Current Ridley Scholars

Ridley Scholarship Recipients

Class of 2017


Kiera Givens, Holland-Blackburn Scholar

I am a fourth year Echols and Ridley Holland-Blackburn Scholar from Takoma Park, Maryland where I attended the International Baccalaureate Program at Richard Montgomery High School. At UVa, I am double majoring in Environmental Sciences and Anthropology. This past summer, I conducted research on oyster filtration at the University of Maryland Horn Point Laboratory, and am continuing that research this year as part of my senior thesis. Outside of class, I play for Hydra, the Women’s Club Ultimate Frisbee Team, and serve as a tour guide for the University Guide Service. Additionally, I am acting as the assistant stage manager for the Black Monologues this fall, and continuing to mentor advisees from the OAAA Peer Advisor Program. Upon graduation, I hope to work for a year and then attend graduate school in Marine Science and Marine Policy.


ridley16008testJacob Uskavitch, Inaugural Sylvia V. Terry Scholar & Paige Pre-Medical Scholar

I am a fourth year Echols Scholar, Sylvia V. Terry Scholar, and Paige Pre-Medical Scholar, pursuing a degree in Chemistry and African-American & African Studies. I attended Hume-Fogg High School in Nashville, TN. As an Office of African-American Affairs Peer Advisor, I aid in the transition of incoming African-American students. I am the President of the Iota Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., in which we encourage the youth to pursue higher education as we mentor at a local elementary school. Upon graduation, I plan on attending medical school as well as graduate study in the field of biomedical informatics, where I hope to improve the efficiency of health care through the implementation of future clinically operative technology.




ridley16023testDominique Willis, Gregory Ledford Scholar

I am a Fourth Year Gregory Ledford Ridley Scholar from Baltimore, Maryland. I study at the McIntire School of Commerce where I concentrate in Finance. I am also a Cognitive Science major, concentrating in Cognitive Psychology. During my time at UVA, I have participated in the costume department of First Year Players, volunteered at a local preschool through Madison House, acted as a DJ on WXTJ student radio station, and worked at Morven Farm. In the fall semester of my Second Year I had the privilege of studying abroad on Semester at Sea, and after my third year studied abroad for three weeks in China learning about Chinese economics, business, and culture. Additionally, I’ve interned at Facebook the past two summers on the Global Marketing Solutions team. In regards to my future professional pursuits, I hope to either intersect business and technology or finance and real estate.



Class of 2018

ridley16039testTyler Ambrose, Ridley Flagship Scholar

I am a Third Year Echols and Ridley Scholar from Roanoke, Virginia, where I attended William Fleming High School and the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School. I am a Politics Honors major and History minor. Over the past summer, I interned with the Virginia Office of the Attorney General. On Grounds, I am the Senior Resident of Woody-Cauthen and Co-Chair of the Academic and Career Development Committee of the Black Student Alliance. I also serve as the Director of Book Club for the Black Male Initiative. Upon graduation in 2018, I plan to pursue a law degree.



ridley16036testBianca Decatur, Holland-Blackburn Scholar

I am a Third Year Echols and Holland Blackburn Scholar from Durham, North Carolina, where I attended Northern Durham High School. I am currently pursuing a double major in Spanish and Cognitive Science. I spent my summer interning with Vice President Lampkin’s office through the Meriwether Lewis Institute for Citizen Leadership. I am heavily involved in the Black Women’s initiative, serve as the current Outreach Chair for the University Guide Service, and plan to continue working with the Meriwether Institute for the next two years. I also work in the newly renovated Rotunda as a Student Ambassador.




ridley16016testStephanie Durham, Ridley Flagship Scholar

I was raised in McLean, Virginia, and am a third year College Science, Echols, and Ridley Scholar pursuing a double major in Environmental Science and Physics. I am a mentor for first year students through the Society of Physics Students, as well as a member of the Green Corner Committee of Green Grounds, which aims to implement sustainable practices in restaurants on The Corner. More generally, I am the secretary of Green Grounds. During my spring break, I participated in a student-run service project and am leading a housing and environmental conservation trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina this coming spring. I stayed in Charlottesville this summer to research the diurnal and seasonal variability of winds, temperature, and turbulence in the Shenandoah Mountains. I also started as a DJ for WXTJ, UVa’s student radio. I am continuing both these activities during the upcoming year. 


