Meet the Scholars



Anna Bekavac

anna_bekavacHello! I'm Anna, a very happy music therapy major here at Ohio University. I'm from Pittsburgh, PA, a city where the arts are incredibly alive, accessible, and inspiring. I am so fortunate to have grown up seeing performance after performance at the countless venues in the city, and the joy I felt each time I was immersed in the magic of a stage production was a feeling that I knew could never be topped by anything else.

I was in my first musical, Annie, in which I played "Annie," at seven years old, and I continued to take part in every show that I had the chance to throughout middle school, high school, and today. In high school, along with drama club, I was a member of the dance team, National Honor Society, and Red Cross Club. I taught religion to children from my church and took every chance I could to give back to my elementary school and parish, St. Elizabeth.

I am beyond passionate about my studies in music therapy being that I can use the joy that music brings me to enhance the lives of others! I would love to work with the elderly, since I believe they deserve so much for paving the way for new generations and since

my favorite music most likely comes from the 50s, 60s, or 70s. I am often told that I am an "old soul" since my hobbies include baking, collecting and listening to records, and shopping at vintage clothing and antique stores.

I didn't think there was anything left that could make my freshman year at OU even more spectacular than it already was, but then I was accepted to the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program! I can't wait to share this experience with 19 other phenomenal women.

Thanks for reading. Email me at - I LOVE to talk!

Tyann Carter

tyann_carterHola! My name is Tyann Carter! I am a freshman at Ohio University and I am currently enrolled in the University College, my current major is Pre-Engineering and I soon hope to change that to Mechanical Engineering.

I am from Cleveland, Ohio and attended Villa Angela – St. Joseph High School. There I engaged in several activities such as Drama Club, Varsity Bowling, Varsity softball,  Concert/Prep Band, and our school literary magazine Ventures. In the Drama Club I performed in many fall plays and spring musicals, I enjoyed every moment of it and hoped on continuing that when I arrived at Ohio University instead my wandering eye took me to Quidditch! Quidditch is the greatest game ever! It is from the Harry Potter series, it sounds very complicated but it really isn’t, and yes we do have brooms, sadly we do not fly, yet! It’s a great physical contact sport and the players all just a big family who are there to have fun! I am also involved in NSBE, which is the National Society of Black Engineers. I enjoy hanging out with my friends and just having a blast here at OU!

Roller coasters are my passion, anything and everything needed to know about a roller coaster is in my knowledge. I someday would like to design them or the animatronics that associate with the rides. My dream career is to be an Imagineer at Disney! I really enjoy animals, as a child I wanted to be a veterinarian, animals just fascinate me especially dogs! Did you know that dogs originated from wolves? Without wolves there would be no dogs! I enjoy drawing, even though I’m not very good, it’s still a great pastime of mine, along with video games (PlayStation, XBOX, computer, board games, etc.) they are all awesome, and watching movies mainly cartoony or action packed!

One day I inspire to be like my favorite superhero, Tony Stark, better known as, Iron Man! He is just amazing in every way. I admire his vast knowledge of technology, science, and math! I may not be able to build a super high-tech armor that flies around and is super awesome, but I hope to be as knowledgeable as he is!

To sum myself up, I pretty much enjoy everything! I plan to make my years here an enjoyable lifetime memory! I love to live my life as a psychotically organized adventure, something with a set goal, but with freedom to allow anything to make my life even more enjoyably chaotic than it already is!

Stay Cool!

Gabriela Clarke

gabriela_clarkeIndustrial Engineer major. Only child. Single parent household. Half Chilean, though it’s hard to tell.

I try my best. I don’t believe in using your background or your past as an excuse to not try your best. My biggest inspirations would be my mom and my grandfather for those exact reasons. While I believe in fate and the fact that there are some things we as humans just aren’t able to change, I also think that the value of the choices and decisions we make in life have the biggest impact on not only the person we ultimately become but the impact we are able to make on those we’re surrounded with. Obviously some decisions we make in life aren’t always going to be positive, it’s the choices we make after the fact that can put those decisions with our wisdom we gain or our mistakes. Through the Margaret Boyd Scholars program, I want to make an impact. I want to prove that despite obstacles and rough times, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel if you allow, and there is always an opportunity to be more and do more than what was ever expected of you. I’ll try my best to do this.

Be good, do good, stay good.


Bridget Cooper


Being welcomed as a Margaret Boyd Scholar is an absolute dream come true! I am so excited to be a part of this excellent program and get to know the other interesting women that have been accepted. I really look forward to spending time with everyone and sharing memorable experiences in the future.

I like to think my journey of self-discovery began in high school. It was there that I decided academics were a top priority, so I aimed to excel in that field. As a result, I became a member of the National Honor Society as well as the Spanish Honor Society and landed a recurring spot on the honor roll. English, Spanish, and History were always my favorite subjects and these were the classes in which I did best. My love of music and playing the clarinet also pushed me in the right direction. I joined the concert and pep bands, and was at one time a member of the high school marching band while we had it. In addition, I travelled to West Virginia University’s annual honor band each year to play alongside some of the most talented young musicians I have ever had the privilege of meeting. Later, I became a member of the Creative Writing Club and explored this skill of mine and found I had a real passion for it.

