Boyd Scholars 2017-2018

Jamie clarkson

Jamie Clarkson

My name is Jamie Clarkson, and I was born and raised just outside Lancaster, Ohio. I graduated with distinction from Fairfield Union High School, but I followed a non-traditional education experience. I have always pursued something more for myself, and I decided to begin my higher education a few years early. I attended Ohio University-Lancaster my junior and senior year of high school. I learned a lot in my experience there and I feel it shaped me to the determined person I am today.

I am a first generation student pursuing a degree in Journalism: News and Information specializing in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I ultimately want to work reporting on global women’s issues, bringing attention, justice, and change to those facing oppression.

In high school, I was involved in the music program, participating in every ensemble I could. My passion was mainly in instrumental performance, which I decided to pursue in college. I am a proud member of the Marching 110. I am lucky to be able to continue my love for musical performance through college.

I am very family-oriented. I am the youngest of three, and I idolize both of my sisters. I respect Cassie for her pursuit of knowledge, creativity, and adventurous heart; and I admire Jessica for her wisdom, sincerity, and accepting nature. I am grateful to my parents for giving us every opportunity to succeed. As for my nieces and nephews, I love them very much and I am doing my best to be a role model for them, as my family has been for me.

The Margaret Boyd Scholars program is an amazing achievement for me. I look forward to where it will take me!

caroline craig-bowden

Caroline Craig-Bowden

Hello! My name is Caroline Craig-Bowden and I am studying Early Childhood Education and hope to minor in German at Ohio University. I grew up in the small village of Sunbury, which is only 30 minutes north of Columbus, with two loving and encouraging parents and an older sister who just graduated from Miami University. My mother was not only a parent but my German teacher for all four years of my high school career (no, I was not given a choice regarding what language I studied in high school). Yes, it was a strange experience but one I quickly adapted too. My mother’s passion for teaching was evident in the classroom and she encouraged me to pursue an education career. Through a program she created at the high school, I was able to travel to elementary schools once a week in the Spring time and teach German. I loved making lesson plans, presenting them in the classroom, and the variability and challenge of adapting the lessons for different learners. I found my own passion for teaching through the program. 

The Margaret Boyd Scholars Program is one that reminded me greatly of HOBY (the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference) which is a conference I had the honor of attending my junior year of high school. The conference emphasized the importance of leadership and using that leadership to inspire others in charity and volunteering. The experience was life changing and brought about live-long friendships. Through this program, I hope to make live-long friendships as well and challenge and be challenged to build on to important life skills by the other women selectively chosen to represent Ohio University. 

On another note, one could often find me at Ping recreational center on campus because of the passion I have for lifting and running. I have run two half-marathons and hope to train for and run a full marathon. I ran cross country for 6 years and track for 4 years in grade school. I have been lifting consistently for a year now and enjoy feeling stronger and seeing the progress one bit at a time. Lifting, for me, helps me to reach beyond my physical and mental boundaries every single day.

I cannot wait to see what opportunities this program has to offer!

aleah cumberbatch

Aleah Cumberbatch

Hi, I’m Aleah. I was born and raised in the beautiful twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Yes, I traded the Caribbean sunshine and beaches for cold, winter days in Ohio, but I’m sure that my OU experience will be worth it. I am often described as shy, when initially meeting someone, but rest assured that after a month of knowing me, you’ll be introduced to my loud laughter and cheesy jokes.

I am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I would ultimately like to study Law, and hope that my psychology degree will help me to understand the human mind and patterns of behavior. During my first semester at OU, I became a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, with the intention of building my network, learning more about the law, and understanding what is required to prepare for law school. Of course, I’ve also watched every episode of Suits!

I love music and the performing arts! It is likely that you’ll see me around campus with my headphones, bobbing my head, tapping my toes or lip syncing. I love watching musicals, and, during my last summer vacation, I had the pleasure of performing in my first musical here in Athens. It was an awesome experience, and I hope to become involved in the fine arts here at Ohio University.

During high school, I developed a passion for volleyball, and have now been playing the sport for seven years. Playing sports has always been a major part of my life and I am always willing to learn and play a new one.

