Class of 2021
Liyon Afework, Gregory Ledford Scholar
I completed a concentration in finance and management with tracks in global commerce and real estate through the McIntire School of Commerce. While at UVA, I interned as the school’s Community Development Intern, served as 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, Hoel-Perkins Scholar
I completed my degree in aerospace engineering. I spent 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 for Lockheed Martin Space.
Jolie Magenheimer, Ridley-Andrade Scholar
I completed a degree in architecture with a concentration in design thinking. At UVA, I served as a tour guide for the University Guide Service and was a member of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students, as well as the Outreach Student Advisory Committee. I also 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 completed a degree in 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. I served 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. Upon graduating, I plan to take a gap year to scribe before attending medical school.
Ja’Mel Reed, Ridley-Bryce Scholar
I completed a degree Cognitive Science with a concentration in Linguistics, as well as Poetry. On Grounds, I served 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. 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 will begin work at Bain & Company Consulting Firm.
Salem Zelalem, Ridley Flagship Scholar
I completed a degree in Economics and English (Distinguished Majors Program). On Grounds, I was heavily involved with Flux Poetry and Spoken Word and used that platform to help foster a welcoming environment for marginalized voices. I was also a two-time member of UVA’s College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) team, an Echols Ambassador, and a Miller Arts Scholar for creative writing. Upon graduation, I will begin work at Oliver Wyman as a consultant in New York City.
Class of 2020
Micah Harris, Ridley Reid Scholar
Micah completed a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering. While at UVA, he served as the president of One Way Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, as well as a practice/scout team player for the UVA Varsity Women’s Basketball team. He was also the mentorship chair for the Collegiate 100 at UVA, which is a high school volunteer mentorship organization for black men. Following graduation, Micah will begin a career as a software engineer at CoStar Realty Group.
Christina Johnson, Holland-Blackburn Scholar
Christina completed a degree in nursing. While in the nursing school, she pursued my passion for philanthropy as Co-President of Diversity in Nursing for a Better Community (DNBC), which encouraged diversity in the nursing workforce. She served as the female talent director of CRAVE, an annual fashion show which raised money for the Boys and Girls Club of Charlottesville, for two years. Christina also completed a nurse externship at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital.
Sydney Williams, Ridley Flagship Scholar
Sydney completed a degree in biology with a minor in philosophy. On Grounds, she served as a peer advisor through the Office of African-American Affairs, acted as a Medical Scribe at the UVA Emergency Medicine Department, and was the head biostatistics teaching assistant. She also served as a teaching assistant for courses on the U.S. healthcare system. Sydney is a former program director at Madison House, where she tutored students at the City of Promise. Upon graduation, she plans to attend medical school.
Class of 2019
Kyle Nicholson, Gregory Ledford Scholar
Kyle was an Echols and Gregory Ledford Endowed Scholar from Chesterfield, Virginia. He double majored in finance and statistics with a minor in economics. Outside of the classroom Kyle was on the Men’s Club Rugby Team and was a member of the McIntire Investment Institute. He also had the opportunity to intern for Citi Investment Banking Group. After graduation, He rejoined Citi full-time in New York City.
Triston Smith, Ridley Flagship Scholar
Triston was an Echols and Ridley Flagship Scholar from Keysville, Virginia. While on grounds, he was able to do lab research on addiction and imprisonment on a neurobiological basis, study the media’s role in personal and inter-personal characterization, and he found a presence on stage through The Black Monologues, spoken word and slam poetry events. Triston had multiple opportunities to study abroad in Brazil, India, and Italy from religious, linguistic, and cultural viewpoints, thus delving even deeper into aspects of colonization, criminalization, and discrimination from a global perspective. While abroad, he worked with NGOs in New Delhi, India and Belém, as a teacher in Brazil, a photography intern, and a mentor while also reaching intermediate-to-high proficiency in French and Portuguese as well as basic proficiency in the Hindi language.
Michael Thompson, Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar
Michael was a Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Scholar from Midlothian, Virginia, who majored in biomedical engineering with an engineering business minor. He participated in the Bank of America Student Leaders program, where he interned at the Midlothian YMCA and spent a week in Washington, D.C., visiting Capitol Hill and speaking with several Virginia legislators.
Briana Woody, Sylvia V. Terry Scholar
Briana was an Echols and Sylvia V. Terry Scholar from Richmond, Virginia. As a 4th year studying public policy and government, she became very passionate about social and criminal justice reform. Briana had the opportunity to spend a summer studying law and public policy at the University of Oxford in England. While on grounds, Briana served 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, Inc. she also worked as a Customer Service Representative Manager for the Office of the Dean of Students.
