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UC Announces Mr. and Miss Kuamka 2014

The announcement is the highlight of UCís annual Red, Black, Green and Gold Ball.

Date: 1/13/2014 2:20:00 PM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Bryan Hatcher
University of Cincinnati students Brian Edward Barney, of South Holland, Ill., and Tiffany Shannel Peterson, of Forest Park in Cincinnati, are the newly honored Mr. and Miss Kuamka 2014. The winners were announced at UCís 15th annual Red, Black, Green and Gold Ball, which was held Jan. 11, in UCís Great Hall. The event culminated the African American Cultural and Resource Centerís (AACRC) Kuamka Week at UC.
Mr. and Miss Kuamka 2014
Mr. and Miss Kuamka 2014

Barney and Peterson were selected by 17 judges from among 12 contestants during an AACRC competition that involved an essay contest, interview process, impromptu question-and-answer session and talent competition. Both will receive a $200 book scholarship from the AACRC and free participation in the AACRCís spring break tour of historically African American colleges and universities.

Brian Edward Barney is a 21-year-old health sciences/pre-physical therapy major and full Cincinnatus Scholarship recipient who is active in Menís Track and Field, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, the UC Career Development Centerís ADVANCE minority student professional development program, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Sigma Menís Honorary and Collegiate 100 Black Menís Honorary. He is interested in achieving a doctoral degree in physical therapy, and wants to pursue a career working with a collegiate or professional sports team.

Mr. and Miss Kuamka 2014

Tiffany Shanell Peterson is a 20-year-old marketing major and is the youngest of 14 children. She is active with the AACRCís Brothers and Sisters Excelling (BASE) program Ė a peer mentoring and role modeling program designed to aid in the human development and retention of UCís African American students. She is also vice president of Shades of You, a UC womenís student organization for women of color, to strengthen and promote sisterhood through mentoring, social development and community service. Peterson also serves as a Business Fellows mentor and is a student ambassador for UCís Darwin T. Turner Scholarship Program to promote academic success, foster diversity and build future leaders. Peterson plans to pursue her MBA and eventually wants to create a non-profit organization to empower women, particularly through higher education.

UCís African American Cultural and Resource Center first launched Kuamka in 1999. Kuamka is Swahili for ďin the beginning.Ē The AACRC developed Kuamka as a rite of passage celebration for the centerís first-year African American students in its Transitions program to support the universityís retention and graduation of African American students.

The first-year students in Transitions are matched to upper-class mentors and participate in weekly study tables, bi-weekly meetings, community service projects, mid-term evaluations, social activities, rap sessions and more.

Kuamka Week ends with the annual Red, Black, Green and Gold Ball and the crowning of Mr. and Miss Kuamka. The Mr. and Miss Kuamka competition is open to all of UCís African-American students.

At the end of the school year, the AACRC also celebrates Ushindi, which is Swahili for "Victory," to mark the achievements of students in the Transitions program.

The AACRC at UC first opened in September 1991 to create a welcoming environment for African-American students as they adjust to college life. The center reopened last January after undergoing six months of renovations totaling $325,000 that more than doubled the centerís original capacity.