One first-generation student found her “home” at UC's College of Nursing

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What does Naiah Mensah, NUR ’24, love about UC? Let her count the ways.

I love college and I love UC specifically.

Naiah Mensah '24

“Where do I begin?” she says, with a big, glowing smile. “I’m so obsessed with it. It’s become my entire personality. I love college and I love UC specifically. I love the nursing program; I love all the professors, the doctors, the nurses, the teachers, who pour into me ... I love that UC provides experience-based learning. I’ve gained so much from labs ... I love Greek Life. I love how educated these women are ... Campus Rec Center? I get to work out physically and mentally. I love everything about UC. Literally everything is perfect. I’m so serious.”

Naiah is a first-generation college student from New Albany, Ind., who has dreamed of a career in healthcare from the time she was five years old. A career in pediatric nursing will blend her love of children with her nurturing personality, one that shimmers with kindness and joy.

Naiah visited other universities, but UC was the place that “felt like home.” Indeed, Naiah has fit right in. She joined a sorority and is flourishing in iLEAD, a College of Nursing mentoring program that officially launched in 2018. Naiah will be an iLEAD mentor to other incoming first-year students this year.

“iLEAD is so special to me, and I’m really excited to take on a mentoring role,” Naiah says. “Because I’ve been given so much by my iLEAD mentors. I can see what they’ve put into me, and so I’m excited to carry that torch and pour myself into other students, too. I love giving advice, being there for people.”

UC scholarships change lives

Naiah’s multiple scholarships have played an important role, allowing her to gain experience while triggering “bountiful opportunities” she might not have received otherwise. 

She’s not sure that words can do justice to the appreciation she feels. “You can say thank you all day long, but words sometimes don’t mean that much,” she says. “But if you can see what a difference that scholarship has made in someone’s life — when they put in the time and effort and use that scholarship for good — it’s enormous.” 

Naiah plans to pursue a master’s of nursing following graduation, then work in pediatrics. “I think I want to work at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center,” she says. “I’m going to try to get a job there this summer, because I love kids, I love nursing. It’s a perfect combination of the two things that I’m most passionate about. So I’m going to do that; I’m claiming it now.”

After working locally for a few years, Naiah wants to work as a traveling nurse in Hawaii, traveling from island to island. “I want to do that for a while,” she says, flashing another broad smile.  

Wherever she goes, whatever she does, Naiah will take her UC education — and her glowing personality — with her. “I’ve had so much experience already, and I’m only going into my second year,” she observes. “I’ve learned so much about the human body, about the mind. I’ve learned so much about myself and what I can do. It’s awesome.”

To support Naiah and other UC College of Nursing students like her, please visit the College of Nursing's giving website.

Learn more about UC students in need and ways you can support them. 

Headshot of Jamie Muenzer, DAAP '11

Jamie Muenzer, DAAP '11

Director of Annual Giving