McMicken College of Arts & SciencesUniversity of Cincinnati

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Grassroots Efforts Pay Off for Environmental Studies/Biology Major

Fourth-year environmental studies/biology major Ninnia V. Lescano is one of 15 students to receive a scholarship through Ohio EPA's Environmental Education Fund.

Date: 7/27/2006
By: Britt Kennerly
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Fourth-year environmental studies/biology major Ninnia V. Lescano is one of 15 students to receive a scholarship through Ohio EPA's Environmental Education Fund.

She and other awardees all environmental science and engineering majors at four-year Ohio colleges and universities each earned a $2,500 scholarship for the 2006-2007 school year.

Recipients of OEEF awards must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0. They are chosen based on criteria including original research, scholarship, employment, and volunteering; activity in non-athletic, extra-curricular activities and organizations; an aptitude for communication; and recommendations from education and environmental professionals.

Lescano, a Cincinnati native, said while she greatly appreciates the money, "the best part for me was the recognition from these institutions." She hopes the OEEF scholarship will encourage more students to pursue careers in the relatively new field of environmental studies/science.

"Most of the work in the environmental field is done at the grassroots level by many dedicated and passionate individuals," she said. "Much of this work is behind the scenes with long hours, and often goes unrecognized.

"Scholarships like this give us a chance to 'show off' our accomplishments."

Lescano became interested in environmental studies while a student at Walnut Hills High School. She's a member and volunteer coordinator of the campus environmental group LEAP, Leaders for Environmental Awareness and Protection, a campus Group of the Year winner.

A Darwin T. Turner scholar, post-graduation, Lescano will head to graduate school or take a year off to work for an environmental nonprofit group.

She is one of seven UC environmental studies majors to receive the award since its inception in 2000. That puts the university at No. 3 in the state in the number of scholarships awarded, said Eric Maurer, director of the Center for Environmental Studies.

The program was established in recognition of the fact there was a growing shortage of those trained in environmentally related fields, he said.

"Ninnia is exactly the kind of student they are looking to support in this scholarship program," Maurer said.

"She greatly exceeds the minimum academic performance the requirement is greater than a 3.0 and she has a 3.8. Not only that, she has demonstrated a commitment to the environment through research experiences, extracurricular activities and volunteer experiences."

A total of $37,500 was awarded for OEEF scholarships this year. Since the program began in 1999, $316,600 in scholarships has been awarded statewide to 131 students at 40 different Ohio colleges and universities. The scholarship program is administered by The Ohio Academy of Science.

The next application deadline for scholarships is June 1. For information, call the Ohio Environmental Education Fund at (614) 644-2873 or go to http://www.epa.state.oh.us/oeef/.


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