I look forward to being a Boyd Scholar. It has been a dream of mine to one day form an organization that encourages young girls to pursue their dreams, despite restrictions imposed by society. Through this network of positive women, I hope to gain the confidence and leadership skills needed to encourage and support other young women.

Through participating in a leadership program here at OU, I learned the importance of having a personal motto. I created my own, which is “To seek knowledge and growth whilst spreading my love of laughter with the world”. I will be guided by this motto throughout my life.

alyssa drexler

Alyssa Drexler

Hello friendly strangers or perhaps strange friends!

My name is Alyssa Drexler. I am from Lima, OH so if you’re a Gleek, you might know where I’m talking about! I am the second youngest of 4 kids. My family is essential to everything I am, and I am forever indebted to all they do for me. They encourage my need for both artistic expression and intellectual pursuit. That has led to my adoration for all forms of art which includes: physical art (painting, sculpture, etc.), theater, languages, dance, literature/poetry, fashion, and music. I love all of the activities that accompany these art forms, however, I have chosen to focus on music as a Music Therapy major. From a very early age in my life, I have come to know music as a very powerful healing agent. If I am able to utilize my musicality to engage with, celebrate, and revive others, that would be so fulfilling!

I have an immense sense of curiosity to learn and understand new things so I am looking forward to continually getting involved on campus. I am part of the LINKS Program. I am an Ohio Reach Scholar where I have volunteered with Athens County Children Services to mentor foster care youth. I am a member of the American Music Therapy Association of Students, and I participate in Women’s Ensemble and Choral Union. I am so incredibly humbled to be a part of the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program as it advocates for women leadership and empowerment. We can all move forward when we realize how resilient and striking the women around us are, and I will certainly exercise this notion within this program!

If you ever would like to chat, you can either find me in Glidden practicing or email me at

elizabeth fowler

Elizabeth Fowler

Hi, my name is Elizabeth Fowler and I’m from Ames, Iowa. I moved to Athens, Ohio my freshman year of high school. I’m majoring in mechanical engineering through the Russ College of Engineering. I have always loved building things and solving problems. My love for math and science along with problem solving skills helped me pursue mechanical engineering. This past summer I traveled abroad to England and Spain. After seeing other parts of the world, I want to work abroad and help other countries. Outside of school I enjoy binge watching The Office on Netflix. I love hiking in Athens and the Hocking Hills. I love all dogs including my all-white boxer named Lucy. I can’t wait to see what opportunities I will have being a Margaret Boyd Scholar.

abigail grifford

Abigail Grifford

Hello, I’m Abigail Gifford but some people call me Abbe. I’m a Sociology-Criminology major here at OU. And yes, I do love the TV show Criminal Minds. When I’m not watching old crime or conspiracy television shows, I’m reading a book. A lot of the time I read Agatha Christie, The Queen of Crime but I also read many other authors. I have a family of 7, including my parents, Mary & Gary, my older sister Ashton, younger brother Gavin, and twin sisters Zoe and Gracyn. I also have two beautiful rottweilers named Esther and Gunnar and an equally beautiful cat named Stella. I live in a small cornfield covered town called Wakeman, OH, the home of absolutely nothing exciting. When explaining where I live, I usually say that its 40 minutes west of Cleveland or about 30 minutes from Cedar Point. I’ve actually spent the last four years working at Cedar Point as an Area Supervisor for catered events. This usually meant working 15 hours a day but it was my favorite thing. It took me a bit of time to get acclimated at college but I did eventually with the help of some of the great things I was able to get involved in, such as the University Hearing Board and the MBSP, as well as the amazing friends I have made so far.

Feel more than free to contact me at

katie johnson

Katie Johnson

My name is Katie Johnson, and I am a Communication Studies major in the class of 2021. I’ve lived in Athens for the past six years because my dad got a job at Ohio University. Before that, I lived in Maine for the first 13 years of my life. I owe a lot of who I am to my experiences in New England. My beautiful surroundings, the rocky coast, and snowy mountains instilled in me a love for the outdoors. I spent a lot of time exploring Maine, and I eventually learned to bring a camera along with me. This is where my love for photography began.

