Current Ridley Scholarship Recipients

Class of 2020


Micah Harris, Ridley Reid Scholar

I am a fourth-year University Achievement Awards, Ridley Reid, and Rodman Scholar from Stafford, VA. This year, I am finishing my Bachelor of Science in computer engineering. I am continuing in service as the President of One Way Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and am also returning as a practice/scout team player for the UVA Varsity Women’s Basketball team. I will also be the Mentorship Chair for the Collegiate 100 at UVA, a high school volunteer mentorship organization for black men. Over the summer, I designed a mobile application for student meal prep that I am currently developing. I also coached practices for a high school basketball team, emphasizing skill development, mental toughness, strength and conditioning. After graduation, my goal is to be an entrepreneur/app developer, and a basketball coach en route to starting a philanthropic organization.


Christina Johnson, Holland-Blackburn Scholar

I am a fourth-year Holland-Blackburn Scholar from South Orange, New Jersey, majoring in nursing. In the nursing school,  I pursue my passion for philanthropy as Co-President of Diversity in Nursing for a Better Community (DNBC) which encourages diversity in the nursing workforce. I am also the female talent director of CRAVE which raises money for The Boys and Girls Club of Charlottesville with an annual fashion show. Over the summer, I was a student nurse extern at the NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital where I cared for patients after hip and knee replacements. 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 fourth-year Ridley, University Achievement, College Science, and Echols Scholar from Haymarket, Virginia. I am pursuing a Bachelor of Science in biology, with a minor in philosophy. On grounds, I serve as a Peer Advisor through the Office of African American Affairs, act as a Medical Scribe at the UVA Emergency Medicine Department, and as the Head Biostatistics Teaching Assistant. I was also the former Program Director at Madison House, where I tutored students at the City of Promise. Over the summer, I researched the effects of lysosome-based autophagy inhibitors in acute myeloid leukemia at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and studied public health in Guatemala. Upon graduation, I plan to attend medical school.

Class of 2021

Liyon Afework, Gregory Ledford Scholar

I am a third-year Questbridge and Gregory Ledford Scholar. Emigrating from Ethiopia and being raised in Alexandria, a relatively wealthy city in Virginia, gave me a perspective on life that has driven towards my mission of bridging the economic gap. My passion lies in doing social entrepreneurship, especially within the Ethiopian community. I have begun to make my impact this summer while studying abroad in Dominica, and also by working as the Diaspora Intern for the Ethiopian Embassy. I also Intern as a trader within the Equity Derivatives Group at J.P. Morgan. On Grounds, I work as the Community Development Intern for the Multicultural Student Center, I am the Treasurer for the Ethiopian Eritrean Student Association, The Service Chair for Alpha Kappa Psi, and a Corps Cadet Leader in the Salvation Army. I am concentrating in finance in the McIntire School of Commerce with tracks in global commerce and real estate.


Rikia Freeman, Hoel-Perkins Scholar

I am a third-year 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 third-year majoring in aerospace engineering. My time outside of the classroom has been spent training for my next half marathon, serving as the President of UVA’s chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Parliamentarian for UVA’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. 



Jolie Magenheimer, Ridley-Andrade Scholar

I am a third-year Ridley-Andrade and University Achievement Scholar from Leesburg, Virginia, majoring in architecture, with a concentration in design thinking. At UVA, I serve as a tour guide for the University Guide Service, and am a member of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students, as well as the Outreach Student Advisory Committee. This past year I produced an admissions video about the black student experience that has been used by the University’s office of Admissions. 



Danielle Muriel, Sylvia V. Terry Scholar

I am a third-year Echols and Sylvia V. Terry Scholar from Virginia Beach, Virginia, where I attended Salem High School. As a third-year studying biology and women and gender studies on a pre-medical track, I 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. Some of my involvement on Grounds includes serving as a Peer Advisor for the Office of African American Affairs Peer Advisor Program, Vice President of the Black Student Research Network, a mentor through College Mentors for Kids, and Historian of the Kappa Rho Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. This summer, I studied abroad in Valencia, Spain to study Spanish for medical professionals, after which, I was able to continue working as a Medical Scribe at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital. Upon graduating in 2021, I plan to take a gap year to scribe and work as a college advisor before attending medical school.


Ja’Mel Reed, Ridley-Bryce Scholar

I am a third-year Ridley-Bryce, Echols, and Ron Brown Scholar from Middlesex, Virginia.  I am studying cognitive science with a concentration in Linguistics, as well as poetry through the Area Program within the English Department. On Grounds, I serve as a peer advisor through the Office of African-American Affairs; as well as a tour guide for the University Guide Service. Additionally, I am a member of the Culture of Respect Educators, serve on the Echols Advisory Committee, and am the Vice Chair for Selections for UVA’s Housing and Residence Life. I also give tours at Thomas Jefferson’s homestead, Monticello. Over the summer, I served as a residential community assistant for UVA Advance, a program that allows high school students to enroll in summer classes at UV to introduce them to college level classes. I also participated in the Meriwether Lewis Institute, a 2-year leadership development program where I conducted research and interviewed key stakeholders to create proposals related to the university’s strategic plan; which culminated into a proposal regarding the development of the Brandon Avenue Housing Project. 