Class of 2018
Tyler was a Ridley Flagship Scholar from Roanoke, Virginia. While at the university, he was a politics honors major and history minor. As a student, Tyler participated as a Training and Recruitment Initiative for Admission to Leading Law Schools (TRIALS) Fellow at Harvard and New York University. On Grounds, he was the Co-Chair of the Resident Staff Program, President of the Black Male Initiative, and also served on the Class of 2018 Trustees Council. He is currently a J.D. Candidate at Harvard Law School.
Bianca was an Echols and Holland Blackburn Scholar from Durham, North Carolina. She double majored in Spanish and Cognitive Science. During her time at the university, Bianca interned with Vice President Lampkin’s office through the Meriwether Lewis Institute for Citizen Leadership, and was heavily involved in the Black Women’s initiative, served as the Outreach Chair for the University Guide Service, and worked in the Rotunda as a Student Ambassador.
Stephanie was a Flagship Ridley and Echols Scholar from McLean, Virginia, who majored in environmental science and physics. The self-proclaimed tree hugger was a data mining intern for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. While on Grounds, Stephanie was the Co-Executive Director of Green Grounds, a project-based sustainability organization, and a DJ for WXTJ, UVA’s student radio. She was also involved in Alternative Spring Break and student mentoring on Grounds.
Micah was a Holland Blackburn Scholar hailing from Wichita, Kansas. She majored in drama and African-American and African Studies (Distinguished Majors Program). Additionally, she was a Miller Arts and Echols Scholar. As a playwright and filmmaker, Micah is working towards a career in the film and television industry, particularly as a screenwriter. Outside of coursework, Micah was the founding producer and director of The Black Monologues and President of OneWay InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
Jasmine was a Richmond Ridley Cain and Echols Scholar from Mechanicsville, Virginia. She majored in global development studies and African-American and African Studies. She also earned a Master of Teaching in elementary education through the Curry School’s five-year B/MT program. In addition to her academic pursuits, Jasmine was the President of the Kappa Rho Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Class of 2017
Kiera Givens, Holland-Blackburn Scholar
Kiera was an Echols Scholar and a Ridley Holland-Blackburn Scholar from Takoma Park, Maryland. At UVA, she double majored in environmental science and anthropology. She conducted research on oyster filtration at the University of Maryland Horn Point Laboratory, and was a member of Hydra, the Women’s Club Ultimate Frisbee Team. Kiera also served as a tour guide for the University Guide Service. Additionally, she was the assistant stage manager for The Black Monologues, and mentored advisees from the OAAA Peer Advisor Program. She is currently an Oceans Fellow and Project Associate with the Meridian Institute.
Jacob was an Echols Scholar, Sylvia V. Terry Scholar, and Paige Pre-Medical Scholar, majoring in Chemistry and African-American & African Studies. When asked about his experience with Ridley, Jacob said, “Coming from out of state, I was able to find my home on Grounds due in large parts to the OAAA Peer Advisor Program. A resident advisor in my dorm, who was also a PA, became a great mentor and now my best friend. Since becoming PA, I have greatly appreciated my experience of giving back to underclassmen in the same enriching way I was able to receive. Being the inaugural recipient of the Ridley Scholarship named in honor of Sylvia V. Terry, who created the PA Program, I have enjoyed being apart of the Ridley family.” Jacob is currently working on his M.D. at Meharry Medical College.
Dominique was a Gregory Ledford Ridley Scholar from Baltimore, Maryland. She studied at the McIntire School of Commerce where she concentrated in finance. She was also a cognitive science major, concentrating in cognitive psychology. During her time at UVA, she was part of the costume department for 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 her Second Year she studied abroad with Semester at Sea, and after her third year studied abroad for three weeks in China, learning about Chinese economics, business, and culture. Additionally, she interned at Facebook for two summers on the Global Marketing Solutions team.
Class of 2016
Nena was a Ridley and University Achievement Scholar from Mechanicsville, VA. She pursued a major in statistics with an actuarial finance concentration and a minor in psychology. On Grounds, she was the Head Program Director at Madison House for English Speakers of Other Languages. Nina was also a statistics tutor and a group exercise instructor at the UVA Aquatics and Fitness Center. She interned at Genworth Financial in the Actuarial Department where she further developed her technical, quantitative, and analytical skills while enhancing her insurance and product knowledge.
