High School, College: It's All The Same Success Story For Reinermans
Siblings Rob and Lauren Reinerman found college to their liking even while in high school and, as a result, graduated as two of the most accomplished students in the Class of 2004.
Date: 7/6/2004The University of Cincinnati was such a perfect fit for the Reinerman siblings, they couldn't wait to get here.
By: Carey Hoffman
Phone: (513) 556-1825
Photos By: Dottie Stover
Taking advantage of a special Post Secondary Enrollment Options program that allows students to complete their high school requirements by taking collegiate courses, Rob Reinerman began attending UC seven years ago at age 16. His sister Lauren followed suit, taking her first class at UC six years ago at age 14.
This week, they will both receive their bachelor's degrees as two of the most honored members of UC's graduating class of 2004, as well as students who have literally excelled out in front of their peers.
The Reinermans - both of whom are Oak Hills High School graduates - will have much to celebrate.
Rob took advantage of many of UC's most sought-after offerings, going through the College of Business' highly regarded Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS program and the UC co-op experience. Along the way, he established a reputation as one of the most active students on campus, which led to his selection as one of this year's Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence award winners.
Lauren has been a leader in numerous activities and organizations across campus, and has also benefited from early identification of research psychology as her area of academic interest, which has helped earn her uncommon credentials as an undergrad student as well as the honor of being this year's student speaker at the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences graduate recognition ceremony.
She will continue on at UC, putting her on track to earn her PhD in experimental psychology by the age of 23. Rob is headed to the University of Rochester, where he will pursue his MBA in marketing and competitive strategy on the road to landing a planned-for position with a high-tech firm.
Taking advantage of their opportunities as undergrads - very young undergrads - led to experiences far beyond what they expected.
"UC does have a lot of wonderful things to offer students. It's just a matter of looking and finding them," Lauren says. "You probably don't see that from the outside. That begins to change once you get in and just start to get involved with even one organization."
For Lauren - the youngest student to participate in UC's Post Secondary Enrollment Options program - that baseline experience came with the UC Marching Band. (When she was 15 years old and a high school sophomore, she was in the UC band and the Oak Hills High School band simultaneously). For Rob, it was his fraternity, Sigma Chi.
Rob took the first tentative steps towards the early start on his UC career during his junior year at Oak Hills, coming down to campus for one class. "You find out it takes a lot of work and dedication," he says. "You really have to be independent."
But soon it became clear it was the perfect option to increase the level of challenges he was facing. By his senior year of high school, he was on campus full-time. Even though he had acquired a significant amount of college credit by the end of that year, he took a look at the UC College of Business' Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS program as a means of reaching his goals in building a business career, and became so impressed that he decided to start at the beginning of the freshman track with his 26 fellow classmates who will graduate as Honors-PLUS scholars this year.
"I applied to other schools as well, but Honors-PLUS felt so right. I still have yet to hear of anything like it anywhere else in the country. Once I heard what the program had to offer, my choice was made," Rob said.
Rob took advantage of the academic head-start he had given himself to double-major in Operations Management and Information Systems while fully participating in many other aspects of the college experience. Through Honors-PLUS, he became part of an exceptional group of students and he benefitted through outstanding co-op experiences with a small business, the Plastic Moldings Co., and with a multinational corporation, Convergys. He became vice president of Sigma Chi and served as a UC Student Government Senator. He helped lead numerous other campus organizations and was even UC's 2003 Homecoming King.
In the community, he focused on community outreach, leading a character-building program called Winners Walk Tall for underprivileged school children and joining in Cincinnati's Community-Oriented Policing Program in the inner-city Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.
"One thing that impresses me most about Rob is that while many students are highly motivated early on in college and seem to lose interest over time, Rob is the exact opposite," says Jeri Ricketts, director of the Linder Honors-PLUS program. "He chose his activities carefully, and has become increasingly active over time... This is proof to me that Rob's involvement has not been self-interested or performed primarily as a resume builder, but is an outgrowth of his sincere desire to give back to the university and the community."
"In terms of breadth, I managed to be involved in a broad spectrum of things," Rob says, "but in terms of commitment, you have to be involved enough to make a difference. I didn't want to be just a `member' in the things I was committing to."
At the same time Rob was a senior in high school, Lauren was a freshman at Oak Hills. Having seen how her brother's career was positively impacted by his early start at UC, she wasted no time following the path he blazed, taking her first college class that year.
By her sophomore year of high school, she was taking courses at UC full-time, juggling the social aspects of being a 15-year-old Oak Hills student (she recalls attending eight high school Homecoming dances and proms during that year alone) with the strange existence of being an adolescent immersed in a world of young adults. She remembers being asked out loud that year in Spanish class by her teacher how old she was, and hesitating on what her answer should be. When she told the truth, several classmates were dumbfounded.
Lauren knew early on she was interested in the sciences, and was accepted into Connections, a UC program that offers pre-admission to the UC College of Medicine to undergraduates who maintain high standards throughout their academic careers. But early on the road to becoming a doctor, she was introduced to psychology and, by the end of her sophomore year at UC, knew that was what she truly was meant to pursue. She changed her academic path to a double-major in Psychology and Communication.
Working in the lab of one of UC's most accomplished researchers, Joel Warm, Lauren distinguished herself. Not only did she maintain a 4.0 GPA in her psychology courses, she became an integral part of the research team, performing at a level Warm equates to a first- or second-year grad student. He praised her performance in his Research Methods course as putting her "within the upper one percent of more than 6,500 students whom I have taught in this course in my 36 years at the University of Cincinnati."
Lauren worked on a project involving hemispheric brain imaging which resulted in her making a presentation to researchers from the Army Medical Research and Development Command Center. As a result of the visit, Warm's lab ended up receiving a $700,000 research grant. She also had the rare distinction for an undergrad of earning co-author status on a research paper that was presented this spring at the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology's annual conference. She has already begun to investigate areas of her graduate research, which will focus on vigilance and hemispheric brain imaging using a transcranial Doppler and oximeter.
Outside of academics, Lauren served as president of UC's chapter of the Golden Key International Honor Society and was the scholarship officer of Theta Phi Alpha National Sorority, which resulted in membership in Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society.
The key lesson Lauren learned from getting on the academic fast-track? "You learn to prioritize."
"We probably could have graduated earlier," Rob says of the choices he and his sister made. "But we both decided to pick up double-majors. Because of the choices we made, we had the leeway to make this a true learning experience."