Current Ridley Scholarship Recipients

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 Club Rugby Team and am a member of the McIntire Investment Institute. This past summer I interned for Citi in the Media and Telecommunications Investment Banking Group. After graduation, I will be rejoining Citi full-time in New York City.


Triston Smith, Ridley Flagship Scholar

I am an Echols and Ridley Flagship Scholar from Keysville, Virginia. Since graduating from Prince Edward County High and entering the University of Virginia, I have studied an array of topics in which the notion of shame is central. On grounds, I have done lab research on addiction and imprisonment on a neurobiological basis, studied the media’s role in personal and inter-personal characterization, and have found a presence on stage through The Black Monologues in addition to spoken word and slam poetry events. I have been very lucky to have had multiple opportunities to study abroad which have granted me the ability to study Brazil, India, and Italy from religious, linguistic, and cultural viewpoints and delve even deeper into aspects of colonization, criminalization, and discrimination from a global perspective. I have worked with NGOs in New Delhi, India and Belém, Brazil as a teacher, photography intern, and mentor and have reached intermediate-to-high proficiency in French and Portuguese as well as basic proficiency in the Hindi language—next on my list is Italian! I am currently looking into graduate programs focused on religious and practical media studies, as well as fellowships for photography, writing, or teaching English abroad.


Michael 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.  As a 4th year studying public policy and government, I am very passionate about social and criminal justice reform. This summer,  I studied law and public policy at the University of Oxford in England. Some of my involvements on grounds include serving as President of the Sisterly Love Mentoring Program, as a Senior Peer Advisor for the Office of African American Affairs Peer Advisor Program, and as the Program Planning Chair of the Kappa Rho Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. I also work as a Customer Service Representative Manager 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 a University Achievement Awards, Ridley Reid, and Rodman Scholar. I am from Stafford, VA, and am a graduate of the Commonwealth Governor’s School program at Stafford Senior High School. This year, I was blessed to be selected as the incoming President of One Way Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. I am also a practice/scout team player for the UVA Varsity Women’s Basketball team, and I am a member of Shotokan Karate Club at UVA. I am majoring in Computer Engineering and am pursuing an Engineering Business Minor in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. After graduation in 2020, my goal is to be a philanthropist and an entrepreneur.


Christina Johnson, Holland-Blackburn Scholar

I am a Holland Blackburn Scholar from South Orange, New Jersey where I attended Columbia High School. At the University of Virginia, I am a third-year and a nursing major. In the nursing school, I am a Nursing Ambassador and I pursue my passion for philanthropy as Vice President of Diversity in Nursing for a Better Community (DNBC) which encourages diversity in the nursing workforce. I am the female talent director of 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. I am pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and minor in philosophy. On grounds, I serve as a Peer Advisor through the Office of African American Affairs and as Program Director at Madison House where I tutor students at the City of Promise. Over the summer, I interned at UVA medical school through the Summer Medical Leadership Program. Upon graduation, I plan to attend medical school and then focus my efforts on improving patient care in underserved communities


Class of 2021

Rikia Freeman, Hoel-Perkins Scholar

I am a Hoel-Perkins scholar that currently resides in Suffolk, Virginia. I was born in Belleville, Illinois and moved to places like South Dakota and Las Vegas as my father was in the Air Force.  I am a second-year double majoring in aerospace engineering and astronomy. My time outside of the classroom has been spent training for my next half marathon, being an officer for UVA’s chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and being a member of the National Society of Black Engineers. 



Jolie Magenheimer, Ridley-Andrade Scholar

I am a second-year Ridley-Andrade and University Achievement Scholar from Leesburg, Virginia. I graduated from Riverside High School where I served as Vice President of my National Honor Society Chapter, establishing a community-wide tutoring program, study skills initiative, and formal mentorship program for 8th graders transitioning to high school. At UVA, I serve as a tour guide for the University Guide Service and a member of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students. This summer I continued giving tours to prospective students and participated in an externship at Gensler Architecture firm in Washington DC. This year I expect to continue my studies in Architecture with a concentration in Design Thinking.



