CPS grad finds ‘UC makes dreams come true’
Student shadows physicians, balances studies and sports while still finding time for Marvel’s antics
Benya Coleman never gets tired of the well wishes and she’s still a bit teary-eyed.
The newly-minted high school graduate was one of 10 students awarded the University of Cincinnati’s Marian Spencer Scholarship created to recognize high-achieving students in Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS). Coleman, a student at nationally accredited and STEM-certified Hughes STEM High School, was caught by surprise with the announcement at a school gathering earlier this year.
“I always hear congratulations from strangers, teachers and co-workers,” says Coleman. “It means a lot to see people in the community showing love. People always tell me how lucky I am and I agree.”
Coleman doesn’t bring it up to strangers or even family or friends because she doesn’t want to seem like “I’m bragging and I am not,” says Coleman. “This is just such good news, it’s hard not to share. I think to myself, ‘If they haven’t seen it anywhere then maybe I shouldn’t bring up,’ but if I’m asked about scholarships or what college, I am going to reply with ‘I got a full ride to UC!’”
Coleman graduated from Hughes STEM HIgh School Tuesday, May 17, at a ceremony at UC's Fifth Third Arena. She plans to study medical sciences and has been admitted into the UC College of Medicine. Coleman has wanted to be an obstetrician for years.
The Marian Spencer Scholarship is made possible thanks to an investment of $6 million — the result of a gift from UC alumnus and venture capitalist Jim Goetz and university matching funds — and will allow 10 CPS students a year to receive full tuition, room and board scholarships and other opportunities. The first 10 Spencer Scholars will enroll in fall 2022, and by 2023 the program will include at least one student from each of the 18 high schools within CPS.
The scholarship honors Cincinnati civil rights icon and UC alumna Marian Spencer, who was instrumental in desegregating Cincinnati’s Coney Island as well as Cincinnati Public Schools. Spencer went on to become the first African American woman elected to Cincinnati City Council in 1983. As a Black student in the late 1930s and early 1940s, she wasn't permitted to live in a dorm on UC’s campus. Today, there is a residence hall that bears her name, opened in 2018. The Marian Spencer Scholars will form a living-learning community housed together in the residence hall.
Coleman says the scholarship announcement has just made her work harder in school and not disappoint her family. She is employed at a Cincinnati hospital as part of a school-to-work program. “I enjoy being in a hospital environment,” says Coleman. “It’s very rare to graduate high school with two years of hospital experience in eight different departments.”
She also finds time to stay active in sports, playing volleyball and softball and has a weekend job at a restaurant to make extra money.
“I use my free time, whenever I get some, to watch thriller movies and to try and remake foods off of TikTok,” says Colemen. “I also enjoy remaking movie scenes from my favorite movies. I like the movies 'The Book of Life,' 'The Long Kiss Goodnight,' “'Turning Red,' 'The Book of Henry,' 'Dreamgirls' and I love the TV show “'Law and Order.'
“I did want to write, direct and act in movies when I was younger,” says Coleman. “I’m also a really big Marvel fan, I can talk about Marvel for hours and rewatch all the movies.”
After Coleman’s high school graduation, she plans to continue working during the summer, but also try to find time for some fun before UC classes begin. She’s also excited about the chance to shadow medical professionals at a hospital in New York, attend a wedding in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and to get a driver’s license.
“I’m so excited to start UC this fall,” says Coleman. “I have nothing but love and thanks to the entire UC community. I don’t think they understand how they have changed my life for the better. UC makes dreams come true.”
Become a Bearcat
Whether you’re a first-generation student or from a family of Bearcats, UC is proud to support you at every step along your journey. We want to make sure you succeed — and feel right at home.
Cincinnati Edition: U.S. joins a growing number of governments...
March 24, 2023
TikTok has 1.5 million users in the United States, and is currently under review by the U.S. congress. The Chinese company has been accused of aggregating data for nefarious purposes, as it is ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. Cyber security expert Richard Harknett was a guest speaker on "Cincinnati Edition" to discuss measures that might be, or should be, taken to protect Americans privacy and national security
Inspiring others as a UC NEXT Innovation Scholar
March 23, 2023
A Latina student at University of Cincinnati is paving the way for future generations by breaking cycles. Being the first in her family to attend college came with a myriad of challenging experiences for Yulia Gimena Martinez, a student at the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS).
UC Clermont women’s basketball wins national championship
March 23, 2023
The UC Clermont women’s basketball team has claimed the 2023 Small College Division II National Championship for the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.