Tanya Barnett, left, and Patti McSteen

Tanya Barnett, left, and Patti McSteen co-direct the Margaret Boyd Scholars program, OHIO’s first women’s scholars program.

Photographer: Karissa Conrad

Featured Stories

Women staff at OHIO establish, co-direct and support new women’s scholars program

A true pioneer for women at Ohio University, Margaret Boyd was Ohio University’s first female graduate in 1873. A new scholars program created in honor of Boyd encourages undergraduate women to become engaged, confident and empowered leaders on campus.  

The Margaret Boyd Scholars Program—the university’s first scholars program of its kind—will name its first scholars later this semester. Scholars begin participating in the program spring semester, 2014. The program was supported by OHIO’s 1804 Fund and is a collaboration between the Division of Student Affairs, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion and University College. Additional general support for the program is provided by the newly established Margaret Boyd Scholars Support Fund, said Patricia McSteen, associate dean of students and director of the program. McSteen and program co-founder and Director of Degree Programs at University College Tanya Barnett both contributed to the fund.  

“The Margaret Boyd Scholars Program is a one-of-a-kind program at Ohio University,” Barnett said. “We hope this program creates a ripple effect for others at OHIO. The Margaret Boyd Scholars Program encourages undergraduate women to be agents of change for good at OHIO and to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”

“We hope that people will choose to donate to the Margaret Boyd Scholars Support Fund,” McSteen said. “Support for the program will enable us to continue to honor the legacy of Margaret Boyd and provide academic enrichment opportunities for OHIO women to be leaders at Ohio University and beyond,” McSteen said.

The four-year program aims to enroll 20 students each year and have a total of 80 scholars enrolled by 2016. The program will provide different opportunities for the scholars each year such as a first-year seminar; a second year customized residential experience, a third-year internship or education abroad opportunity and a fourth-year capstone seminar. All first-year, female students on the Athens campus are eligible to apply to become a Margaret Boyd Scholar.

“The basis of the program is to help develop women as leaders on campus and beyond through opportunity, access, mentoring and networking,” McSteen said. “I chose to donate to the program to provide financial support for the education abroad or internship opportunity.”

Barnett agrees that the education abroad experience is an important component of the program.

“Leipzig, Germany holds tremendous potential as a study abroad destination for the Boyd Scholars, as there is a strong and dynamic partnership already in place between Ohio University and the University of Leipzig,” Barnett said. “Additionally Germany provides an exemplary model of women in leadership, with Chancellor Angela Merkel leading the country and Professor Beate Schücking leading the University of Leipzig. Studying abroad in Germany would provide the Boyd Scholars with the experience of lifetime.”

Closer to home, scholars will be encouraged to pursue outside leadership and volunteer opportunities within the Athens campus and community, McSteen said.

“We will strive to create a diverse cohort where the women will learn from and support one another while engaging our faculty, staff, students and alumni. We look to choose women to participate who are active agents of change on campus,” she said. “We hope that women will be involved in other things on campus such as athletics, Greek life, student senate, various community service, undergraduate research and more.”

Barnett and McSteen’s gifts are part of Ohio University's The Promise Lives Campaign, which seeks to raise $450 million by June 30, 2015, and already has secured more than $438 million toward its goal in support of students, faculty, programs, partnerships and select facilities at Ohio University. Learn more at www.ohio.edu/campaign.