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Cincinnatus Scholar Welcomes Sister to Next Competition

UC freshman Erica Nuesse is the first student in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services to receive a full Cincinnatus scholarship to UC. In February, her younger sister, Jaclyn, will come to campus to take part in UC’s unique scholarship competition.

Date: 1/8/2007
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Student Financial Aid
UC ingot Erica Nuesse’s volunteer service in high school got her started on the pathway to her dreams – teaching children with special needs.

Erica Nuesse

The 18-year-old special education major and Honors Scholar from Fayetteville, Ohio is the first student representing the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) to be awarded a full $76,000 Cincinnatus Scholarship to pay for tuition, fees, room and board and books. When Erica becomes one of 400 Cincinnatus Scholars to volunteer at the 11th annual competition on Feb. 10, she’ll also be wishing the best for her sister, Jaclyn, a Fayetteville-Perry High School senior who will be among thousands of students competing for more than $18 million in scholarship awards. The two sisters were born 364 days apart, just one day short of a year.

UC’s Cincinnatus Scholarship competition has brought students from around the nation as well as the world to campus to compete in a day of essay and leadership exercises. Invitations to the competition are mailed to high school seniors who applied to UC and are academically qualified for competition based on high school rank, ACT or SAT scores. To be invited, high school seniors must submit all materials to UC’s Office of Admissions no later than Jan. 15.

Everyone who competes goes home a winner, but only 10 of them, like Erica, merit the full $76,000 award, which amounts to tuition, room, board and a book allowance for four years. Students are not only considered for their academic and leadership ability, but also for their commitment to service – a commitment that reflects UC|21 values emphasizing public engagement. Cincinnatus Scholars perform 30 hours of community service per year as part of their scholarship commitment. That means UC’s 3,036 Cincinnatus Scholars that are currently enrolled will contribute more than 91,080 hours of service over the school year – some volunteering beyond their scholarship requirement.

It was that dedication to volunteering that led Erica to her future career. During her senior year in high school as a member of the National Honor Society, she applied to volunteer at her high school’s classroom for students with multiple disabilities, where she became a mentor to a 14-year-old boy with autism. “I loved working in that class so much, I never missed a day my entire senior year,” she says. “Even if I had a free period, I would ask if I could volunteer in the classroom. Now, my sister is volunteering there.”

As Erica considered where to go to college, she says she was impressed with UC’s spectacular campus as well as a college that was celebrating a century of preparing future teachers. CECH is also building a strong tradition of hosting events specifically for freshmen each quarter, events that include sharing an informal meal with faculty and staff, such as the spaghetti luncheon at the start of fall quarter and a chili-and-cornbread luncheon that took place shortly before Thanksgiving. “We want the freshmen as well as all of our students to get to know the college’s faculty and staff and build those personal connections that provide the individual support for their academic success,” says Nelson Vincent, CECH associate dean.

”The professors here have always emphasized that their door is always open, and I really like that. It’s so nice to know that if I need help, my professors are there,” Erica says.

Coming to a large university from a small town, Erica says she expected her freshman experience to be overwhelming at first, but says she found that UC “feels like a big family. There’s a lot of pride.”

Sister Jaclyn is leaning toward a career in the field of plastic surgery, as a way to help people who have been disfigured in accidents and fires. Erica adds the whole family has become Bearcat fans. “We all went to the UC/Rutgers game and sat in the middle of the student section. I think my dad wants to go to UC!”

Her advice for Cincinnatus competitors? “Have fun! I really liked getting the chance to meet people, and everybody was just as anxious as I was. But then, the coordinators emphasized that we were all good students, and that’s why we were here. This is a chance to meet the judges and let them learn about you and how you interact with other people.”

Cincinnatus Scholarship Web site

Scholarship and New Student Information: 513-556-2420

Cincinnatus e-mail address:

UC Student Financial Aid

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