When I first came to Ohio University, I wasn’t all that sure what I wanted to do as a career, so I enrolled in the University College. Since the beginning of the fall semester, I have been exploring many different majors to see what is best for me. Just recently, I decided that photography was where my heart had always been and that I wanted to pursue it as my specialty. I grew up taking pictures of so many different things (landscapes, people, and pets) and loved every minute of it; capturing a moment that you can remember for a lifetime is what I admire most.

In addition to photography, some of my other hobbies include hiking, camping, taking road trips and travelling, going to concerts, playing my clarinet, getting lost in a good book, drawing, writing, creating nifty pieces of jewelry, spending time with friends, and watching all different kinds of movies. When it comes to television and films, I am a total nerd. I love seeing a movie with friends and being a part of the fantastic world that the director has concocted. In my free time, I enjoy researching different films and directors and learning all that I can about them.

I have been an Ohio native all my life, and grew up not too far from Athens, right along the Ohio River. Despite this, my family made a habit of leaving the state for vacation. Throughout the years, we have visited Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, both Carolinas, and even Canada to see the beautiful Niagara Falls. A little goal of mine is to someday visit each state and eventually travel overseas (I would love to participate in an education abroad program!). Just last summer, I went parasailing for the first time with my younger sister in Ocean City and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I hope to try some other fun albeit extreme activities in the near future so that I can live my life to the complete fullest, such as bungee jumping and hang gliding.

Some other facts about me:

  • I have been a vegetarian for 5 years.
  • I have an odd fascination with Celtic music that spans nearly ten years.
  • I grew up listening to classic 80’s rock music because my mom is such a hardcore fan, and now I’m hooked on the stuff too. Incidentally, Pat Benatar and Joan Jett are my idols.
  • I am a total animal lover and have had an interesting collection of pets over the years (hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, ferrets, rats, dogs, cats, and countless fish).
  • I love haunted houses and amusement parks.
  • My best friend convinced me to attend OU, and I’m so glad she did.
  • I become incredibly shy around new people, but once you get to know me I open up and become quite talkative.
  • I have a really good friend that lives in England.
  • I prefer to live in the moment.
  • My favorite season is autumn and I enjoy all things that taste or smell like pumpkin.


Alina Freeman

alina_freeman“We learn not for school, but for life.”

As my schools motto I heard this on a daily basis and it was engrained into every part of my education.  My high school became a second home; it’s where I was taught by phenomenal teachers, laughed with brilliant young women, and gained life long memories.  I was given the opportunity to find my voice early on and for that I will forever be grateful. 

My name is Alina Bernice Freeman and I am a pround alumna of Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Although I attended school in Shaker Heights I was born and raised in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  I come from a large family of 7; I have two wonderful parents, two spontaneous little sisters and two handsome brothers.  Both my family and my time at Hathaway Brown hold significant places in my heart because they made me the young women I am today.  During my time at Hathaway Brown I discovered what I truly enjoy and what would be the driving forces behind everything I do. My love for diversity, dance and fashion started off as just interest, but blossomed into so much more. 

In high school I attended the NAIS Student Diversity and Leader Conference for three consecutive years, I was president of our Black Cultural Awareness organization and a member of the Student Diversity Committee.  Going to the conferences and being a part of the clubs meant more to me than just having something to put on an application or a resume.  It meant being an advocate for others who don’t feel safe because they are different from the so called “norm” and being an ally for those who feel as if they have no voice.  Dance has always been an aspect of my life in some way; whether it was African, contemporary or hip hop you could always find me moving.  I traveled to Spain during the summer of 2011 to take classes and perform in Barcelona with other members of the dance department. Dance is a nonverbal way for me to communicate and truly express my feelings.  It is a universal language; no matter where we live in the world dance is a way we can communicate and always understand one another. 

You would think that with so much time spent in school, doing diversity work and dancing that I wouldn’t have time for anything else.  I would almost agree if I didn’t always find some way to squeeze fashion into my life.  I was born into a family of fashionistas and love anything dealing with the fashion industry.  Alongside all of my academic books were piles of Vogue, Nylon and W magazines.  From an early age I knew I was destined to work in the fashion industry because all of my sketch books were full of designs. I had the opportunity of volunteering with Fashion Week Cleveland two years ago and after that experience I knew fashion was my calling. 

Ohio University was a bit overwhelming to a girl coming from an all-girls school with a graduating class of 81 students.  While it did take some time to adjust, I am finding a true home here at OU.  It felt even more like home when the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program came into my life.  I was more than rejoiced when I found out that I was one of the 20 finalist.  I am now able to have a small piece of my all women’s education integrated into my college experience.  I hope to continue my efforts in supporting social justice and spreading diversity during my time at Ohio University.  I have kicked off my first year by attending the 2013 National Women’s Studies Associations Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I am also a member of the Black Student Union and the Black Student Cultural Programing Board. Although I am not a dance major I will definitely continue dancing because I am a member of Athens Black Contemporary Dancers.  I am currently an undecided major because I have so many varying interest.  What I do know is that I will minor in retail management; it is the perfect way for me to incorporate my love for fashion with my academics.  I hope I have given you some insight into who I am. If you would like to know more please email me at! I will now leave you with my favorite quote by Maya Angelou.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.



