Article: DEADLINE EXTENDED: Young Scholars Program turns Titans into Buckeyes

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Young Scholars Program turns Titans into Buckeyes

NOTE: Eighth and ninth-grade students may apply online at https://odi.osu.edu/ysp-apply while 10th and 11th graders will need to use the paper application found at 2022 New Scholar Application.pdf

January 26, 2022 | Seven Lorain High Titans — Danielle Bowyer, Julian Martinez, Jayden Perez, Paul Robertson, Melinda LaBoy, Alana Amador, and Alejandro Puente — are members of the Class of 2022 who are all Buckeye Bound thanks in part to a rigorous college preparatory program that is now accepting applications from current Lorain City Schools 8th- and 9th-grade students.
Did you know Lorain City Schools is the only district in Lorain County that is part of The Ohio State University’s Young Scholars Program? Applicants apply for the Young Scholars Program in middle school and start the comprehensive program their freshman year culminating with possible admission into Ohio State with a very robust scholarship.
Scholarships awarded through the Young Scholars Program can sometimes add up to tens of thousands of dollars. Yet, it is the changed lives that illustrate the real significance of the program. Since its inception in 1988, Ohio State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion has offered the Young Scholars Program to students in the nine largest urban school districts in Ohio — Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, Youngstown, and Lorain.
While being part of the Young Scholars Program does not guarantee admission into Ohio State, Young Scholars — especially those from Lorain — have a higher likelihood of admission and attendance at Ohio State’s Columbus campus, according to college enrollment data.
The 2022 Young Scholars Program members who will attend The Ohio State University in the fall are (pictured from left to right) Julian Martinez, Jayden Perez, Paul Robertson, Melinda LaBoy, Alana Amador, and Alejandro Puente. Not pictured is Danielle Bowyer.

According to Dr. Chila Thomas, Executive Director of the Young Scholars Program, for the last three years, roughly 75 percent of students from Lorain, including those in Early College, who applied and were admitted into Ohio State were Young Scholars Program participants.

“A great deal of the Lorain students who have high financial need and are first-generation students are gaining access to Ohio State and are being afforded the opportunity to pursue higher education through the Young Scholars Program,” Dr. Thomas said. “Not only are Lorain students coming to Ohio State, but they are staying and graduating.”
Dr. Thomas said the Young Scholars Program is instrumental in breaking the generational legacy of under formally educated families — grandparents having parents who have children who never attend or graduate college thus limiting access to careers and industries that require advanced degrees.
Natasha Diaz (Southview Class of 2005) is one such student. She grew up in South Lorain and is the first and only person in her family to graduate college. Diaz is now the program coordinator in Lorain. She facilitates the program for Lorain students with an office at Lorain High School.
“I’ve been involved with this program since 6th grade so I know what it can do. I know what it has done to change my life,” she said. “Now, I am seeing so many students change, grow, and mature through the Young Scholars Program. We have been around for more than 30 years so at this point we have reached generations, impacting so many lives in the city of Lorain.”
Lorain High Senior Paul Robertson said he is excited to enroll at Ohio State in the fall, something he said he wouldn’t be able to do without the Young Scholars Program.

“Young Scholars gives kids like me an opportunity to go to a big school,” he said. “I have really enjoyed being a part of the Young Scholars Program because of everything it has taught me. It has allowed me to help the community, given me a scholarship, and is just the biggest opportunity for me.”
Paul, who has an older sister in the Navy, said he plans to major in either criminal justice or nursing. He is looking for the path that speaks to the helper in him. Plus, he said he knows younger members of his family are looking up to him and he is eager to set a good example.
“My family wants me to get what they never had and that’s how I look at this amazing opportunity,” he said. “I can be the role model for everyone after me who is looking up to me.”
Paul said his estimated financial aid package, which includes last-dollar funding through the Young Scholars Program, will nearly pay for his entire college journey.
In addition, Dr. Thomas said once on campus, all Young Scholars have access to academic tutoring and mentoring on campus, workshops, program-specific success coaches, and much more in the holistic, comprehensive program.
“We are there from 8th grade to college graduation,” she said. “We want to ensure students, like those from Lorain, not only get to Ohio State but have the tools to persist through the rigors of higher education and thrive.”
Natasha Diaz said the Young Scholars Program is not just about helping students, it’s about helping families.
“I do this work for students who have families like mine,” said Natasha Diaz. “My full name is Natasha Eduvigis Dias. I was named after my grandmother. She helped to raise me. She came from very rural Puerto Rico and was taken out of school in fifth grade to help with the farm and family. That’s why when I get my degrees — I recently received my master’s degree — I have them put my full name so my grandmother can see her name on a college degree, something she never had an opportunity to do.”

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