Salem Zelalem, Ridley Flagship Scholar

I am a third-year Ridley, Echols, University Achievement, and Miller Arts Scholar from Burke, Virginia. I am a double major in economics (with a planned public policy concentration), and English (within the global and modern studies program), with a math minor. I am a research assistant at the Darden Institute for Business in Society, and I spent my summer as an intern at BB&T Scott & Stringfellow. On grounds, I am a two-time member of UVa’s College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) Team, and traveled to the University of Houston, and Temple University to compete in poetry slams. 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 create a safe and welcoming environment for marginalized voices.

Class of 2022


Garvey Cummings, Holland-Blackburn

I am a second-year Holland-Blackburn Scholar from Maynard, MA. I plan on majoring in Human Biology and hope to one day work as a physician. This past summer, I worked at the Concussion Center of Massachusetts to assist patients with neurological rehabilitation exercises. The office I interned with works to help re-establish and strengthen neural pathways in patients who suffered from traumatic brain injuries, neurodevelopmental disorders, and other cognitive disabilities. 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 with the Virginia Dance Company. 


Isaiah Jenkins, Ridley Flagship Scholar

I am a second-year Ridley and Echols Scholar from Danville, Virginia. Currently, I am studying sociology, and African & African-American studies, with a minor in bioethics. Additionally, I am on the pre-med track here at the university, and I 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. This past summer, I interned through UVA’s Office of Admissions and had the opportunity to participate in a 30-day Alaska wilderness experience through the National Outdoor Leadership School. 


Andrea Parrish, Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar

I am a second-year Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar from Midlothian, Virginia. I am a systems engineering major, with an intended concentration in human factors and interactions. Within the Engineering School, I give tours to prospective students and their families. I am also the Treasurer of the Mechatronics and Robotics Society here at UVA, a CIO that builds robots and competes annually in a NASA Lunabotics Competition at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Outside of the classroom, I serve as an ambassador at the Rotunda. After graduation, I plan on going into federal consulting.


Takara Washington, Hoel-Perkins Scholar

I am a second-year Hoel-Perkins Scholar from Gordonsville, Virginia. I am a nursing major, with an intended minor in psychology. In the Nursing School, I act as the Breakthrough to Nursing Director of Diversity in Nursing for a Better Community (DNBC), which encourages diversity within the nursing profession. Outside of the classroom, I strive to partake in any efforts to remove the stigma on mental health around grounds. I also spend my extra time contributing to events for prospective students. Over the summer, I interned at Central Virginia Oral and Facial Surgeons Practice, where I worked as a surgical assistant. 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, Gregory R. Batipps Memorial Scholar

I am a first-year Batipps Memorial Scholar and Echols Scholar from Arlington, Virginia. I attended St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School where I was leader of the French Club, as well as Sisterhood – an affinity group for students who identify as African-American and female. Additionally, I was a member of my school’s acapella group, Gospel Voices, and was part of the set production crew for several school musicals. Outside of the academic setting, I volunteered at a local hospital and tutored children at Patrick Henry Elementary School. I plan to major in human biology, and minor in bioethics, with the goal of attending medical school in the future. I am so thankful to be a Ridley Scholar, and cannot wait to become part of the UVA community.


Maxine Deveaux, Holland-Blackburn Scholar

I am a first-year Holland-Blackburn and Echols Scholar from Takoma Park, Maryland. I attended Wheaton High School, where I was the varsity soccer and lacrosse captain, and a member of the swim team. I was also a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club and the Black Student Union. Additionally, I’ve been a part of a Shakespeare acting company for the last ten years, acting in over fifteen shows. I plan on majoring in global public health, on a pre-med track. I’m so excited and feel extremely fortunate to be joining the UVA and Ridley community this coming fall.


Selam Herring, Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar

I am a first-year Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar from Richmond, Virginia. I attended Collegiate School, where I served on the student government, and participated in admissions programs and events for prospective students. I was also heavily involved in Collegiate’s performing arts program throughout high school. Additionally, I served as President of a service-based school band, and captain of both the junior varsity and varsity volleyball teams. Beyond Collegiate, I mentored ESL students at a local middle school and taught at art and music camps during the summer. I intend to study psychology and early childhood development while at UVA. 


Milan Marsh, Hoel-Perkins Scholar

I am a first-year Hoel-Perkins Scholar from Richmond, Virginia. I attended Open High School, where I was the Scholastic Standout of my school, and a member of the Environmental Science Club. Outside of school, I volunteered with the Friendship Circle of Virginia, which helps young girls with mental disabilities build friendships, and find ways to give back to the community. While at UVA, I intend to major in mathematics, and one day hope to obtain a PhD in this subject. I am excited to be part of Ridley and the UVA community, as well as for what the future will bring!



Alexis Stokes, Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar

I am a first-year Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar. I recently graduated from John Marshall High School as valedictorian. In high school, I was a member of the TRIO Talent Search, the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Cabinet, and Project Discovery. I also had the pleasure of being a TRIO Ambassador, and serving as a mentor for a class of elementary school girls, speaking with them bi-weekly on the importance of staying on the right track despite any obstacles. I currently volunteer at a local recreational center, serving as a summer camp counselor for children ages 5-14. One thing I am certain of is my love for children, and helping them as much as I can. I want to learn more about how the minds of children work, and how I can be an asset to them. I am hoping to stumble across a field of study that relates to all of my interests. I am extremely excited to see what UVA has in store for me as well as what I can contribute to the school.