Bianca Hillier


G’day, mate! Bianca Hillier here. Unfortunately I am not writing this bio from the sunny beaches of my birthplace, Perth, Australia. My South African born and raised parents raised my three older sisters and I in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. My foreign background is omnipresent in my life; whether it is my parents’ accents or the fact that I’ve only met my extended family a few times, having a family tree that spans four continents has shaped me into the young woman I am today by giving me the knowledge of different cultures and that it’s okay to be different.

My high school Saturdays were consumed by Cross Country and Track races, where I was captain during my upperclassmen years. Unfortunately, a chronic shin injury has made running an impossibility for me. In high school, my interests led me to a career as a pharmacist; that, however, was before I took my first journalism class. I joined the school magazine and enrolled in the Broadcast and Video Production class. Before I knew it, I was the good-morning-students-today-is-Tuesday girl on our morning announcements show, Studio112. After initial stage buzz, I fell in love with the other aspects of broadcasting, as well: producing, editing, filming, framing, etc. These fascinations, inevitably, prompted me to stray from any career in the science field, and I found myself declaring my major as “Broadcast Journalism” without having to give it a second thought.

What have I learned as a student at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism? A new definition for the word “busy.” I work at WOUB Public Media, the Emmy Award winning student television station in Athens, where I write and report stories for FM Radio and also anchor the nightly newscast, Newswatch. I also write in the News, Culture, and Column sections for Speakeasy Magazine, an online student publication for the university. Furthermore, serving on the executive board for OU’s chapter of the Radio and Television Digital News Association has provided me with the leadership role I so much enjoy having.

In the third week of college, I was accepted to the JFreshmen Newsroom program along with 19 other aspiring freshman journalists. My fellow students and I aim to inform and entertain the Bobcat family through an interactive multimedia platform, This program has fine-tuned my journalism skills, setting the stage for a brighter future than I could have imagined at the beginning of the year.

As for the future, my dream jobs include working for 20/20, 60 Minutes and the Today Show. Why? These shows are centered on people spanning the entirety of the world. I so desire to live a fascinating, ever-changing life; what better way to accomplish that than to travel the world and hear other peoples’ stories? I’m honored to be a part of the inaugural class of Margaret Boyd Scholars, where the stories of the 19 other young women inspire me to continue on with my dreams, because, as one of my favorite quotes states: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”
What’s your story? Let’s chat! Feel free to email me at 

Alexa Hoynacke

alexa_hoynackeAlexa Hoynacke is a freshman in the Russ College of Engineering at Ohio University, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. She graduated from Charles F. Brush High School in Lyndhurst, Ohio in the top 5% of her class academically. She was Vice President of Brush’s National Honors Society and participated in various community service clubs such as Key Club International. Alexa was also a co-founder of Brush’s first diversity club, C.A.R.E (Cultural Awareness Race and Equality), as well as being a student senator for Facing History and Ourselves. Alexa has been a competitive swimmer for almost 15 years, while in high school, qualifying for districts for three consecutive years. She also lifeguards and is a Swim Instructor. Since attending Ohio University Alexa has gotten involved in various clubs. She is a member of Habitat for Humanity and a member of Ohio University’s Society for Women Engineers. She is also involved with Ohio University’s Outdoor Pursuits where she is an active member of the rock climbing community and participates in other trips such as hiking and white water rafting. When she is not busy with school and a variety of other activities, Alexa enjoys photography along with being outdoors as much as possible. She is very excited to continue her amazing journey at Ohio University and start a new chapter with the Margret Boyd Scholars Program. 


Gracie Keyes

grace_keyesMeet me, Grace Keyes, the product of two amazing human beings: my father, Maurice Keyes, and my mother, Kimberly Keyes. My father gave me his height and amazing taste in music, while my mother gave me her quirky personality and eternal empathy for all living things. I have a sister too - she’s pretty awesome. Her name is Caroline and she’s a senior here at Ohio University. We’re polar opposites but we share the same love for cats and our beloved Athens, Ohio.

I hail from sunny Mansfield, Ohio. Mansfield’s not so bad. Shawshank Redemption and one of Lil Wayne’s music videos was shot in the Mansfield Reformatory - pretty cool, right? From kindergarten to my senior year I studied in the Mansfield City Schools District. City Schools gave me so many rewarding experiences and lessons that have reciprocated into life after Mansfield. I was active in student council, varsity soccer, French Club, and Key Club for all four years of high school. In addition, I served as a student ambassador for a series of teleconferences with peers from Mansfield, Ohio’s sister city: Mansfield, West-Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom. I swam on swim team from the time I was five to my sophomore year. Soccer was more of my thing, though. You can’t be physical while doing laps in a pool – it can get a little boring.

