Current Ridley Scholarship Recipients

Class of 2021

Liyon Afework
Alexandria, VA
Gregory Ledford Scholar

I am a McIntire student concentrating in finance and management with tracks in global commerce and real estate. Since entering UVA, I have interned as the school’s Community Development Intern, the Diaspora Intern for the Ethiopian Embassy, a Sales and Trading Summer Analyst for J.P. Morgan, the COVID-19 Relief Response Intern for the Salvation Army, and am now an Investment Banking Summer Analyst for Wells Fargo. I plan to establish my own self-sufficient nonprofit organization that will serve underrepresented communities similar to those I grew up in.

Rikia Freeman
Suffolk, VA
Hoel-Perkins Scholar

I am an aerospace engineering major born in Belleville, Illinois. Since my father was in the airforce, my family moved around to places like South Dakota and Las Vegas, and now reside in Suffolk, Virginia. I spend my time outside of the classroom training for half marathons, serving as the president of UVA’s chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, acting as Secretary and Publicity Chair of Marketing for the High Powered Rocketry Club at UVA and holding membership in UVA’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. After graduation, I will be working with spacecraft as a systems engineer.

Jolie Magenheimer
Leesburg, VA 
Ridley-Andrade Scholar

I am pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, with a Design Thinking concentration, and minoring in Sociology. At UVA, I serve as the co-chair for PULSE, an organization which facilitates discussions of identity. I have given tours through the University Guide Service and produced an admissions video about the black student experience. I continue to be involved with the Outreach Student Advisory Committee and the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students. This year, I am conducting research for the development of a new course which focuses on drawing through coding. I also serve as the Creative Design Intern for the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area. After graduation, I hope to continue working at the intersection of Design and Empathy.

Danielle Muriel
Virginia Beach, VA
Sylvia V. Terry Scholar

I study biology and women and gender studies on a pre-medical track, and am passionate about medicine and women’s liberation and empowerment. I am also passionate about the educational development of children and young adults like myself. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic this year, I will be serving as the Program Planning Chair of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council at UVA, and an executive board member of the Black Student Research Network, working to improve various aspects of Black student life at UVA. Despite COVID-19, I was able to continue my pre-med journey this summer by taking physics and virtual shadowing. Upon graduating in 2021, I plan to take a gap year to scribe before attending medical school.

Ja’Mel Reed
Middlesex, VA
Ridley-Bryce Scholar

I am studying Cognitive Science with a concentration in Linguistics, as well as Poetry through the Area Program for Poetry Writing within the English Department. On Grounds, I serve as a Peer Advisor for the Office of African-American Affairs; as well as a Tour Guide and Probationary Chair for the University Guide Service. Additionally, I am a member of the Culture of Respect Educators, serve on the Echols Advisory Committee, serve as one of the 2020-2021 Co-Chairs for UVA’s Housing and Residence Life, and act as a tour guide at Monticello throughout the year. Over the summer, I served as the student member for the Fall 2020 committee tasked with developing actionable plans regarding the return to grounds during the Covid-19 Pandemic, participated in L2K where I worked with other students leaders on impactful change within various organization on grounds when returning in light of Covid, served as student mentor for the Meriwether Lewis Institute, and worked within Housing and Residence Life developing new systems to foster community and safety within the Residence Halls and Residence Staff. Upon graduation, I plan to work for a number of years before returning to UVA to pursue a graduate degree.

Salem Zelalem
Burke, VA
Ridley Flagship Scholar

I am a double major in Economics and English (Global and Modern Studies, Distinguished Major Program), with a math minor. I have interned at BB&T Scott & Stringfellow, and I am currently a research assistant at the Darden Institute for Business in Society. On grounds, I am an Echols Ambassador and a two-time member of UVa’s College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) Team. I’m also heavily involved with Flux Poetry and Spoken Word, the only CIO on grounds dedicated to poetry, and I use that platform to help foster a welcoming environment for marginalized voices

Class of 2022

Garvey Cummings
Maynard, MA

I am majoring in Human Biology with a minor Bioethics on the pre-med track. I’ve spent this past year working in the Bouton Lab with the help of the Double Hoo Grant, to help isolate specific cellular pathways that influence triple negative breast cancer therapies. I’ve also been training to work as a Medical Scribe at the UVA Emergency Medicine Department, where I help record doctor-patient interactions. At the University, I serve as a tour guide for the University Guide Service, work as an undergraduate Teaching Assistant for introductory chemistry, and put on bi-annual performances as the Vice President of the Virginia Dance Company.

