- Western Hills University High School
Ten CPS Seniors Earn Full-Ride Scholarships to UC
Ten CPS seniors have earned a full ride to the University of Cincinnati (UC) by being awarded the prestigious Marian Spencer Scholarship.
Established in 2022 in honor of the late local civil rights activist, community leader and UC alumna Marian Spencer, the scholarship covers the full cost of attendance at UC including tuition, room and board and books. CPS seniors in the top 10 percent of their class were eligible to apply.
UC Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Jack Miner delivered the surprise announcements. Miner was joined by CPS and UC officials, the Bearcat mascot and members of the Bearcat Bands, and UC dance and cheer teams for some of the visits.
The Marian Spencer Scholars also will receive enhanced advising support, student success resources, career coaching, networking and mentoring opportunities with UC President Neville G. Pinto and other university leaders. The scholarship also provides a study abroad service trip to Tanzania, among other opportunities.
The Marian Spencer Scholarship recipients include:
Helen Dawit, Western Hills High School
Western Hills University High School senior Helen Dawit was one of the first to learn she is Bearcat Bound.
“This is life-changing,” Dawit said as she fought back tears. “I haven’t always had the easiest time. I don’t know what I would have done. I am grateful for Marian Spencer’s legacy. She is one of my role models and I hope to make a change in the world.”
Dawit volunteers at local churches and food pantries, serves as president of KEY Club, participates in Slam Poetry and served as athletics manager for several teams. Dawit also is a member of the Western Hills Safety Team, which advocates for student mental health and emotional intelligence.
Dawit plans to study political science through UC’s Law and Society program in the College of Arts and Sciences and, eventually, law, so that she can “speak up for others and make her family proud.”
Jaylen Green, Withrow University High School
Withrow University High School senior Jaylen Green plans to study computer science and information technology. He has been accepted into UC’s Engineering program through the College of Engineering and Applied Science.
Green regularly volunteers in the community through various activities, including food drives and fundraisers.
“UC is always where I’ve wanted to go,” Green said. “Receiving a full ride is the icing on the cake. I don’t have to worry about student loans. It took a lot of hard work. This is one of my top life milestones.”
Jamiah Mixon, Withrow University High School
On top of keeping up with classes, Withrow University High School senior Jamiah Mixon works up to 30 hours a week, is captain of the varsity volleyball team, and serves as a student ambassador and a member of the Withrow University High School of Business Pathway to Lindner College of Business program. She volunteered 70 hours at UC Medical Center last summer.
“UC was one of my top choices,” Mixon said. “It’s been a lot of hard work and dedication at school, on top of working a part-time job. I didn’t give up. I’m very proud of myself.”
With plans to attend the Lindner College of Business, Mixon will be the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years after high school graduation.
Kailei Brown, Woodward Career Technical High School
Woodward Career Technical High School senior Kailei Brown has been accepted into the Exploratory Studies program through the College of Arts and Sciences.
Brown wants “to grow her business and use her learnings to help other minority business owners.” She started her own nail business at 14 years old and earned first place in the Young Entrepreneurs of Color competition.
“It’s been hard, but worth it,” Brown said. “I’m grateful to have this opportunity. UC is close to home and close to my support system. I look forward to being a Bearcat as I figure out the path to my future.”
Armani Kelley, Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School
Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School senior Armani Kelley has a heart for giving back. She started a tutoring program to support students and makes blankets for cancer patients. Kelley says she’s extremely grateful to get a full ride to UC.
“It feels amazing. I’m proof that you should always work hard for what you want and never give up,” Kelly said.
Kelly also operates a hair and nail business. She plans to study pre-med and wants to go to medical school to become a general surgeon.
Uyen Dao, Walnut Hills High School
Walnut Hills High School senior Uyen Dao has a passion for science and serves as a UC lab intern. She is a first-generation Chinese immigrant who is an advocate for equality.
“Marian Spencer fought for equality, equity and diversity in Cincinnati,” Dao said. “I hope to continue to help spread her message.”
After school, Dao works at a nail salon to help support her family. She is also involved in the theatre program at Walnut Hills.
Dao plans to study chemistry at UC with the ultimate goal of going to medical school to become a doctor.
Joshua Lerma, Walnut Hills High School
Walnut Hills High School senior Joshua Lerma is ecstatic to be attending his first-choice college. He has a variety of interests, including jazz saxophone and bowling, where he earned first place on the JV team. Lerma is also the vice president of his Ohio Junior Roman Greek chapter.
Lerma plans to study civil engineering at UC which he says, “can let you do anything to change the world and make it better.”
“This means a lot to me. I hope to live up to Marian Spencer’s name,” Lerma said.
Amelia Tyson, Clark Montessori High School
Clark Montessori High School senior Amelia Tyson is a natural-born leader, especially when it comes to promoting positive body images. She created a Girls to Women Club, as well as a club focused on mental health as part of her senior project. Tyson also worked with Kenzie’s Closet to help some of her classmates in need with free prom dresses. Tyson is very active in sports, serving as captain of the soccer team. She is also a member of the bowling, softball and track teams, and has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten – all while holding two jobs.
“I’m really grateful that I got this opportunity and I get to do a lot more with my life than what I anticipated,” Tyson said.
Tyson plans to study to be a surgical technician.
Djeneba Camara, Gilbert A. Dater High School
Gilbert A. Dater High School senior Djeneba Camara holds a part-time job and is currently working to earn a STNA License . She’s involved in several school activities including track, Book Club, Girls to Women and Gardening Club, and is eager to give back by getting more involved in community service.
“I kept having dreams about getting the Marian Spencer Scholarship and thought it was a sign,” Camara said. “UC is a very inviting and diverse community and having this scholarship is going to help me push forward.”
Camara plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in UC’s Pre-Physician Assistant program and wants to be the first in her family to earn a college degree.
Sadie Smith, Oyler School
Oyler School senior Sadie Smith says attending UC is deep and personal to her. Smith’s sister, who passed away, wanted her to attend UC.
“This was her dream for me,” Smith said. “Going there for free makes it even bigger. It takes a big financial load off my family.”
Smith is very active at Oyler – serving on student council, the Local School Decision Making Committee and as Vice President of Community Service in her Jobs for Cincinnati Graduates class. Smith organizes tutoring for younger students and is working to host a blood drive.
She plans to study nursing and is especially interested in mental health.