Ever since I can remember I have been concerned about the environment. When I was fourteen I cleaned up a waste-ridden slope by the local Value City in Mansfield. When different environmental expeditions I completed weren’t enough, I decided to take my passions to college. I am an Environmental Pre-Law and Global Studies: War and Peace double major. For me, Global Studies is a perfect complement to Environmental Pre-Law. The world is becoming more globalized and with that comes bigger environmental issues. Throughout the first semester here at OU, I spent my Wednesday nights at the Athena watching sustainability films being screened. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine a university and city so cohesive with my academic pursuits. I absolutely love it.

My love for international relations materialized with the aforementioned sister city experience. It was amazing to talk to people my age with almost identical concerns about cost of education, gun laws, and health care – to name a few. I also travelled to Italy and France my senior year of high school which piqued my interest in the world even further. I was always intrigued by travelling and experiencing different cultures, but was never sure how I could harness my interests in an academic way. When I discovered the Center for Global Studies here at OU, I was set. I chose to study Global Studies: War and Peace because it’s just like international politics - politics has always captured my interests. Listening to CSPAN and NPR really fires me up sometimes (you can laugh, it’s OK). I decided to get an International Cultural Understanding Certificate here at OHIO during fall semester through the Ohio Program for Intensive English (OPIE). The experience was very, very rewarding.  The process for receiving the certificate was very simple and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in different cultures and meeting new friends!

In my spare time I love to workout, explore Athens, read, and listen to music as loud as it will go, but my all time favorite thing to do is go to the movies. There’s something about a good movie with buttery popcorn and a pack of Twizzlers that is absolutely unparalleled. Along with being a Margaret Boyd Scholar, I am involved in a couple student organizations: Ohio Global Studies Union (OGSU), and the International Affairs Commission under the Student Senate in which I am an intern!

Hannah Kingsbury


Hey ya’ll, my name is Hannah Jean Kingsbury and I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. I come from a family of five, including my parents Mike and Holly, as well as my older brother Aaron and my three-legged Great Dane/ Lab mix, Stanley. Louisville, most commonly known for Slugger baseball bats, horse racing, and bourbon is also home to the University of Louisville Cardinals. Being a Cards fan has become difficult as I have recently joined the Bobcat family, but I’m making it work. I’m actually somewhat of a shoe fiend and my closet is currently home to over a hundred pairs. I may be a southern bell, but I’m a hippie at heart. I love animals, but I hate spiders. I’ve never broken a bone, *knock on wood*. I’m deathly afraid of cotton balls. I can never pass up a good T.V series. I’m a natural blonde. I have webbed toes. Coffee is my lifeline. I’m hard headed and stubborn. I like competition--maybe a little too much. And I never regret anything. “The more you are like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique,” -Walt Disney.

Among my favorite accomplishments are being a Bronze and Silver award winner as well as a camp counselor in the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, which has helped shape my love for the outdoors. I hope to incorporate my love for nature in my future career as a documentary filmmaker. I created my first documentary in 2013 which explored the graffiti scene in my local community. It was an amazing opportunity to explore an entirely new world right outside my front door. My most defining trait by far would be that I am a student-athlete. I have played an array of sports throughout school years including a short lived and sad softball career, becoming a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and being able to some-what snowboard. But my real passion is field hockey. I picked up my first stick in second grade and by middle school I was playing on a national level. Through my time in high school I helped my team to our first ever state championship, four district championship, and a national ranking of #19. I was also named to the 2013 NFHCA Midwest All-Region Team and competed in the AAU Junior Olympics in 2012. Now I am fortunate enough to play NCAA Division I field hockey for Ohio University.

I’m excited to be a part of the inaugural class of the Margaret Boyd Scholar program and hope to benefit from the diversity this group of girls beholds. If you ever want to meet for coffee feel free to email me at


Nora Kornelakis

nora_kornelakisBonjour tout le monde! My name is Nora Kathleen Alexis Kornelakis, and no, no one actually calls me by my full name, it’s just really fun to say super fast, so go ahead and give it a try! I am also not in any way the slightest bit French, but I am a little too obsessed with the French culture for my own good, which probably explains my passion for traveling and embracing other cultures in every way possible. 

I was born and raised in a suburb of Cleveland, called Parma. I attended a private grade school as well as a private high school all within 10 minutes of my home. I was raised in a household with just my dad and older brother so naturally I would consider myself somewhat of a tomboy, which also explains why I spent almost all of my free time growing up playing soccer and basketball with my brother and all of his friends. I think living in the same city my whole life surrounded by a lot of the same people is what sparked my desire to travel the globe and experience new things.

I was extremely involved all throughout high school in extracurricular activities such as being the French club president. I also developed other interests outside of the classroom such as things like fashion, art history, and design work. I recently was able to explore these interests further when I interned at the World Market headquarters in Oakland California for summer.

I am currently undecided at Ohio University but I am leaning towards a major in International Business with a minor in French. That could all be subject to change because I have a great track record of changing my mind, but I ensure you that the indecisiveness does not come from uncertainty but a problem I have with finding anything and everything way too interesting, well, except for math of course.