Ja’Mel Reed, Ridley-Bryce Scholar

I am a Ridley-Bryce Scholar, Echols Scholar, and Ron Brown Scholar in the College of Arts and Sciences. I am from Middlesex, Virginia, where I attended The Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School for Marine and Environmental Science and Middlesex High School. I intend to major in Cognitive Science and Poetry. On grounds, I am a tour guide for the University Guide Service, a poetry writer for the Orphee Noir Magazine, a member of the Student Council Board of Audit and Management Committee, and a Resident Advisor for incoming first year students. Upon graduation, I intend to go to Medical School.



Salem Zelalem, Ridley Flagship Scholar

I am a second-year Echols and Ridley Scholar from Burke, Virginia, where I graduated from Lake Braddock Secondary School. Currently, I am a fall intern with Unsung People, an online publication working to spotlight underappreciated members of the community. I was a cast member of the 2017 Black Monologues, and a part of UVA’s College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) team, competing in an international poetry slam taking place in April. I am the President of Flux Poetry and Spoken Word, the only CIO dedicated to poetry on grounds, and use that platform to create a safe and welcoming environment for marginalized voices. I am pursuing a major in Economics, with minors in Math and English.


Class of 2022

Garvey Cummings, Holland-Blackburn

I am a first-year Holland-Blackburn Scholar from Maynard, MA. I plan on majoring in Human Biology and hope to one day pursue a career in sports medicine. In high school, I was president of my class and actively involved in the tutoring program run by our National Honor Society. I spent most of my senior year researching the NFL’s responsibility for long-term head trauma in football. I was also a dancer and performed in a Boston contemporary company. In my free time, I worked at a local ice cream shop and volunteered at our community Open Table. I am excited to join a part of both the UVA and Ridley community in the fall.


Isaiah Jenkins, Ridley Flagship Scholar

I am a first-year Ridley and Echols Scholar from Danville, Virginia where I attended George Washington High School and the Piedmont Governor’s School for Science, Mathematics, and Technology. In High School, I was the President of the Danville 4-H Club and Captain of my school’s History Scholastic Bowl Team. I was a member of National Honor Society, Gentleman’s by Choice Club, Key Club, and Spanish Club. In my free time, I volunteered at my local Boy’s and Girl’s Club and YMCA. I plan on majoring in Human Biology with a minor in Political Science. I plan on attending medical school after graduating from UVA. I am very excited to become a part of the UVA and Ridley community.


Andrea Parrish, Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar

I am a first-year Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar from Midlothian, Virginia. I graduated from the Math and Science High School at Clover Hill. In high school I was secretary of the National History Honor Society, Vice President of Finance in DECA, a lead mentor for Clover Hill’s freshmen mentoring program, and involved with the Math and Science Ambassadors, Beta Club, and National Honor Society. I was also Service Chair of the Midlothian YMCA’s Leaders’ Club for two years. Leaders’ Club is involved with serving the community and bettering one’s skills in numerous areas. As Service Chair, I coordinated volunteer events with the organizations: Feed My Starving Children and Connecting Hearts of Virginia. I am excited to join the University of Virginia in the fall and plan on majoring in Systems Engineering with an engineering business minor.


Takara Washington, Hoel-Perkins Scholar

I am a first-year Hoel-Perkins Scholar from Gordonsville, Virginia. I graduated from Orange County High School. In high school, I was a member of the Spanish Club and a Defensive Specialist on the volleyball team. I also served as the African American Club President, an organization similar to the Black Student Alliance at the University of Virginia. Outside of school, I spent my time volunteering at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia. I maintained a part-time job as a Dietary Aide at an assisted living facility in my hometown as well. I will be majoring in Nursing at the University of Virginia. I plan on pursuing a rewarding career as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and striving to support those who struggle mentally and emotionally. I am blessed to be a Hoel-Perkins Scholar and elated to attend the University of Virginia this fall.