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UC|21 Scholarship Recipient Exemplifies UC’s Brightest Freshman Class

Cirrocco Powell, a graduate of Cincinnati Public Schools, is also among the 67 UC freshmen who were high-school valedictorians.

Date: 9/29/2008
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
Cirrocco Powell of Madisonville is one of the University of Cincinnati’s 44 freshmen to be awarded a UC|21 Scholarship for National Merit and National Achievement Finalists. In combination with other UC scholarships and awards, the UC|21 Scholarship meets in-state tuition and campus lodging – a value of $60,000 over four years.
Cirrocco Powell
Cirrocco Powell

Powell, last spring’s valedictorian of Cincinnati Public’s Withrow International High School, was honored with the scholarship as a result of becoming a finalist for the National Achievement Scholarship Program, a program sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation that recognizes outstanding African-American high-school students. The UC|21 Scholarship also provides for a one-time award of $1,500 to purchase a computer (which Powell intends to do), support a study abroad trip or fund undergraduate research. Scholarship recipients are automatically invited to the University Honors Program for academically talented UC students.

In addition to exemplifying UC’s brightest freshman class, Powell, 17, is among the more than 330 CPS grads entering UC this fall, up from 268 last fall. She earned an international baccalaureate diploma from Withrow International High School, a rigorous program of study that is described as meeting the highest standards required of any high-school student in the world. Powell is majoring in UC’s top-ranked architecture program.

“I did a lot of research about UC, and from talking with other graduates, I realized that UC was not just this little hometown school,” Powell says. “After talking with administrators and touring the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), I knew I really wanted to come here.”

Women in Engineering Camp
Women in Engineering Camp

Powell had also explored experiences at UC for high-school students, participating in the Women in Engineering Camp after completing her junior year in high school. But she says she was more drawn to the art fields, and architecture seemed to be the right fit for her future studies. “I like the idea that something I create will be standing for other people to see over the next 50 years or so,” she says with a laugh. Powell is also an award-winning writer, a recipient of the Annual Day Bequest Award from the Mercantile Library as well as the Wellesley College Book Award.

As valedictorian last spring, Powell says her message to fellow graduates was for students to now take responsibility and take control of the direction of their own lives. She adds that her father, Steven Powell, has “been her center since forever,” and made the tough decisions when she was entered into a gifted and talented program in elementary school. Now, she says she’s looking forward to finding her own niche among the academically talented students at UC.


“Now that we have graduated, we have to make our own decisions on what to do next,” she says. “I’m looking forward to what’s ahead at UC.”


UC|21 Scholarship for National Merit and National Achievement Finalists

UC Scholarship Information

UC Student Financial Aid