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Cincinnatus Scholar Is Among the Nation’s Highest Achievers

A member of Mensa since childhood with a perfect 36 score on the ACT – National Merit Finalist Brad Theilman of Milford shares why he chose UC, a nationally reputable university in his own backyard.

Date: 10/26/2009
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Other Contact: Cincinnatus Information
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-2420
Photos By: Financial Aid & Dottie Stover
When University of Cincinnati freshman Brad Theilman was in third grade, he came across a problem that his mother, Regina, sought outside help to solve. A member of the Mensa International Honor Society since he was five years old (the IQs of members are in the top two percent of the world’s population), the third-grader was stuck and getting frustrated with trying to figure out how a computer worked. His mom’s success in finding Brad a young mentor led to his first brush with someone from UC’s College of Engineering, where Theilman, last spring’s valedictorian of Milford High School, is now majoring in biomedical engineering.
Bradley Theilman
Bradley Theilman

Theilman is one of seven UC freshmen to be awarded a full $80,000 Cincinnatus scholarship to pay for tuition, room and board, books and fees. The winter scholarship competition recognizes students not only for their academic achievements, but also for their leadership and service.

Theilman, a first-generation college student, was also awarded a Choose Ohio First scholarship, which amounts to $4,100 per academic year. The scholarships serve underrepresented freshmen including minorities, first-generation college students and women.

This Choose Ohio First program serves qualifying freshmen entering the College of Engineering and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences and can also serve students transitioning to the Uptown Campus from Raymond Walters College, Clermont College, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and Sinclair Community College.

Through this program, students will gain strength in the STEMM fields through UC’s cooperative education experience, summer bridge program and structured support for freshmen and sophomores, as well as mentoring and undergraduate research opportunities – opportunities that Brad says truly appealed to him as he was deciding where he wanted to pursue his education.

“I think UC’s reputation is great and getting better,” he says. “So, compared with other top universities, I thought it would be best to jump in here and go to the top at a very fast rate.”

He admits getting a sense of déjà vu this fall as he entered the Engineering Research Center and Braunstein Hall. Then, he remembered that back in third grade, that mentor that his mom found to help him with computers had taken Brad on a college tour all those years ago, before the dramatic transformation of the campus that draws visitors today. Brad’s computer quandary led his mom to a local software company where she asked if someone would be willing to volunteer their time to help her young son. The only engineer at the firm was Josh Marotti, who graduated with a BS in computer engineering from UC’s College of Engineering in 2000.

Now living in Anderson and working as a managing consultant, Josh, a father of three, says he admired Regina Theilman’s determination to pursue opportunities and challenges for her bright little boy.

“In third grade, it was obvious that he was very bright. He could have chosen any university that he wanted,” Josh says. “We would use calculus in play, and he liked to do a lot of things in his head.”

“I learned a lot from him and I still have some of his textbooks,” Brad says, as he remembers his time with his mentor. “He would come by once a week and we would meet for a couple of hours and he would teach me things.”

As a high-school student Brad also was a regular participant in UC’s JETS-Team Nationwide Competitions that were held on campus. He was also a semifinalist in the prestigious 2009 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, which recognizes the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors.

Brad is now settling into UC and is a member of a First-Year Experience (FYE) Learning Community for biomedical engineering majors. These learning communities help freshmen experience the feel of a small college within a large, research university, as well as build friendships with classmates as they explore common areas of academic interests. Eager to also experience the diversity of UC’s campus, Brad was thrilled that his student leader for the learning community, fourth-year-biomedical engineering major Pooja Kadambi, is from India.

Bradley Theilman at UC
Bradley Theilman at UC's Choose Ohio First reception

“We’ve had breakfast meetings and have talked with her about what it’s like in India and what brought her to UC,” Brad says. “I thought it was fascinating to discover the differences and the similarities among us.”

Theilman is also a member of the University Honors Program, which is comprised of the top five percent of UC’s undergraduate students. University Honors focuses on unique and challenging academic and hands-on experiences that reflect community engagement, global study, leadership, research and the creative arts.

He is also exploring social opportunities through UC’s many student organizations and currently serves on the health committee of the student organization Engineers Without Borders.

“I really like what that organization does as a whole, and as a major in biomedical engineering, the health committee is really attuned to my interests,” he says.

Brad says he heard about the Cincinnatus scholarship opportunities his senior year at Milford High School. High school seniors seeking scholarship opportunities should know that the highest-achieving students in their selected programs will be reviewed to compete in the next Cincinnatus Scholarship Competition.

To be considered, the university must receive their completed admissions application, along with test scores and transcripts, by Dec. 1.

Eligible students will either be offered a Century Award of up to $8,000 ($2,000 per year), or will be invited to compete on campus for

  • 10 Cincinnatus Awards totaling $80,000 ($20,000 per year)
  • 100 Founders Awards of $24,000 ($6,000 per year)
  • 600 University Awards of $14,000 ($3,500 per year)

The dates for competition are Feb. 5 or Feb. 12, 2010. Century-level award offers or competition invitations will be mailed between Dec. 15 and Dec. 31. Invitees must RSVP by Jan. 31, 2010, to be eligible for a scholarship award.

Brad recalls that he learned a great deal about the College of Engineering through his participation in Cincinnatus. He says he’s now very excited about exploring the opportunities in the field of biomedical engineering, but still plans to one day accomplish his lifetime goal of becoming an astronaut. Because Cincinnatus also recognizes the university’s commitment to service, Brad will perform 30 hours of community service a year as part of his scholarship commitment.

As the nation works to fuel passion in the STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medicine) fields for pre-college students, Brad says the key to success is discovering how the fields are all related. “They all have parts that are the same between each discipline, so if you find the common pieces in each of them, you’ll do well in every single one.”

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