While in Maine, I was a part of things like the Civil Rights Club and Builders Club which gave me opportunities to volunteer with the homeless and meet incredible people like Martin Luther King Jr.’s best friend Bill Anderson.  Experiences like these sparked my passion for helping others. At a young age, I learned to speak up for what is right, with the hopes of equality for all.

Moving to Athens only furthered my passion for leading through service and helping others. I quickly realized that Athens is the poorest county in Ohio and that Appalachia was going to be much different than the suburban east coast town that I was used to. Little did I know that the ups and downs that Athens had in store for me would set me on such an incredible journey. I got to participate in things like Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership where I learned about myself as a leader and the power of leading through service. I continued to play basketball and soccer, but sports eventually came to an end after four concussions.  I was lucky enough to be offered a chance to help raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer through the Turn It Gold Fund, in total we raised $19,000. Leading an extensive project like this showed me what I am capable of.

Since I’ve been at OU, I’ve been exploring my vast range of interests including photography, women gender and sexuality studies, anthropology, Spanish, and public health. Communications is the perfect fit for me because I can incorporate my diverse interests into a career that allows me to continue on the path of leading and making a difference. I am involved with many things on campus, but some of my favorites are peer health educators - Power Gamma and Better Bystanders. I’m the treasurer for the National Communications Association Student Club, I’m in CHAARG the all-girls workout club, I’m continuing my work with Turn It Gold for pediatric cancer, and I’m the Assistant Producer for Dean Titsworth’s Teaching Matters Podcast.

These are just some of the things I love and a little about what made me who I am today. I am forever grateful for this place we call hOUme and the experiences it has granted me. If you see me on campus, I will likely be sprinting from classes to activities, but please say hi! College has given me a new found love for coffee dates so if you ever want to grab coffee and talk my email is I am so excited and grateful to be a part of such an amazing program!

Rhea Lanier

Rhea Lanier

Hello everyone!

My name is Rhea. Fortunately, I am not the mythological Greek goddess who was wife to a power hungry Titan that ate his own children. Originally I am from Columbus, Ohio and all my life I was taught to bleed the colors scarlet and gray. Although both of my parents were graduates of The Ohio State University, I chose to go to the school that truly felt like a home away from home.

I am currently a freshman, majoring in the Biological Sciences with a Pre-medicine focus. Throughout my childhood, I have always been curious about how the things in our world. Why does cheese mold? Why does grass make my skin itch? How do tomatoes turn from green to red? Small questions like these puzzled me as a young child and I have always wanted to know the science behind these everyday functions. In the past years, I have worked with children as a caregiver, tutor, and gymnastics coach, and the experiences I’ve gained working with these kids has motivated me to pursue a career in pediatrics, with a specialization in oncology or critical care. I want to be able to give all children the opportunity to experience their childhood to the fullest, despite the challenges they may face with their health.

Here are some fun facts about me:

  • I am an extreme “foodie” a person who is very interested in food. A recent obsession of mine has been watching food cooking tutorials on social media.
  • I was supposed to have a twin, but in the early stages of my life I absorbed my brother/sister.
  • I can quote the movie The Little Rascals in its entirety
  • Although I have not broken any bones, knock on wood, I have fallen on my face more times than a normal person.

My time here at Ohio University has been amazing so far, I am very thankful to be apart the Bobcat family and now Margaret Boyd Scholars. I cannot wait to thrive, grow, and build lifelong relationships with the wonderful women in my cohort.

If you ever need a new friend, feel free to contact me at anytime!

Alli Mancz

Alli Mancz

Hey there!

My name is Allison Mancz, but you can call me Alli! I grew up in Kettering, a suburb of Dayton, Ohio, and attended a small, Catholic high school. My family is different than most due to the fact that I have four older siblings at least ten years older than me, but that’s what keeps things interesting! I have had my two loving parents, brother, and three sisters as role models all throughout my life. Aside from my pup Bailee, my family is my strongest group of supporters, and I would not have made it to OU without them!

I am an HTC English major here at Ohio University but originally, I had no interest in this subject at all. There was no doubt in my mind that one day I would become a highly regarded wildlife biologist, exploring the world and constantly searching for new species. But coming into my senior year, things began to change and as I sat in my biology class one day, I realized that hours of labs and data were far from what I wanted. I then turned my attention towards English, and that has been my focus ever since.

