Ohio University

New cohort of Margaret Boyd Scholars reflect on program’s impact

Published: February 16, 2021 Author: Mellisa Goodnite

Ohio University’s Margaret Boyd Scholars Program (MBSP) inspires undergraduate women to become engaged, self-confident and connected leaders. 

“These students were selected for this year’s class of Margaret Boyd Scholars because, like Margaret herself, they are pushing boundaries, exploring and reimagining their respective fields and their place within them,” said Kathy Fahl, interim associate dean of students and director of the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program. 

The program offers a wide range of experience for both personal and professional growth, not to mention the immense community that inspires both creativity and connection among members. 

“Each year we look forward to empowering a new group of diverse students by connecting them with resources and people interested in their growth as scholars and human beings,” Fahl said.

The Margaret Boyd Scholars Program is open to students from all colleges and majors. Scholars are encouraged to pursue other interests, including study abroad, athletics and involvement in campus and community organizations.

“It has been so difficult, as an out-of-state, socially distanced freshman to make friends, but the program has offered an outlet to do so. All of the other scholars are so friendly and so engaging,” said Isabel Alvarez, a first-year student and Margaret Boyd Scholar. 

Alverez can see the importance of connection among fellow scholars. The MBSP also creates an incredible support network, as it helps push students forward while making many lifelong friends.

“I am the only daughter and the only granddaughter amongst two brothers and six grandsons. It was common that I was the only girl in a room. Because of this, I valued the relationships I had with the women in my life. Being a part of an organization that uplifts and supports women felt like the perfect opportunity to start building connections with the other women at Ohio University,” said Samantha Schimmoller, also a first-year student and MBSP scholar.

Connection for Schimmoller, and many other scholars, is so important. Students must navigate their college experience, and MBSP ensures they do not have to do it alone. MBSP offers a network of peers to help students create lasting friendships that curate foundations of leadership and growth of self-confidence. 

“MBSP is a community filled with love and support. We celebrate each other’s accomplishments and uplift those of us who may be going through difficult times,” Schimmoller said.

MBSP involves a first-year seminar focused on professional development, meaningful engagement and leadership skills. The seminar offers a great way to stay engaged with the community and learn about the vast amount of opportunities available to the scholars as women and students. 

“I was shocked by the excitement and willingness to participate, and we got to have some excellent conversations,” Alvarez said.

“For the first seminar, we read a piece called ‘Claiming an Education’ by Adrienne Rich about the importance of putting effort into one’s education in which she poses that ‘the difference is that between acting and being acted upon, and for women it can literally mean the difference between life and death.’ That is absolutely something that I feel I’ll carry with me throughout my academic career,” Alvarez added. 

The program provides a space for students to help each other break down barriers to their personal and professional achievements. 

“MBSP has taught me that I have control over my professional development. It has given me the confidence to apply for internships and other opportunities when I might have previously thought I was underqualified,” Schimmoller said.  

Applications for the next cohort of scholars will open this summer.