There is nothing more I want than to end up in the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of ” also known as, New York City, after I graduate from Ohio University. I cannot wait to walk the streets of Manhattan and live in a tiny studio apartment that probably costs an arm and a leg, and yes, maybe I have been watching Sex and the City way too much but living there has always been a dream of mine.

I am so happy I chose to attend Ohio University, where the opportunities for young women like myself are endless. I am even more excited to share this journey with 19 other intellectual women by being apart of the inaugural class of the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program. I am anxious to see what the future holds and am beyond grateful for this outstanding opportunity. 


Rachel Marison

rachel_marisonAs one of the few Bobcats from out of state, I have felt at home since I visited OU almost two years ago.  When I’m not at OU, my home is Lake Villa, Illinois, a small northern suburb outside of Chicago.  I have a younger sister who is a junior in high school. My parents, my sister and I are all very close. Interestingly, I am very much like my father in that I am adventurous and don’t mind getting dirty.  I grew up riding ATVs and motorcycles and love to go shooting at the range. I am very outgoing like my family and we often have parties and get-togethers with friends and family.  Prior to coming to OU, I attended Lakes Community High School, where I played tennis, softball and was the manager for the boys wrestling team.  My summers were filled with sports, babysitting, and working at Six Flags Great America as a lifeguard.

One of my favorite quotes is by an author and historian. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich said, “Well behaved women seldom make history”. I love this quote, not for the impression that women try and misbehave, but for the notion that sometimes women need to step outside of their social norms to make a difference.

The northern suburbs of Chicago are quite a distance away from Athens. However, I decided to travel 500 miles to Ohio to create a very unconventional major. Currently, I am pursuing a BSS major in Counter-terrorism and Security Studies. Many people have asked why I chose such a major. My dad was my inspiration for such a decision. When I was in third grade he was deployed to Afghanistan for 14 months after the attacks of 9/11. Everything in my life changed. My dad came home after those long 14 months. However, others did not. It was shortly after his return that I decided to pursue a career in the Federal Bureau of Investigations or the Central Intelligence Agency to prevent any other such attacks.

I am thrilled to be a Margaret Boyd Scholar, along with these other exceptional women.  As the first woman graduate of OU, Margaret Boyd was clearly a strong woman and an inspiration.  I grew up around strong women and hope to instill an increased sense of confidence in the OU women around me. 



Stacey Mbelle


Habari gani. My name is Stacey Shariffa Mbelle. I was born and raised in Kenya, a place called Mlolongo a semi arid dry land mostly known as the location for the Jomo Kenyatta International airport.  I am of the Taveta and Kamba communities. My culture diversity has made me a big part of who I am now. Growing up as part of two very rich, very different cultures has definitely made my life interesting. For a very long time my Taveta culture influenced me more than my kamba community. It being my father’s tribe. I love reading inspiring books and quotes, I love listening to and making music and having down time with friends. I am very outgoing and definitely love being with people.

Growing up I knew that I wanted to be something more. More than what I saw everyday at home, more than what I saw in the village, more than what I saw on TV. You would say that I have a typical African child’s story, something tragic happens in the family and decides to be a doctor to help save lives. Some of it is true about my life but there is nothing typical about it. I live for the day and for the future. I believe very highly in an Almighty God and miracles. Truthfully the Lord has seen me through all my days and he has me right where I am meant to be. I am a living testimony. A testimony of faith and hope and love. Ever since I was a little girl I looked at the world a little bit differently, not as a place of sorrow and hardship but as a place of opportunity and success. Growing up without my mother or father was hard but I had family.  A family who would do anything for us and took great care of my sister and I back in Kenya. When I came to America with my sister I knew life would change. For the better or for the worse. It was my turn to write my own destiny.

As a Margaret Boyd Scholar I am looking forward to making this chapter of my life one of the most inspiring chapters. I believe in strength of the mind and that whatever life throws at you, you need grab it, seize it, for it is yours and only you can determine what happens to it, bad or good.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself” – George Bernard Shaw  


Jessany Middleton

jessany_middletonI love being a Bobcat! I knew from my first day on campus that OHIO was where I'm meant to be, a belief that's strengthened by my acceptance to the Boyd Scholars Program! This year promises to be full of new discoveries, insights, and personal growth. I can't wait!

A few facts about me:

