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Introducing New Staff Member


Adapting well to change is an attribute that is hard to find and something the Cutler Scholars Program appreciates and looks for. For new staff member Sharon Romina, Cutler Scholars administrative assistant, adapting to new surroundings is something she does best. Romina has worked centrally for Ohio University for eleven years, but has changed her department a few times. “I began working at OU in August 2002 as a grant project coordinator in the Scripps College of Communication with the American Cancer Society partnership; later working on an NIH Food MASTER grant” Romina said. Romina relocated to Baker University Center and the Women’s Center in 2008 to work as the administrative assistant. In 2012 she was the administrative associate for two departments within the Patton College of Education. Her love of event planning, skills and dedication to the university brought her to the Manasseh Cutler Scholars program. “I provide administrative support to all aspects of the program. I handle the program’s day to day operation of the annual scholarship award process with contact to high school administration, nominees and parents. I coordinate event planning for alumni, Romina board members, benefactors and her daughters and scholars.”While Romina splash and has called Ohio University home play with dolphins for eleven years, she was born while in and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Puerto living in various areas of the Vallarta,

Romina and her two girls as well as her mother-in-law.




>Staff Members Have a Word >Alumni Updates >Welcome Freshmen >Alumna Speaks >Gabe Takes India >Seniors Say Farewell

-Sharon Romina

North and South Eastern Ohio regions. Her two daughters, Ashley, 23, a graduate of Ursuline College and Angel, 18, a first year at Otterbein University, she says are the most important part of her life. “We love exploring new places! I cherish any time that I can spend with them.” We welcome Romina with open arms as she continues to show her dedication to Ohio University and the Cutler Scholars Program. She is a wonderful addition to the Cutler Scholars Family and continues to improve its atmosphere, scholars and employees. Romina says, “It is a pleasure to work with such exceptional students. I enjoy hearing stories about their adventures and experiences. I look forward to getting to know the class of 2017 Cutler Scholars and have a special bond with them because they are the first class I worked with”


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“It has been a pleasure to work with such exceptional students.”

Bow-Wow Rescue

Cutler Scholars Alumna Natalie Kruse Daniels had the chance to save a life recently, although it was unexpected. While taking radon test samples at a well near her home, she saw a dog trapped, continuously swimming trying to get to safety inside the 50 foot deep well. Luckily, Natalie brought her rock climbing gear and went down the well to bring the pup to safety. Although they ended up calling the fire department for further help, Natalie and the dog were okay.

Cutler Babies

Abigail Blanks, ‘03, had a baby

boy on April 2, 2013 named Liam Donovan. Alumna Kacie Scherry Baon,’05, had her baby boy in January naming him Cooper William Baon. Brad Kleparek, ‘02, welcomed a baby girl into his family named Mia. Allison Norwood Levine, ‘01, had baby boy Benjamin on September 20th, 2012, and Aimie Colter Schilling ,‘01, had baby girl Claire. Congratulations to the alumni and their families! For more updates, go to page 5

H.L Mencken Was Wrong; Natalie Kruse Was Right!


