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PROFILE: Cincinnatus Scholar Says UC Was Her Top Choice

Candice Leavell was awarded a full $60,000 scholarship to UC, but she says before she ever received the news, she knew she was on her way to Cincinnati.

Date: 11/17/2003 8:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Andrew Higley
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Candice Leavell

Candice Leavell says the University of Cincinnati was her top choice even before she won a full $60,000 Cincinnatus scholarship award to UC. The Jeffersonville, Ind. student knew she wanted to go to pharmacy school, and she wanted to stay close to home. UC fit the bill, but she discovered even more opportunities when she came to campus for a visit.

“I attended one of UC’s Images of Color programs, and that’s when I really got interested in the school. I went to a predominantly white high school and there were maybe four other black people in my class. So, learning about UC’s diversity when we attended the Images of Color program, I knew I would have a unique cultural experience coming here.”

Candice says it was during that visit that she kept hearing the word ‘Cincinnatus.’ “They told me it was a great scholarship opportunity and I was just hoping to get invited to the competition. I received the invitation shortly after I applied to UC.”

The Cincinnatus scholarship competition offers more of a challenge than just listing the student’s academic and personal achievements. Candice was one of 1,579 students to head to campus last winter to meet and compete with her high-achieving peers from around the nation. Academics, leadership and dedication to service are all considered in the awards competition. UC’s Cincinnatus scholars perform 30 hours of community service each year as part of their scholarship commitment.

“I really didn’t think that I would win a full scholarship. I just was looking forward to meeting people and to getting some scholarship money, because everyone who’s invited wins some money.”

Candice Leavell

As it turns out, Candice became one of the top finalists and was invited back to campus to be interviewed by a UC committee that selected the top winners. Candice was one of the full Cincinnatus award recipients selected last spring. Her full four-year Cincinnatus award will cover her tuition, fees, room, board and a book allowance.

This standout student is now settling into the UC experience. An only child, she says at first, “it was a little weird leaving home, because it was just me and my mom. But we have buddy talk on our cell phones, so we can talk any time of the day!”

Candice is also a UC Honors Scholar and lives on the Honors floor in Daniels Hall. She was the 2003 valedictorian of Our Lady of Providence High School, was vice president of her senior high school class and was editor of her high school year book. She says it was her involvement in the Black Achievers organization that showed her the importance of serving the community.

As a result, she has worked to educate others about the importance of organ donation, tutored children at an inner-city school where her mother works and was active in service programs at her church.

As this year’s high school seniors gear up for Cincinnatus VIII, Candice suggests that they just be themselves. “Don’t try to study or anything. Just jump in and get involved. Be open-minded, take everything in and network!”

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