That being said, I have several other interests in different areas of study including Law, Journalism, Environmental Studies and so on. My dream would be to write the next American classic and have a stable career in creative writing, but I am also intrigued by the study of the law and might decide to try my luck as a lawyer. We’ll just have to wait and see!

My personal interests include almost anything outdoors. I enjoy several activities like biking, swimming, hiking, and exploring but above all else, I love running! Long distance running has become one of my strongest passions ever since I decided to try cross country my freshman year of high school. I have completed one half marathon and have high hopes for completing a full marathon in the near future. Running along with reading and writing help me to relax and clear my mind. Some other fast facts about me include that I am a steadfast enthusiast of Law and Order SVU, extremely passionate about animals, and have an undying love of music. 

I would like to leave you with one of my very favorite quotes by the brilliant author known as Dr. Seuss, “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.” You never know the difference you can make in someone’s life and through this program, I want to use this opportunity to make a difference in the world, even if it is just one person at a time. My email is  so feel free to contact me if you ever need a running buddy or just somebody to chat with - I am always open to meeting new people!

hannah martin

Hannah Martin

Since becoming a member of the Marching 110, I never knew that I would be a part of such a long and excellent legacy. With the long hours the band puts in every week and the multiple games that we perform at, the band became a cemented memory in my freshman mind. To be a part of such a great organization has made me realize that’s it's important to find your niche and run with it. Even though the Marching 110 helped me find amazing friends and motivate me to work hard and obtain a good work ethic, there was something more I wanted to do during my time at Ohio University. I applied to the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program and once I was accepted, I knew that this program was the right choice for myself. I am extremely excited to start this four year long journey with a group of amazing women who are all aiming to make great strides in the world and help support each other along the way.

I come from Midland, Michigan where I am the only child. Academics has always been an important and crucial aspect of my personality and drive to achieve a necessary change in the world, and I hope to accomplish my dreams and aspirations through the Margaret Boyd Program. I am double majoring in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and History which I plan on using to continue onto graduate school or law school. I want to use my degree for many good causes which include working at a non-profit, teaching as a professor, or continuing onto receive my law degree to practice civil rights law. My end goal in my academic career encompasses the want to simply make a change in the atmosphere around me to create a more open, tolerant, and accepting society.

The one thing I try to relay to other people I meet is the need for more empathy and love in the world. I believe with my entire being that these two things are the key to creating a more harmonious society. To put yourself in someone else’s shoes for merely a few thoughts can make a world of difference to the human interactions and relations we all face. It can be difficult sometimes, due to imperfections of the human personality, however, with a little effort and understanding, one kind word or gesture can change someone's day for the better and create a butterfly effect. I make this a goal every morning when I open my eyes to the light of a new day because I firmly believe the little things matter and they are always worth the extra mile.

Jayda martin

Jayda Martin

Hello, my name is Jayda Martin! I would, first, like to mention how honored and delighted to have been accepted into this program. It’s almost overwhelming to think of how many incredible and inspirational people that I will be surrounded by, both in my cohort and on the advisory board.

I am from a small town in Northeastern Kentucky that is cozied up in the crease where Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky meet.  What first made me start thinking about Ohio University was the campus. The amount of nature and brick was stunning and the fact that the Appalachian hills still rolled out that far was a comforting surprise. In the end, that specific aura that surrounds Athens drew me in and I am so grateful for that aura every day. I am currently double majoring in Psychology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. In the future, I would like to work for a women’s rights organization or a women’s resource center and eventually work toward a PhD so I can teach while conducting research. However, this is just a rough career plan. I am hoping my passion for intersectional feminism and people will guide me in narrowing down a career path. I am also working on becoming a fluent French speaker and I hope to learn Spanish in the future.

I am in love with every aspect of life and that is very evident when you take a look at the things I (try to) surround myself with. I am passionate about education, music, nature, art, and people. On any given day, you can find me reading a book on theology, watching a documentary on nature in the Arctic Circle or the politics during the 1970s in New York City, researching periods of art, trying to analyze a Buddy Rich song, or watching cooking videos.