  • I love reaching out to new people and exploring the unknown, and I'm sure being a part of the inaugural class of Boyd Scholars will help me learn and grow in so many ways over the next four years. I can't wait to see the person I become!  
  • Travel is my life. There is nothing in this world I'd rather spend my time and money on than traversing the globe, seeing new places, meeting new people. I was an exchange student to Germany my junior year of high school, an experience that completely molded and shaped me into the person I am today in every possible way, and I've been hooked ever since. One of my goals is to study abroad for at least one semester, and volunteer in another country over summer or winter break.
  • My dad is a reggae musician, and music has been a huge part of my life since birth. I love all types of music, but especially rock and reggae.
  • I am a life-long vegetarian. When I lived in Germany I did eat some meat, at my hostfamily's request, but I prefer a mostly meat-free diet. 
  • Theatre is one of my favorite pastimes. I attended an inner-city school for the arts, where I developed a portfolio of monologues, scene work, and production performance. My senior year, I took a group scene from the female version of The Odd Couple to the State Thespian Conference, where we received all superior ratings.  
  • My favorite color is blue, my favorite food is any Indian dish with paneer in it, I'm afraid of heights, though try to challenge this fear when I can, and I've never watched an entire football game in my life.
  • I'm an undecided major, mostly because I have way too many interests! Following my love of travel, a major in International Relations or German is very appealing, but I also really enjoy Biology, Geology, Anthropology, Sociology, the list goes on and on! I'm hoping experiences in and out of the classroom can help me make my decision in the coming year.
  • I live in the fabulous Johnson Hall on East Green, the self-proclaimed "Best Place on Earth." My roommate, though we selected randomly, is my best friend on campus, and the reason I even applied to the Boyd Program.
  • I may or may not be the world's worst procrastinator.

Emily Quinn

emily_quinn“Nitwit. Blubber. Oddment. Tweak.

                   -Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore

My name is Emily Quinn. I’m an 18 year old girl from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and I am lucky enough to be a part of the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program. I am an undecided student at Ohio University, which, if you knew me, is quite fitting. I can’t choose what color I’m going to paint my nails, let alone the major that will dictate the careers I am eligible for in my adulthood. I am using my freshman year to explore my main interests – gender studies and film. While I’m still not sure whether or not I want to pursue these interests, I have been enjoying my exploration. I’ve joined several groups on campus that have helped me on my way.

I want to expand the world we live in now. My political beliefs and convictions are very important to me and play a big role in my life. For example, feminism is obviously relevant to me and my experiences. I refuse to idly stand by while the world stagnates around me – I want to be a part of the movement. My gender studies class and the clubs I am a part of have opened up a world of opportunity for me. I would love to be more involved in activism and the causes I believe in.

Growing up I was a very bookish child. I’ve read the Harry Potter series an unspeakable amount of times and I’ve always been able to connect with fictional characters exceptionally well. As a child, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were three of my best friends. They inspired me to try step out of my comfort zone, and they still do. Fiction has always been an enormously influential part of my life. I am constantly finding myself inspired by movies, tv shows, and literature. I aspire to join the ranks of authors and cinematographers. I want to create worlds for the next generation of Emily Quinns to take refuge in.

At any given moment I can be found watching a movie on my laptop, watching a TV show on my laptop, or reading a book. I’m in the front room in Baker Center more than I am in my dorm, so I can guarantee you’ll see me there. Chances are I’ll be doing one of the aforementioned things instead of the homework I should probably be doing instead. So to wrap this up, I’ll leave you with a few facts about myself and one more quote from the greatest wizard who ever lived.

I play the alto saxophone. I am allergic to cats, but I plan on owning one as soon as I can. I once met Emma Watson. I’ve never seen Star Wars. My favorite movie is The Breakfast Club. I love Game of Thrones. And I am one degree of separation away from President Barack Obama.

“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”

            -Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore


Zulfa Rizqiya

zulfa_rizqiyaThis day in age, it is common for us to summarize our thoughts in 140 characters or less.  As fond as I am of Twitter, it would be impossible for me to describe myself in such a constraint. Actually, it is possible, but it would be a travesty, especially if I were to use hashtags. Not to worry, this is a hashtag-free biography.

My name is Zulfa Rizqiya, pronounced (zoo-fa) (riz-key-uh).  I am an Athens, Ohio native, and a fortunate one at that. When my parents immigrated to the United States from Indonesia in 1991, Athens welcomed them with more than enough love to last to this day.  Having spent my entire life in this college town and inevitably enrolling in Ohio University, I claim to know everything there is to know about this town. Nonetheless, Athens continues to surprise me, with one of the best surprises being the introduction of the Boyd Scholars Program at OU. It is an absolute honor to be a member of the inaugural class! I look forward to learning, discovering, and growing alongside my fellow scholars!

I spent my high school years involved in an array of extracurricular activities. I played soccer as a midfielder, but experimented with every position (besides goalie due to my lack of hand-eye coordination); sang in the Symphonic Choir as music has always been a love of mine; dabbled in guitar because of said love and made a one-time-only appearance at the annual Battle of the Bands with my makeshift band; and proudly served as a member of Student Council for three years.

Additionally, I utilized the array of electives offered at my high school in an attempt to decide a major for the near future. My curiosity and interests know no bounds, and I found myself taking classes ranging from architectural drafting to anatomy. My attempts were to no avail as I was unable to pin down one field of interest, rather several. Nonetheless, I am majoring in Strategic Communications at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Having found I enjoyed serving as a vessel for communication between my class and Student Council, and my education and experience as a Strategic Communications major could be utilized in conjunction with other fields, I now confidently declare my major.

