Competing at the Highest Level

Ohio University

The names roll off the tongues of those in academia: Marshall, Jack Kent Cooke, Truman and Udall. These prestigious scholarships are awarded to the nation’s best and brightest. And, thanks to the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards at Ohio University, many are being granted to OU students.

“Our office started six years ago and since that time has experienced huge growth,” says director Ann Brown. “After a few people earned these awards, others recognized that Ohio University students were competing favorably against others from across the country. People started seeing each other in a new way.”

This year, Ohio University students won 37 nationally competitive awards, more than any other university in the state.

Alethea Kimmel-Guy, a recent OU graduate from South Euclid who majored in environmental geography, won the Udall Scholarship last year. This year she won the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship, entitling her to up to six years of support amounting to $50,000 per year for graduate school. She plans to attend the University of London for her master’s degree and Arizona State for her Ph.D.

“Awards like this build confidence,” Brown says. “They help students articulate what they want to do with their lives. It is our role, in this office, to help them achieve those goals.”

Kimmel-Guy is by no means alone. Annie Valente of Solon, an OU senior majoring in biological sciences with a minor in Spanish, earned the Truman Scholarship. She hopes to pursue a career in international public health.

Giorgina Ramirez, a Cleveland resident, won both the David L. Boren and Freeman Asia awards. A senior studying most of this year in Japan, she is majoring in international studies with a minor in Japanese.

“The key is our faculty members,” Brown adds. “They help by mentoring, advising, researching and connecting students with people and organizations. They’re fabulous.”

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