Hensley – The 18-year-old resident of Wheaton, Ill., is a graduate of Wheaton-Warrenville South High School. She will be majoring in biological sciences and Spanish in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S). Hensley is entering UC through the UC Connections dual admissions program. Through that program, she will reserve her admission into the UC College of Medicine upon completion of her bachelor’s degrees. “I have always been in awe of the magnificence of the human body, and how we can continue to improve the quality of life,” she says. She was a section leader with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and was a member of her high school swim team and math team. She led a school club dedicated to assisting students with disabilities. She also volunteered at the Almost Home Kid’s Pediatric Transitional Care Facility. Hensley says she chose UC because of the excitement of exploring a new city, added with the comfort of being relatively close to home.

Christa Iwu – The 18-year-old resident of Louisville, Ky., is a graduate of Dupont Manual Magnet High School. She will be majoring in electronic media in the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). “I have always been interested in the relationship between the arts and technology, and my magnet teachers really showed me that I could pursue that after high school,” says Iwu. She was editor-in-chief of her high school yearbook and assisted in the design of her school’s literary magazine. Iwu also excelled in academics and athletics. She was a National Spanish Exam bronze medalist and was a member of her varsity soccer team. Her service activities included volunteering at the Southeast YMCA and coordinating a benefit concert for the Save Darfur Foundation. As she looks ahead to joining the Bearcats community, she says, “I look forward to the concentrated e-media environment, the broad range of liberal arts classes available and the new experiences I will encounter.”

Blair Jones – The 17-year-old resident of North College Hill is a graduate of Walnut Hills High School. He will be majoring in mechanical engineering (College of Engineering and Applied Science) and business administration (Carl H. Lindner College of Business). “I have always been interested in the design of mechanical systems and wanted to know how they worked,” he says, adding that his business degree will support his interest in becoming an entrepreneur. Jones has received AP awards in calculus and economics. He was section leader in his high school marching band and also participated in wind ensemble, as well as in athletics (baseball and soccer) and academics (JETS competition). His service activities included activities with his church youth group as well as volunteering at a soup kitchen. He says he chose UC because it “felt like home. The people are wonderful, the atmosphere is lively and full of school spirit and the education is top-of-the-line.”

Alison Karsh – The 18-year-old resident of Pittsburgh is a graduate of North Allegheny Senior High School. She will be majoring in UC’s nationally, top-ranked industrial design program (DAAP). She says she is looking forward to meeting new people and learning about industrial design. Karsh was a member of the National Honor Society and was also involved with student council, her volleyball team and Ultimate Frisbee. Her service activities included serving as co-chair of Pittsburgh J-Serve – a national day of service for Jewish teens in the Pittsburgh area. She has also volunteered at arts and sports camps and is a lifelong member of the Girl Scouts. She was also selected for the Diller Teen Fellowship Program, a leadership development program for exceptional Jewish high school students.

Jiazhen (Kelly) Lin – The 17-year-old resident of Dublin, Ohio, is a National Merit Finalist and was valedictorian of Dublin Scioto High School. She will be majoring in architecture in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) and says she chose UC because of her program’s opportunities through cooperative education (co-op). Lin served as president of the Dublin Scioto Key Club, Environmental Club and Irish Core, a United Nations club. She was also a violinist with her school orchestra and president and fiddler with the Irish Fiddler Fetish club. She was a National AP Scholar and named AP Scholar with Distinction, and was also a member of the National Honor Society. Her service activities include organizing canned food drives for the Dublin Food Pantry, serving as a “Reach Out and Read” volunteer at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity as well as her local library. As she looks ahead to her experience at UC, she says she’s looking forward to meeting new people, studying abroad and starting her studies in architecture. Lin is also an incoming Darwin T. Turner scholar.

Ashley Nkadi – The 17-year-old resident of Jackson, Tenn., is a graduate of University School of Jackson. She will be majoring in neuroscience in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S). “I’m interested in the chemical reasons behind why humans behave in certain ways, as well as the psychology and brain aspects of neuroscience,” says Nkadi, who is interested in going to medical school. Nkadi belonged to numerous honor societies and was on the honor roll every year in high school. Her many extracurricular activities focused on service. She was president of her Jackson, Tenn., chapter of Jack and Jill, an organization that encourages African-American youth participation in community service and social activities. She is also a member of Girl Scouts and Operation Smile. She plans to attend an Operation Smile conference in Washington, D.C., this summer. Nkadi also led communications and fundraising for a local Art in the Park program. Nkadi says she chose UC because during a campus visit, she saw UC students reflecting their red-and-black UC spirit on campus. She’s also interested in UC’s opportunities in undergraduate research, cooperative education and study abroad. “I want to travel everywhere,” says Nkadi.

Hannah Randolph – The 18-year-old resident of Sylvania, Ohio, is a graduate of Notre Dame Academy. The National Merit Finalist will be majoring in economics (Carl H. Lindner College of Business) and international affairs (A&S). “I like to see how all of my interests connect, and I think that international studies and economics are the best ways to study those connections.” Randolph excelled in academics, the arts and sports in high school. She was a state qualifier on her speech and debate team, was a theater student- director for four years and was on her high school golf team her freshman, sophomore and junior year. She was also an active member of student council. Her service activities included volunteering at the Toledo Public Library. She says she chose UC because of the university’s reputation for research, study abroad opportunities and strengths in the humanities. She also comes from a family of Bearcats. Her mother, Clare, earned her degree in mechanical engineering (1982) and her father, Brian, earned his bachelor’s (1982) and master’s (1983) degrees from UC in civil engineering.

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