First Group of Choose Ohio First Scholarship Recipients Graduate
The Choose Ohio First Scholarship serves to keep science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students in Ohio and in their majors.
Beginning just four years ago, the first group of students received the Choose Ohio First (COF) scholarships from the University of Cincinnati.
Now, all of those first-year recipients have recently graduated and plan to either
continue their education or find employment within their fields.
Within the letter, an optional summer bridge program was offered where the students came to campus for two months to take classes and gain the college experience before starting full time in the fall. The students who took advantage of this initiative reaped the benefits from it.
“When I got to my freshman year biology class, I had already learned the first six chapters in the summer bridge program. So while everyone else was learning it, it was just review for me,” said senior biology major and chemistry minor Wesley Gallaher.
General education classes were offered such as mathematics and English on top of the science courses taken by the COF scholarship recipients. They merged with the Emerging Ethnic Engineers (EEE) program during the summer bridge experience. The EEE existed before COF and it is mandatory for them to attend whereas it was optional for COF students.
“It was a cool program. Since I was raised in Cincinnati, I know everyone else; it’s nice meeting other people. That’s how I formed my relationship with my fellow COF scholarship students,” said senior chemistry major and psychology minor Annessa Burnett.
“It’s more of a communal feeling, which makes it easier for us to want to stay in the program,” said senior environmental studies major Sara Schrader.
The COF students believe none of this would be possible without their advisor, Carol Tonge Mack.
“My second mother is Miss Mack. Besides my real mom, she’s responsible for getting me through college. I’m glad I got the COF scholarship and that she’s our advisor because whether it was sending me emails about internships or talking to professors for me, she’s always there,” Gallaher said.
A college advisor is one aspect to succeed in college, and Mack truly provides that for her students. From personalizing meetings to finding a tutor or internship, she cares about the success of the students within the COF scholarship program.
“The COF scholarship made me actually stay in a STEM major. When I was switching out of engineering, I wanted to go to English. But I wanted to keep my scholarship, so that’s how I found environmental studies,” Schrader said.
“It gives you an incentive to do well in school. It put me around other scholarship recipients so we’re always trying to outdo each other and work together and that wouldn’t be possible without this scholarship. When you’re around positive people, you’ll do positive things,” Gallaher said.