Ravynn was a University Achievement and Ridley-Reid scholar from Suffolk, Virginia. She double majored in French (Distinguished Majors Program) and comparative literature, and completed a foreign affairs minor. Through Ridley she was able to travel to France to study twice, the second time to begin researching francophone “bande-dessinee” (graphic novels), which were the subject of her thesis. Ravynn also worked as a volunteer intern with the Office of Admission Outreach Team and was involved in the Language Houses community. She was the RA of the French House, where she lived as a resident for two years.
Class of 2015
Tim was an Echols, Ridley, and University Scholar from Rustburg, Virginia. He majored in political philosophy, policy, and law, as well as biology. During his time at the university, Tim served as Chair of the University Judiciary Committee and was a Resident Advisor in Housing and Residence Life. He is pursuing work in campus life, and eventually plans to pursue a law degree.
Taylor Jordan, Gregory Ledford Scholar
Taylor was an Echols, Ridley, and University Scholar from Sterling, Virginia. While at UVA, she pursued concentrations in accounting and marketing with a business analytics track in the McIntire School of Commerce, as well as a minor in religious studies. She was the Chief Operating Officer of an investment organization called Smart Woman Securities, and the Madison House head program director of Hoos Assisting with Life Obstacles (HALO). She interned in Ernst & Young’s risk advisory group out of the McLean, Virginia office. Upon graduation, she accepted a management consulting job with Kurt Salmon.
Chelsea Stokes, Richmond Ridley Cain Scholar
Chelsea was an Echols and Ridley scholar from Richmond, Virginia. She majored in political and social thought (Distinguished Majors program) and African-American Studies, while being enrolled in the Batten School of Public Policy’s Accelerated Master’s program in public policy. She studied abroad in Australia, and interned with Verizon, which directly influenced her thesis which investigates the net neutrality debate in relation to African-Americans. On Grounds, she served as Chair of the Black Leadership Institute and Sexual Misconduct Board.
Class of 2014
Alyssa Hester, Ridley Flagship Scholar
Alyssa Hester graduated as a Biomedical Engineering major and Engineering in Business minor. She was a Rodman Scholar as well as Ridley Scholar and past Virginia Space Grant Consortium Bridge Scholar. During the summer of 2012 she participated in the University of Virginia Research Experience for Undergraduates researching phage display-based functional proteomics. She participated in the International Summer Program at the Technische Universität Dortmund taking classes and conducting a microfluidics based research project. At the University she was active in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) where she served as Finance Chair for two years as well as Madison House as a volunteer soccer coach. She plans on pursuing a M.S. in Systems Engineering.
Molly Jones graduated with a double major in Spanish and Foreign Affairs. She was an Echols Scholar, in addition to being a Walter N. Ridley Scholar. She spent the spring of 2012 studying abroad in Valencia, Spain with the U.Va.’s Hispanic Studies Program. Following this experience, she spent the summer of 2012 in Washington, D.C. interning at FINCA International, a non-profit organization that provides microfinance loans to women in the developing world. On Grounds, she was a volunteer with Madison House’s Latino/Migrant Aid Program and a member of the Black Student Admissions Committee. She hopes to be able to work abroad in various parts of the Spanish-speaking world.
Martina Mitchell, Meikel Andrade Memorial Scholar
Martina majored in psychology, with a concentration in sociology. At the University, she was a member of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team, Psi Chi, the Psychological Society, and a founding member of “Students Supporting Soldiers’ pSychology.” She was also an active member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. She held internships with both the Newport News Public School Division’s lead psychologist and the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton during her time at UVA. She plans to attend graduate school to obtain a master’s degree in forensic psychology and pursue a career in the criminal justice system.
Dare’ra Spragg, Richmond Ridley Cain Scholar
Dare’ra majored in psychology. She served as a Peer Advisor and volunteered with Madison House. She also served as Second Vice President of the Kappa Rho chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. In addition, she was a member of the Daniel Hale Williams Pre-Medical Society, and sang in the a cappella group ReMix. She plans to attend graduate school in public health and/or medicine.
Byron Thompson, Holland Scholar
Byron was a Holland and Echols Scholar in the McIntire School of Commerce, concentrating in Finance and Management. He is a brother of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, and served as President of the minority business development organization ‘Get on the Street’ and as a student panelist for the Outreach Student Admissions Committee. After gaining admission to the McIntire School of Commerce, he worked for Barclays Capital in the Investment Banking Division as 1 of 8 sophomore interns. During the spring semester of 2013 he studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark through the International Business program then spent the summer working for Lazard as an intern in the Mergers & Acquisitions group in New York. He plans to continue my interest in Investment Banking and hopefully enter the field of Private Equity.