 I am thrilled to be a part of such an outstanding program. I am looking forward to the experiences, inspiration, and growth that I will get from being surround by these incredible people.

ceren ozcan

Ceren Ozcan

Hello!! My name is Ceren Ӧzcan!

I was born in the most beautiful city in Turkey called Izmir, which is why my name is as authentic as it is. I lived in Izmir up until 2008, and that is when my family decided to fly all the way across the ocean to start our new lives here in The United States of America. Moving to America with no understanding of the English language was most definitely the hardest dilemma I've faced in my life. Despite the fact I had to leave all of my friends and family behind, I was thrilled to begin my new life. On September 10, 2008, I landed at the Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C. and few days after our arrival, I started my very first day of fourth grade in Lorton, Virginia. It took me a couple of months before I got the hang of people speaking a language that was strange to me, and after nearly 3 years I saw myself become fluent in a language that was once foreign to my ears.

After finishing fourth and fifth grade in Virginia, we made another move to Allentown, Pennsylvania. I stayed in Allentown sixth grade through my junior year in Parkland High School. In Parkland, I made the most amazing memories with the most amazing people I'll ever meet. I loved my high school. I knew the teachers, the students, and my way around the school. The people I went to school with were the people I wanted to graduate and go to college with, but of course, we had to move once more. As most of you may have guessed, I was bitter. I was angry that I had to start from nothing and form new relations with my teachers and the students. In my mind, it was nearly impossible to make a new friend group in my new school, but, I stand corrected. 

I refused to say this in the beginning, but I loved my new school. I was immediately welcomed by a fascinating friend group full of people who radiated happiness. They were genuinely passionate and interested in everything they said and did. Every single person I met had an amazing outlook on life. I was truly happy at Dublin Coffman High School. It opened up so many doors and opportunities for me. Most importantly, Coffman introduced me to Ohio University. Here at OU, I am studying Interior Architecture. So far, I love it! I can't wait to see what OU has to offer for me in furthering my education and career. 

If you would like to get to know me a little more, or just want to talk my email is

Kennedy rasberry

Kennedy Rasberry

Hello, my name is Kennedy Rasberry! Yes, that is really my last name! I am from Gahanna, Ohio (model/actress Cara Delevingne once sported one of our varsity jackets—Go Lions!), which is about an hour and a half away from Athens. In highschool, I was a member of the basketball team and the Franklin County Youth Council. Both organizations taught me very important lessons about leadership and what it means to be a part of a team. I hope to use these skills in the Margaret Boyd Program and in any other organizations I become a part of in the future.

I chose Ohio University because of its prestigious Scripps College and also because I immediately fell in love with its beautiful and welcoming campus. Though I am currently undecided, I hope to utilize my interests in writing, politics and media to pursue a degree in strategic communications from the Scripps College of Journalism. In the future, I hope to have the opportunity to apply these interests to my career—though as of now, I am unsure what that career is.

I am so thrilled to be joining this year’s cohort of Margaret Boyd Scholars and I look forward to four years of self discovery and relationship building!

If you would like contact me, my email is

julia scheider

Julia Schneider

Hello! I’m Julia Schneider, and I’m currently majoring in History through the Honors Tutorial College here at Ohio University. I’ve always loved watching documentaries, reading historical fiction, and just learning about history in general. In the future, I don’t have a step-by-step plan for what I want to do with my life, but I think that’s okay. I’m interested in possibly becoming a teacher, possibly becoming a professor, or maybe going into a different direction altogether. One goal I’ve had for the past few years, however, is to volunteer for the PeaceCorps after earning my Bachelor’s degree. Diversity in cultures, history, and peoples have always fascinated me, so to be able to volunteer abroad, likely in Southeastern Europe, would be a perfect opportunity.

I’m currently involved in the Picardy Thirds, an acapella group, and next semester, I’ll be joining Women’s Ensemble as well. I’m also a member of Circle K, a volunteer club connected to Kiwanis, and the Jitterbug club, where we learn all the different styles of swing dancing. Fitness is a great stress reliever for me (as is sleep), so I love attending the Yoga, Zumba, and Cardio Dance classes at Ping Fitness Center every week.

