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UC Scholarship Program Aims to Grow STEMM Graduates

Applications for scholarship consideration for next fall’s freshmen are due by Dec. 15.

Date: 11/10/2008
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
The University of Cincinnati made Naomi Fitter of Milford an offer she couldn’t refuse. Her award from the UC Choose Ohio First Scholarship program – combined with other scholarship money from the state, Cincinnatus, UC|21 scholarship program and the Clair Hulley Scholarship awarded by the UC Department of Mechanical Engineering – paid for Fitter’s education, books, room and board, with the award of the Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program sealing the deal shortly before classes got underway this fall.
Naomi Fitter

The scholarships are funded from a UC proposal awarded nearly $4.3 million last spring from the state of Ohio’s new Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program, the state’s model for attracting, retaining and graduating students into the high-demand disciplines of science, technology, engineering, math and medicine (STEMM), as well as STEMM education to prepare future leaders in the fields.

Fitter, a first-year mechanical engineering major, was the first UC student awarded the new scholarship, which amounts to about $4,100 per academic quarter and is renewable over four years, provided the student completes the requirements of the scholarship and the requirements of his or her academic program.

Students are selected for the scholarship based on information provided from their application to UC. They also must be an Ohio resident. The program’s goal is to keep in Ohio the state’s talented students that are pursuing STEMM fields, for their education as well as their careers.

“I was seriously considering attending a school out of state, but UC provided the best financial package,” Fitter says. “I was notified about the STEMM scholarship on the very last day I could enroll for classes.

“Plus, I liked the idea of co-op and the ACCEND program at UC, where I can earn my bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering in five years while participating in UC’s cooperative education program,” Fitter says.

“Our objective regarding the UC Choose Ohio First Scholarship program is to provide an innovative learning environment, emphasizing UC’s academic excellence, support and guidance for our students and professional development,” says Caroline Miller, senior associate vice president and associate provost for enrollment management.”

The scholarship program also aims to diversify the field of engineering and also increase by 20 percent the number of freshmen entering math and science disciplines in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), with targeted increases in the percentages of women and underrepresented minorities in both engineering and A&S STEMM disciplines. Fitter, a graduate of Milford High School, says she always liked math and science, especially physics, but recalls that she was one of the few females in her advanced math classes.

“The ratio of guys to girls in my high-school classes almost encouraged me, because I’ll never back down from a challenge,” she says.


Fitter took on a UC challenge right away, joining the Bearcat Band and memorizing the music and the band choreography in quick turnaround time to entertain fans during football season. She played in marching band through all four years of high school and is now one of UC’s two full marimba players in the percussion section. She says she’s looking into joining more student engineering organizations to make valuable study connections. Fitter is also in the University Honors Program for academically talented students, and is living on an honors floor in Daniels Hall.

As for how future UC students interested in STEMM careers can stay on track for college, Fitter’s advice: “Don’t procrastinate. Stay on top of your work and you’ll be successful.

“I’m feeling good about college,” she says.

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