Ridley Scholarship Recipients

Class of 2018

Tyler Ambrose, Ridley Flagship Scholar

I am a Ridley Flagship 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 participated as a Training and Recruitment Initiative for Admission to Leading Law Schools (TRIALS) Fellow at Harvard and New York University. On Grounds, I am the Co-Chair of the Resident Staff Program and President of the Black Male Initiative. I also serve on the Class of 2018 Trustees Council. Upon graduation, I plan to pursue a law degree.

Bianca Decatur, Holland-Blackburn Scholar

I am an 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 am a Flagship Ridley and Echols Scholar from McLean, Virginia. This year, I will be wrapping up my double major in Environmental Science and Physics. I am a complete tree hugger and spent my summer as a data mining intern for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. On Grounds, I am the Co-Executive Director of Green Grounds, a project-based sustainability organization. I unwind on the weekends by DJing for WXTJ, UVA’s student radio. I am also involved in Alternative Spring Break and student mentoring on Grounds. .

Micah Watson, Holland-Blackburn Scholar

I am a Holland Blackburn Scholar hailing from Wichita, Kansas. I am majoring in Drama and the African-American and African Studies Distinguished Majors Program. Additionally, I am a Miller Arts and Echols Scholar. As a playwright and filmmaker, I am working towards a career in the film and television industry, particularly as a screenwriter.  Outside of my coursework, I am the founding producer and director of The Black Monologues and currently serve as the President of OneWay InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Jasmine Zollar, Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar

I am a Richmond Ridley Cain and Echols Scholar from Mechanicsville, Virginia. I am majoring in Global Development Studies & African-American and African Studies. I am also pursuing my Master of Teaching in Elementary Education in the Curry School’s five-year B/MT program. In addition to my academic pursuits, I am currently the President of the Kappa Rho Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. After graduation, I intend to become an elementary school teacher in the public school system.


Class of 2019

Kyle Nicholson, Gregory Ledford Scholar

I am an Echols and Gregory Ledford Endowed Scholar from Chesterfield, Virginia, where I attended Clover Hill High School. I am currently pursuing a double major in finance and statistics with a minor in economics. Outside of the classroom I am on the Men’s Rugby Club Team and am a member of the McIntire Investment Institute. This past summer I interned for PNC Financial Services in the Wealth Management Division. After this year, I will be interning for Citi in the Investment Banking Division.

Triston Smith, Ridley Flagship Scholar

I am a 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 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.


Briana Woody, Sylvia V. Terry Scholar

I am an Echols and Sylvia V. Terry Scholar from Richmond, Virginia where I attended Patrick Henry High School. I am majoring in Public Policy and Leadership in the Frank Batten School, and pursuing a minor in Government from the College of Arts and Sciences. Over the summer, I was an administrative legal intern at the Virginia Department of Health Professions. On grounds, my major involvements include serving as Executive Coordinator of the Sisterly Love Mentoring Program, as an Orientation Leader for the Office of African American Affairs Peer Advisor Program, and as a member of the University Guide Service. I also work as a Programs and Councils Assistant for the Office of the Dean of Students. Upon graduating in 2019, I plan to attend law school.


Class of 2020

Micah Harris, Ridley Reid Scholar

I am blessed to be a 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 devotional leaders of Stafford’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. At UVa, I am a member of the OneWay Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and a practice player on the Women’s Varsity basketball team. I am majoring in Electrical Engineering.


Christina Johnson, Holland-Blackburn Scholar

I am a Holland Blackburn Scholar from South Orange, New Jersey where I attended Columbia High School. Over the summer I interned at the KinderSmile Community Oral Health Center focusing primarily on the pediatric aspect to healthcare. I also traveled to Guatemala with other KinderSmile volunteers to help provide free dental services, school supplies and clothing. At the University of Virginia, I am a nursing major. In the nursing school I am a Nursing Ambassador and I pursue my passion for philanthropy as Co-Director of Community Outreach for Diversity in Nursing for a Better Community (DNBC). I am also involved in CRAVE which raises money for The Boys and Girls Club of Charlottesville with an annual fashion show. 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.


Sydney Williams, Ridley Flagship Scholar

I am a Ridley, University Achievement, College Science, and Echols Scholar from Haymarket, Virginia where I attended The Governor’s School at Innovation Park and Battlefield High School. On grounds, I serve as a Peer Advisor through the Office of African American Affairs and as Program Director at Madison House for the PLAY program, which, in conjunction with City of Promise, we encourage students to pursue science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Over the summer, I shadowed physicians at Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA where I focused primarily on surgery and anesthesia. Upon graduation, I plan to attend medical school and then focus my efforts on improving the quality of patient care in underserved communities.


Class of 2021

Rikia Freeman, Hoel-Perkins Scholar

I have been living in Suffolk, Virginia for eight years. I was born in Belleville, Illinois and moved to places like South Dakota and Las Vegas, Nevada as my father was in the Air Force.  I intend to major in aerospace engineering at UVA. My time outside of the classroom has been spent running 5ks and a half marathon and volunteering in the community as a 4-H camp counselor. The career goals I have for myself include designing spacecraft for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration which could aid in humanity’s journey to Mars or beyond.


Jolie Magenheimer, Ridley-Andrade Scholar

I am a First Year Ridley-Andrade and University Achievement Scholar from Leesburg, Virginia. I graduated from Riverside High School as part of its inaugural class. In high school, I was recognized as an All-Virginia guitarist and served as Vice President of Riverside’s National Honor Society chapter. In that role, I established a community-wide tutoring program, including other initiatives for study skills and technology literacy. I also founded a formal mentorship program for 8th graders making the transition to high school. I have presented on multiple occasions to administrators and school board members on initiatives to foster student leadership and service. This fall, I will be studying Architecture with a concentration in Design Thinking and hope to pursue my passion for mentorship with a double major in Youth and Social Innovation.  I am very excited to be a part of the UVA community.


Ja’Mel Reed, Ridley-Bryce Scholar

I am a first year Ridley-Bryce Scholar, College of Arts and Sciences, Echols, and Ron Brown Scholar. I am from Middlesex, Virginia, where I attended The Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School for Marine and Environmental Science and Middlesex High School. During the summer of 2016 I conducted research for my CBGS  project in which I analyzed the water quality and health of the counties residents. In high school, I was a Varsity Football Captain. I also competed in Varsity Basketball, Varsity Football, Track and Field, Forensics, and Scholastic Bowl. I won first place in state Forensics competition for my performance in Original Oratory. I was also President of my National Honors Society Chapter, member of Spanish National Honors Society, and President of my FBLA club. I am very excited to become a part of the UVA community. At UVA, I plan on majoring in Human Biology with a minor in Political Science. I plan on attending Medical School after my undergraduate studies.


Salem Zelalem, Ridley Flagship Scholar

I am a First Year Echols and Ridley Scholar from Burke, Virginia. I graduated from Lake Braddock Secondary School. In high school, I was a member of the National Honor Society and International Thespian Society, as well as the President of the Book Club and the Vice President of the Poetry Club. I was also a volunteer with the Democratic Party of Virginia, through which I was a Voter Registration Captain and ran events. Through a collaborative arts showcase at my school, I was able to perform a piece to open a school board meeting. I am pursuing majors in Economics and English, and am thrilled to become a part of the community at UVA.