I grew up in Stow, Ohio, but since nobody has ever heard of it, I’ve learned to just say Akron when people ask. As well as attaining a great public education, I also performed in show choir and sang in several traditional choirs during high school. Although my love for being onstage has decreased over time, my love for singing and music remain a huge part of me.

When I’m not here at OU, I live with my Mom, my Dad, my brother Danny, and my lovable cat named Calvin. I’m so lucky to have many family members close by. I grew up seeing my grandparents usually once every two weeks, attending family gatherings at least once a year, and enjoying huge Thanksgivings surrounded by my aunts, uncles, and cousins. I’m very grateful to constantly have such a strong support system there when I need it.

I feel so thankful to be in the Margaret Boyd Scholars and this chance to be surrounded by an amazing group of ambitious women. I can’t wait for all that may come in this program!

Alexa Shust

Alexa Shust

Hello all! My name is Alexa Shust although most people know me as Lexi. I am a local of Athens county. I grew up in a small town about 30 minutes from the university called Glouster. When I say small I’m talking small. My graduating class only had 42 people! Coming from such a small area made me fall in more love with Ohio’s campus. 

So here’s my life story in a just a few lines. I am the youngest of my family. My mom, Angela definitely pushes me to be the absolute best I can be. My father, Mike is the hardest worker I have ever met in my life. Lastly my brother, Mikey. Where do I even start, we grew up in the middle of nowhere so it was also just us. We are the best of friends and he is the strongest most loving person. I hope he is as proud to be my brother as I am to be his sister. 

Now more about my interests. I LOVE books. If I don’t have a book in my hand then I was probably on the volleyball court. I played volleyball year round from 8th grade through my senior year of high school. I also enjoy kayaking and any other adventures I can get myself into. I also took college classes while in high school so I was able to come in with 21 credits hours! 

During my time here at Ohio I am studying chemical engineering on a bio track which helps me get my premed requirements a bit easier. I am hoping to continue my education after engineering and move on to medical school. Where I hope to become a surgeon. That is my overall goal. 

I cannot wait to see where this program takes me. It is an honor to be a part of the 2017-18 cohort. Now let’s go on an adventure!”

myriah smedley

Myriah Smedley

Hello, my name is Myriah (Yes like Mariah Carey and no I cannot sing but yes, I do it anyway). I’m from Cleveland, which I know is a shock because people from Cleveland rarely attend Ohio University. My mother is a retired middle school teacher and my father had a city job that I don’t know the title of, but I know he helps people with taxes.  I have a nephew that is almost three and is the love of my life, my best friend, and my headache. I also have two amazing sisters and if you ever met them, you have basically met me because we are almost too much alike. It’s kind of creepy. They both have made the humongous impacts on my life, and if it wasn’t for them I probably would be a hot mess. However, thanks to them, I am pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

As of right now I am undecided. I am heavily considering majoring in Public Health Communications and minoring in business, or majoring in psychology. Only time will tell. No matter what I major in, I know I will be doing some type of advocacy work or helping those who don’t have the resources to help themselves. That is one of my biggest passions and I am very excited to see the type of career path that is in store.

jordan thompson

Jordan Thompson

My name is Jordan Thompson and I would be remiss if I didn't start with how honored and excited I am to be a part of this program! While reading the bios of the other scholars, I became a bit awestruck. I'm really looking forward to building relationships with and learning from them over the next few years!

I grew up in Solon, Ohio with my family which includes my mom and dad, my younger sister, and two dogs, Sunny and Midnight, who might actually be the cutest animals on the planet! My family loves to laugh, and on weekend mornings one would usually be able to find us playing a game of Pictionary at the kitchen table, or sitting together in the living room talking and telling jokes. I'm very close with my parents, so my first semester was a tough transition, but I've found my rhythm and now Athens is starting to feel like a second home!

I'm majoring in both history and world religions, but please don't ask me what I plan to do with that, because I have no idea...yet! What I do know is that I'm very passionate about studying history! And personally, I find it not only interesting, but also important. The issues we face today, whether they're environmental, political, or social, all have a history. And I believe that knowing the history of a problem is a crucial first step to understanding how to fix it.