Justin majored in Computer Science in the School of Engineering. He was a Ridley Scholar, Rodman Scholar, and a University Scholar. During the summer of 2012, he was a research assistant for the INERTIA group with the University of Virginia Research Experience for Undergraduates, where he developed a user interface for analyzing data from body sensors. During the summer of 2013, he had the privilege of interning with the mobile development section of TASC, where he developed android applications that used various parts of Google Maps. He plans to pursue an M.S. in Computer Science as well as continue to develop applications for the consumer market.
Class of 2013
Folayemi, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, graduated with a major in sociology (Honors) and a minor in French. She was also in the Sociology Distinguished Major Program. Her Thesis “Gentrification, Gated Communities and the Spatial Properties of Inequality in Lagos, Nigeria” under the advisorship of Professor Katya Makarova won the Distinguished Major Thesis Award for the best DMP written for the 2012-2013 academic year. While at the university, Folayemi participated in intramural sports, got involved in tutoring and community service projects, and was active in the following organizations: Association Council (1st Year Vice President), The University Programs Council (4th year – Programs Coordinator on Special Events Events & Arts and Enrichment Committees), FAME (now called Fashion Design Club) (2nd Year – Treasurer; 3rd Year – Vice President; 4th Year – Show Director). She also volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club through FAME, and received the Z Society Distinguished First Year Recognition 2010.
Jean-Mary graduated with a BA in chemistry. While at UVA, Jean-Mary was a Ridley Scholar, Echols Scholar, a recipient of the Small Research and Travel Grant, the Echols Ingrassia Research Fund, UVA School of Law’s BLSA scholarship, and the Helping Hand Scholarship. Jean-Mary was also a peer advisor for UVA’s Office of African-American Affairs and an Ambassador for UVA’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Jean-Mary went on to train at Michael Howard Studios for film and television.
Zodina graduated with a BS (with High Distinction) in biomedical engineering and a minor in art history. While at UVA, Zodina was a member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society (Secretary, 3rd and 4th Year), recipient of Intermediate Honors, the Robert W. and Eileen M. Honse SEAS-endowed Scholarship, the Parents Committee Internship Grant (PCIG), and the Office of African-American Affairs’ Longevity of Excellence Academic Award for SEAS. She was a peer advisor for UVA’s OAAA, the pre-health committee co-chair in her fourth year, a Project SERVE site leader, and a member of Society of Women Engineers (SWE). She was also active in several medical device design projects, an undergraduate researcher, and a teaching fellow in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Charity came to U.Va. from Chesapeake, Virginia, where she attended Grassfield High School. During her first year at the University, she was appointed to be the Vice Chair for the First Year Judiciary Committee to adjudicate cases of student misconduct committed by First Years in First Year living areas. She also tutored elementary school students through Madison House at Burnley-Moran Elementary. In the summer of 2010, she was selected for the competitive position of Orientation Leader to help acclimate First Year and transfer students for University life. In her second year, she served as Leadership Development Co-Chair of the Black Student Alliance. She was also selected to participate in the Blueprint Emerging Leadership Program to further cultivate her leadership abilities. She pursued a double major in Political Science and Spanish.
Stephanie graduated with a BA (with Distinction) in Religious Studies and English and is a member of the IMP Society and the Thirteen Society. While at UVa she was active in the Black Student Alliance (Leadership Development Chair, 1st -3rd year, President, 4th Year), Class of 2013 Trustees, Office of African American Affairs Peer Advisor Program (Pre-Law Co-Chair, 3rd Year), The Cavalier Daily (Advertising Staff, 1st – 4th Year) and the UVa Undergraduate Chapter of the Black Law Students Association (Secretary, 4th Year).
Lindsey graduated from the McIntire School of Commerce. In college, she danced with the University Dance Club and Mahogany Dance Troupe. She held the positions of treasurer and choreographer in the University Dance Club. Also, at the University, she was the accounting committee co-chair for Relay for Life and mentored a young girl named Jaylyn. For her college internship she worked with TIAA-CREF (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund). Through this experience she developed an interest in working as a financial adviser and studying investments. She aspires to work for one of the “big four” accounting firms at some point in her career, and is grateful for the great opportunities afforded through the McIntire School of Commerce.