Isaiah Jenkins
Danville, VA
Ridley Flagship Scholar

I am studying sociology and African & African-American studies with a minor in bioethics. Additionally, I am on the pre-med track and hope to go to medical school after graduation. On Grounds, I am a tour guide through the University Guide Service, an active member of the Black Student Alliance and a practice/scout team player for UVA’s Varsity Women’s Basketball Team. 


Andrea Parrish
Midlothian, VA
Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar

I am studying Systems Engineering (with a planned concentration in humans factors and interactions) with a minor in Engineering Business. Over the summer, I had a virtual internship at the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the engineering school’s Policy Internship Program. At the NSF, I worked in the Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) directorate on a project with the Expeditions in Computing program. This program receives different research proposals from numerous universities and selects several to award millions of dollars in funding for seven years. On Grounds, I serve as an RA for Housing and Residence Life and I work at the Rotunda. Additionally, I am a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and I give tours of the Engineering school to prospective students and their families.

Takara Washington
Gordonsville, VA
Hoel-Perkins Scholar

I am pursuing a degree in nursing. In the nursing school, I serve as Co-President of Diversity in Nursing for a Better Community (DNBC), which promotes diversity within the nursing profession. I also serve as a peer advisor for the Office of African-American Affairs and dance with Mahogany Dance Troupe. After graduation, I plan to pursue a career as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner to care for those who struggle mentally and emotionally

Class of 2023

Kendall Davis
Arlington, VA
Gregory R. Batipps Memorial Scholar

I intend to study statistics with a minor in data science. During my first year, I volunteered at Martha Jefferson Hospital, served as a desk receptionist at the UVA LGBTQ center, and was a mentor for elementary school students with College Mentors for Kids. I am also a member of the Zang lab that uses computational biology to study human diseases.


Maxine Deveaux
Takoma Park, MD
Holland-Blackburn Scholar

I plan to major in Global Public Health, with a minor in sociology. I am on the pre-med track and hope to attend medical school after graduation. On grounds, I give tours through the University guide service, and am an active member of the National Honor Fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi. Additionally, I serve as a peer mentor through the Echols Scholar Program.


Selam Herring
Richmond, VA
Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar

I am in the College of Arts and Sciences hoping to major in psychology with a French minor. I am a member of the Virginia Belles acapella group and the Eritrean Ethiopian Student Alliance. During my first year, I participated in a volunteer program at a local elementary school through Madison House. I also began volunteering in a childcare program through UVA Habitat for Humanity, and I hope to continue working with the organization in the coming years. This past summer, I worked at Partnership for the Future, a nonprofit that offers college preparation and counselling to high school students in the greater Richmond area.

Milan Marsh
Richmond, VA
Hoel-Perkins Scholar

I attended Open High School, where I was the Scholastic Standout of my school and a member of my school’s Environmental Science club. I am a member of the National Honor Society. This past summer, I participated in the UVA Launchpad program, where I took courses in sustainability, marketing, multi-media production, and other career developing skills. I plan to major in mathematics while at UVA and I hope to one day obtain a PhD in mathematics.

Alexis Stokes
Richmond, VA 
Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar

I attended John Marshall High School and graduated as valedictorian of the class of 2019. I was a member of the TRIO Talent Search, the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Cabinet, and Project Discovery. I was also a TRIO Ambassador and a mentor to a class of elementary school girls, helping them work hard and stay focused. Every summer I volunteer my free time at a local recreational center, serving as a summer camp counselor for children ages 5-14. This year I hope to be more active on grounds. I have an interest in healthcare, but I also want to learn more about how children’s minds work and how I can help them. I hope to find a field of study at UVA that encompasses my interests.

Class of 2024 

Jalon Thomas
Reistertown, MD
Holland-Blackburn Scholar

I attended St. Paul’s School, where I was a member of the track and squash teams, as well as varsity soccer captain. I also participated in robotics, Black Awareness Club, and Peer Tutoring. Outside of school, I volunteered with Bridges Baltimore, whose mission is to provide academic and social support for Baltimore City youth. At UVA, I plan on majoring in computer science, and I am looking forward to becoming a member of the UVA and Ridley community this fall.


Gabrielle Jefferson
Richmond, VA
Ridley-Reid Scholar

 I attended Glen Allen High School, where I served as SCA president and Executive Caucus representative of Equity Ambassadors, a county-wide organization advancing equity in schools. Alongside preparing for my varsity tennis and track seasons, I spent my summers volunteering at the Peter and Paul Development Center, an outreach center in the city. I plan to pursue global studies and journalism alongside a potential major in Leadership and Public Policy to refine my passion for activism and social justice at the University of Virginia. I am excited to begin my UVA journey and extremely grateful for the opportunity to be a Ridley Scholar!