My other passions include listening to music, politics, and reading. I love reading! Whether it's a memoir, a horror novel, or even book of poetry, I almost always have a book on me. I'm a huge nerd when it comes to sci-fi and superheroes, my dad introduced me to the x-files when I was little and watching episodes with him was always a super fun to spend time together, and I'm also a huge fan of the Marvel Universe. (Captain America is my all-time favorite superhero!)

Thank you for taking the time to read this! If you have any questions of just want to talk, feel free to contact me at

charissa tyas

Charissa Tyas

Hello, my name is Charissa Tyas I'm a freshman here at Ohio University majoring in Psychology. I'm originally from Toledo, Ohio. But I now call Athens my home. The only thing missing is my large Catholic family. I have seven younger brothers, each of whom I love dearly. Growing up with an array of personalities has made me a very adaptable and forthcoming person. I would like to pursue law in the future and use my communication skills to help those who can't help themselves. My passions include volunteer work,my family, reading, and coloring books. All of which I consider relaxing ways to release stress and focus on what truly matters. 

That being said I am beyond excited to be apart of The Margaret Boyd Scholars program, and I can't wait to see what these next few years hold for me and the rest of my cohort.

Caroline Van Hook

Caroline Van Hook

My name is Caroline Van Hook, I am studying Environmental Geography and Pre-Law at Ohio University. I moved to Athens when I was four years old for my mother’s job as a professor at the University. I was worried that going to college here would feel stagnant since I grew up in Athens. However, I was happily surprised to find that life at OU is much different than living here. I think it’s important for Athens locals to branch out, and for newcomers to see the love and shared community the town of Athens possesses.

I was homeschooled until my freshman year of high school, which may sound like a strange phenomenon. However, Athens has a large homeschool population focusing on an eclectic approach to learning and I had opportunities to pursue my own interests. Through homeschooling, my parents instilled a deep-rooted passion for education within me. In addition to my academic pursuits, I danced beginning at age 4. “Plie, releve, cambre forward,” my ballet teacher would repeat. The vocabulary of ballet consists of hundreds of terms with which I can define with my body. Dance is a language of its own, but not just for the words that define the movement. Dance allows me to hold the power of expression. To me, dancing is a way to express ideas and feelings to the world and to provoke emotion. My experiences have taught me discipline, an appreciation of the natural world, and reinforced the idea that it is essential to engage with others in a nonjudgmental manner.

Growing up in Appalachia has influenced my passion for environmental issues; I have seen firsthand the abuse of natural resources here, through practices of fracking, mining, mountaintop removal, etc. Realizing my passions at an early age gave me the ability to hone in on those passions and act on them. Accordingly, when I was fourteen I began working for Northwest Youth Corps, a non-profit organization established in Oregon committed to preservation and conservation of natural public lands. While working for NYC for four consecutive summers I performed maintenance and restoration projects in wilderness areas and backpacking trails in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. From this experience, I was able to obtain a position last summer working for the National Forest Service in Stanley Idaho, performing tree rehabilitation projects and trail maintenance. At times, it’s easy to forget all the inconceivable beauty the world has to offer. I attempt to see this beauty daily through hiking, traveling, and participating in groups which hone shared and respected communication. I am excited to embark on the rest of my college experience with the Boyd Scholars Program!

Leah Warren

Leah Warren

My name is Leah Warren and I am from New Zealand. I am studying Political Science and am on the Field Hockey team here at Ohio University.  

I was born in England and moved to New Zealand when I was 1 year old. I have one older sister who is studying History and classical studies in New Zealand. In my last year of high school I made the decision to study my undergraduate degree in America and my Field Hockey and Ohio University has given me the opportunity to do that. I am planning to study political science and am excited about the political science course at OU has to offer.  My hobbies included hiking with my family and of course playing field hockey. I also love to travel.  

I am very excited about the next 4 years at Ohio University and to be part of the Margret Boyd Scholars Program. I think woman empowerment and shaping woman as leaders is very important and am privileged to be able to work with the 20 girls in my cohort and the administrations of the program.