ridley16029testMicah Watson, Holland-Blackburn Scholar

I am a Third-Year Holland Blackburn Scholar hailing from Wichita, Kansas. I am majoring in African-American and African Studies and Drama with an intended minor in Studio Art, concentrating in Film. A playwright, director, and filmmaker, I am working towards a career in the film and television industry, particularly as a screenwriter. Additionally, I am a Miller Arts and Echols Scholar. Outside of my coursework, I am the producer and director of The Black Monologues, the president of The Paul Robeson Players, and the Co-Worship Leader for OneWay InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.




ridley16006testJasmine Zollar, Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar

I am a Third Year Echols and Ridley Scholar from Mechanicsville, Virginia. I am double majoring in Global Development Studies and African-American and African Studies. Over the summer, I participated in the Meriwether Lewis Institute for Citizen Leadership at the University. On Grounds, I serve as a Resident Advisor (RA), the Programs Chair of the Kappa Rho Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, a Program Director at Madison House for Cavs in the Classroom, among other things. Upon graduation in 2018, I hope to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector.




Class of 2019

Triston Smith, Ridley Flagship Scholar

I am a second year Ridley and Echols Scholar from Keysville, Virginia. I intend to double major in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and either Neuroscience or Cognitive Science. Over the summer I interned as a photographer for Conviva Brazil(/Brasil), a growing Nongovernmental Organization focused on education in and around favelas in Jurunas, Belém in the Brazilian state of Pará. This year I will be an intern with the Gender Violence and Social Change group at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center, and I will assist Wendy J. Lynch in her research on addiction-related neurobiological changes.




 ridley16045testMichael Thompson, Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar

I am a Second Year Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar from Midlothian, Virginia. I am a graduate of the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in the City of Richmond. In high school I was an officer in the Red Cross Club and also worked closely with the Youth Philanthropy Project for two years. I have participated in the Bank of America Student Leaders program, where I interned at the Midlothian YMCA and spent a week in Washington, D.C., during which I visited Capitol Hill and spoke with several Virginia legislators. I am planning to major in biomedical engineering with an engineering business minor.





Class of 2020



Micah Harris, Ridley Reid Scholar

I am a First Year Ridley Reid and Rodman Scholar. I’m from Stafford, VA, and am a graduate of Stafford High School and the Commonwealth Governor’s School program. In high school I was a two-year Varsity basketball Captain, as well as an all-conference athlete, with an honorable mention for all-area. I was one of the devotion leaders of our school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and was a member of the National Honor Society and Youth in Philanthropy. I was also a Wendy’s High School Heisman State Finalist. I plan to major in Electrical Engineering at UVA and am excited to get involved in the UVA community.





Christina Johnson, Holland-Blackburn Scholar

I am a First Year Holland Blackburn Scholar from South Orange, New Jersey. I attended Columbia High School and helped provide local and offshore communities with free dental services as the Junior Board President of a grassroots charity named KinderSmile Foundation. At the University of Virginia, I plan to major in Nursing and I hope to pursue my passion for philanthropy by starting a KinderSmile club and participating in Diversity in Nursing for a Better Community (DNBC). Upon graduation, as a nurse, I will strive to care for patients on a personal level and ensure that they are being treated with the utmost medical and emotional care.




ridley16003testSydney Williams, Ridley Flagship Scholar

I am a first year Ridley, University Achievement, College Science, Echols, UNCF STEM Scholar, and Ron Brown Captain from Haymarket, Virginia, where I attended The Governor’s School at Innovation Park and Battlefield High School. During the summer of 2015, I conducted cancer research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York as a part of the Summer Research Experience in Cancer Science.  I was awarded “Best Poster Presentation” for my work on the role of androgen receptor in the survival of breast cancer cells. In high school, I was a Varsity Cheerleader and Cheer Captain. I was also a member of National Honors Society, National Science Honors Society, and Medical Club. I have also competed in numerous artcompetitions and displayed my work in exhibitions and galleries. At UVA, I plan on majoring in either Biochemistry or Human Biology. Upon graduation, I plan to attend medical school.