On a weekly basis, I can be found consuming at least seven cups of green tea; reading articles on culture, art, and fashion (a recent favorite being Rookie); attempting to execute DIYs or recipes found online exactly as they appear; listening to BBC Radio 1 to discover new artists; and getting a thrill out of finding good deals on eBay.  It is not uncommon to find me gazing off into the distance, consumed by wanderlust, as I have not yet had the opportunity to travel abroad.  Ultimately, I’m attracted to the idea of spontaneously immersing myself into places or activities outside of my comfort zone, as I believe these experiences are the most valuable in my person growth.

Now that I’m not a complete stranger to you, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to contact me at






Sara Sand

sara_sandDuring an a relaxing afternoon by the lake when I was four-years old, I turned to my mother and said “Hey Mom, watch this.” As I pointed my toe out in front of me, my mother watched calmly as she expected me to begin an Irish jig that I had seen my sister do some many times. Instead, I flung my foot behind me, flipped forward, and ended sitting in the sand. When my mother asked why I did tried that, I simply responded “I thought of it, so I tried.”  Throughout my childhood here in Athens, Ohio, I always wanted to try the next challenge that came to mind. I always wanted to show people that I could do what they thought I couldn’t do. Instead of sitting in the armchair to watch television I would stand on my head. Instead of playing with my Happy Meal toy, I wanted to take it apart and figure out how it worked.

After watching me fall off too many monkey bars, my mother enrolled me in my first gymnastics class when I was six years old. Not only did she introduce me to a sport with which I would fall in love, but she introduced me to people that would shape my life in incredible ways. Through this sport I found people to inspire me to do far more than I ever thought that I could. This sport taught me self-motivation, time management, perseverance, and so many more of the inspiring words that my third grade teacher had plastered on her walls.  But more than anything, this sport taught me to be leader and to strive to inspire people through everyday actions. This led me to be team Captain for two years and even to be president of my church youth group.

But I never simply wanted to go through the motions that my coach told me to do. I wanted  to know why all of the body position and correctly applied forces made me do amazing flips. I wanted to know the physics behind it all. When I started my junior year of high school, I realized that I finally needed to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had always loved taking toys apart to understand how they worked and my favorite classes became my AP physics class and my math analysis class. I finally realized that through the study of engineering and physics, I could, not only study something that I found fascinating, but also make a transformative difference in the development of our world.

I am now an engineering physics major in the Honors Tutorial Program hear at Ohio University. I am continuing to coach gymnastics at Global Gymnastics, fully realizing that this sport could shape these young gymnasts to the same degree that it shaped me. I also am looking forward to new projects such as the Kanawha Climate Change Literacy project, possible research involvement, and hopefully study abroad opportunities. I hope that I will eventually be able to use my scientific and leadership skills to change the utility of solar cells and make enormous strides in solving the planet’s energy problems.

Claire Seid

claire_seidSmall children love me; I don't like dogs. I'm a daring pie smith (fruit, not cream). I knit subversively. Gray is my favorite color. I've worked at an alternative school, spent my teen years in a hoop skirt as a historical interpreter, and am currently an artists model. I entertain like it's 1955. I've traveled alone through the seedy underbelly of urban Canada, I'm a hardboiled investigator of sociological principles, and I'm proud to be a Margaret Boyd Scholar. 







Madeleine Toerne


Seymour Glass, an eccentric character in J.D. Salinger’s Raise High the Roof Beams, Carpenters, wrote: “I am a kind of paranoid in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.”  I find this quote easy to identify with because of its humour and optimism.  I am Madeleine Toerne, and I am a very happy human being. 

I grew up in Walbridge, a small town in Northwest Ohio.  As an adolescent, I often complained about not living in the suburbs with most of my grade-school friends, however I am grateful now for the creative and adventurous qualities I have adopted because of the freedom of country living.  My neighbors and my brother and I spent our young lives riding bicycles, making home movies in our yards, and hiking down by the creek. 

At Ohio University, I’ll still be found on my bicycle and adventuring along the Hocking River.  Indoors, I love to read, listen to music, and chat and laugh with my buddies. My favorite musician is Joni Mitchell and my favorite book is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Marquez.  On weekdays I’ll be in Ellis Hall analyzing Shakespeare or McCracken Hall discussing teaching techniques.  I am a Secondary English Education Major, with a double minor in English and Communications.  After being the pupil of a handful of very influential and very intelligent teachers at St. Ursula Academy, the all girls private school I attended, I discovered that my life’s purpose is to inspire young people to foster a desire for learning just as I have been inspired to do.  To me, the most rewarding life experiences are ones where we are expanding our knowledge by learning something new about either ourselves or our universe. Because as John Dewey expressed so factually, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” I am extremely grateful that the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program has chosen to guide and assist me in my educational journey. 


Erin Webb

erin_webb I must admit that writing is not my forte and this is something like my 38th attempt at writing this biography, so I think I’ll start with a few general things about myself. My parents are Steve and Lisa Webb. I was born in Reynoldsburg Ohio, though we recently moved to Pataskala Ohio. I graduated from the Reynoldsburg eStem academy, where I studied in the Design (engineering) Capstone. I love to travel and learn about different people and cultures. Though admittedly I am somewhat shy until I get to know the people I am around. I do enjoy a good book though when I watch one episode of SVU I watch three. My favorite colors are Blue and Green and I love dogs, and horses.  I am a Biological Sciences (pre-professional track) Major, hopefully on my way to medical school, and I could not be more excited to be a Margaret Boyd Scholar.

I remember my first day on campus, I was scared beyond belief. I was afraid that I wouldn’t make any friends, being stuck in a single, That I wouldn’t be able to handle my classes, and that I would spend my days in my room.  Looking back on that though now I realize how short sighted I had been.  I am simply not that kind of person, and I love being at Ohio University, Plus now I am a Margaret Boyd scholar! I also see now that being scared is normal and I am stronger because of it. I Believe that a person changes, but not because parts of us die but because new additions become more relevant or important to us. With each new lesson we get molded a little closer to the person we are and that molding never stops. Each new addition just adds to the old. My senior year of high school really added to the curious side of myself. I participated in an engineering capstone through the eStem academy of my school and basically played with robots all day. Though I do not think I would be best suited in an engineering career it did help solidify my plans to become a doctor. I love science and technology and particularly how things work together and interact with each other, much the way the human body does. Even as a little girl I was curious about the field of medicine. Whenever I saw someone who was hurt I would ask them how they got hurt and what was wrong with them. I was the Dr. Erin of our household I loved giving people their medicine and bandaging wounds (while pretending to perform surgery). These experiences molded into me the willingness to love and help others, a thirst for knowledge, and to never stop learning from those who came before you. I try to view every experience I have as a building experience, whether good or bad it molds me into a better person because I choose to learn from it. There are many years of learning still ahead of me and the rest is still unwritten. I am very excited that, for at least the next four years of my life, the experiences and friends I will make through the Margaret Boyd scholars Program will help mold me into the woman I was meant to be.

Leah Wilson

leah_wilsonMy life in the past year has consisted of the following: memorizing the location of every single country in the world, spray painting on cardboard, consuming Lay’s Hickory BBQ chips, working countless hours as a babysitter and a student secretary, learning to sing and play guitar simultaneously, playing obscure songs on piano and violin, traveling 3000 miles out west in a red minivan, tearing it up on my high school’s boys JV tennis team (not really though, only 3rd singles every now and again), and playing fetch with the love of my life – my dog, Winnie. So, yeah, I’ve been pretty busy. As of recently, I have added to the list as I found out that I have been given the honor and privilege of being one of the twenty girls selected for the inaugural class of Margaret Boyd Scholars. It’s funny how I even came to be here. One of my friends casually mentioned this program to me and I thought, “Yeah, that would be kinda cool,” but was uncertain with this being my first semester here at OU and being busy pursuing degrees in both Geography and Studio Art. I applied thinking there was nothing to lose by doing so. As the process began to start moving along, I realized how much I needed this program in my life. I knew that being a scholar would make me a stronger, more confident woman and that it would give me a greater sense of purpose on campus. Somehow I lucked out and was called in for an interview. A few weeks later, I found out I was selected for the Margaret Boyd Program. I called my mom, screaming and jumping around, saying, “I can’t believe it!!! I made it!” With my admittance to the Margaret Boyd Program, it is my goal to prove to myself that I have the capacity to make a positive difference for other students at Ohio University and for the rest of the world as well.

As for my background outside of the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program, I am from Lancaster, Ohio—a town that is about 45 minutes north of Athens. I come from a family of six (including myself), with three wonderful younger siblings that inspire me every day, and two devoted parents who have shown us unconditional love and support throughout the years. The majority of my childhood, I attended summer camp at Alley Park – a beautiful park near Lancaster. Over the years, I hiked many miles, learned a ton of goofy, cute camp songs (“The Little Green Frog” is my favorite), and made many friends and memories. But the most valuable thing I took from the experience was developing a fond appreciation of nature. I love hiking, camping, biking, going on walks, and just anything that lets me be in the great outdoors. Because of that love, I want to be an urban planner, focusing on utilizing the resources we already have, and bringing in more green space to cities all over the world. I’ve realized that my purpose in life is to preserve that beauty for future generations.

In high school, I was a four-year member of the percussion section of the Lancaster High School Band of Gold, and had the opportunity to be a section leader for my last two years there. I was also a three year member of the LHS Percussion Ensemble and had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans to perform for a Rotary convention along with the rest of my percussion friends. Senior year, I played on the JV boys’ tennis team and had a blast, despite it being my first and last season.

I was in post-secondary for my junior and senior years of high school and attended OU-Lancaster and earned 56 credits toward graduation. So, I am technically a junior as of this spring with all of my credits. As I previously mentioned, I came here to OU to major in geography, and eventually added studio art to the mix because of how many credits I had previously earned. Upon my graduation, I intend to go to grad school to master in Sustainable Urban and Regional Planning.

While my past was busy and exciting, my future is sure to be even brighter with my admittance to this wonderful group of women. Sharing my OU experience with my Margaret Boyd sisters is an inspiration, and will always give me another reason to wake up each day and do my best at all I take on. 

Boyd Scholars Title Image