One my favorite cynics is H. L. Mencken, and one of my favorite quotes from him is “When somebody say’s it’s not about the money, it’s about the money”. However, I reluctantly challenge this wisdom here— at least when applied to how very accomplished young men and women choose their colleges. Natalie Kruse challenged him first, and this gives me courage. In the spring of 2001, the wunderkind was not quite 17 years old, but was already graduating from high school, had accumulated two years of college credit and had turned down bigger-name schools to become a Cutler Scholar at Ohio University. I remember that day vividly; I was standing at top of the curved stairway in Trisolini and she was on her way out of the building. She and I were talking about her choice of schools. Just before she bounded out the front door, she said “you know, it’s not about the money.” She was sold on the enrichment experiences, the colloquia, the mentoring, and membership in a bright and motivated cohort. If it had been about the money, she would have gone elsewhere. Fast forward twelve years. This past spring, the dynamic Beatrice Selotlegeng and I were in Botswana, talking to a group of 32 high school seniors about coming to Ohio University. These students had been designated as “Top Scholars” because their grades and test scores placed them among the top 1% of all graduating seniors in their country. Those achievements mean that the government of Botswana picks up the entire cost of the Top Scholars’ undergraduate education—anywhere in the world! How do you pitch a scholarship program to these folks who already have a complete financial aid package? You don’t. It’s not about the money. You talk to them about the growth opportunities and you talk to their parents about the personal attention that their children will get so far away from home. It would make my case more strongly if I could tell you how successful we were. I delayed writing this article, hoping that I would know for sure how many Batswana would accept our offer of joining the Cutler Scholar program, but I still don’t know. (Editor Jourdan Matos has been incredibly patient with my procrastination, by the way.) I can tell you that 10 students from the group applied to Ohio University. Four have since decided to either postpone college or to attend colleges in Great Britain. We’re hoping to get most of the six who remain in the pool. I promise an update in the next newsletter. Higher education institutions seem to favor a simple economic theory of attracting top students: the more money you offer, the more Natalie Kruses you get. I believe that H. L. Mencken would have the right response to this viewpoint: “For every problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.”

Botswana Recruitment

Dr. Hill traveled to Botswana to meet prospective students for the upcoming school year. While there, he was able to help students apply to OHIO, go on a safari, as well as educate students on what the Cutler Scholars Program has to offer.


Freshmen Are Welcomed


Hannah Clouser

Stocker-Cutler Scholar Keystone High School LaGrange, Ohio Secretary of both her class government as well as her high school’s chapter of National Honor Society, Clouser is a Girl Scout Delegate for north east Ohio and an active member in her church youth group. She was also the vice president of Symphonic Choir her senior year. Clouser also earned varsity letters in golf, cross country and track. She is the Salutatorian of her graduating class. Clouser plans on studying actuarial science this coming fall.

Chloe Musick

Jewell-Cutler Scholar Vinton County High School McArthur, Ohio President of National Honor Society as well as one of the founders and vice president of the Vinton County Unity Outreach Program. Musick was co-captain of her high school varsity cross country team. Musick was also on honor roll for four years. She is Valedictorian of her graduating class. She participated in varsity track and varsity tennis and will be studying biological sciences.

Emma Perrin

Jewell-Cutler Scholar Meigs High School Pomeroy, Ohio Field Commander of the Meigs High School Marching Band, Perrin was a part of National Honor Society and class treasurer for three years. Perrin participated in a number of theatrical and musical groups such as the River City Players Community Theatre where she acted in shows for eleven years, allowing her to participate in nearly 20 productions. She was also president of her high school’s drama club, giving her the chance to star in many lead roles during her high school career. Perrin will be named Valedictorian of her graduating class. Perrin will study journalism.

Mackenzie Olaker

Konneker-Cutler Scholar McClain High School South Salem, Ohio A founder and leader of her high school’s Fellowship of Christian Students, Olaker is the Valedictorian and has been a part of her school’s National Honor Society for two years. She also was vice president of Youth in Action, an editor on her school’s yearbook staff for three consecutive years, as well as a counselor on her school’s Project Trust team. Olaker also was an athlete, participating in varsity volleyball, making captain her senior year. Olaker plans on studying communication sciences and disorders this coming fall.

Freshmen Take First Year In Stride

Sophia Hendrix

Konneker-Cutler Scholar Olean High School Olean, New York President of her senior class, Hendrix was enrolled in the New Visions Health Program, a selective program to surrounding high schools providing the opportunity to earn college credit while working in a hospital setting. The program is provided to only 15 students in the area. She was also involved in National Honor Society, Principle’s Advisory Club, as well as the French Club. She was treasurer of her 4-H group and participated in 4H events for four years as well as participating as a Special Olympics volunteer for four years. She plans on studying communication sciences and disorders.

Beginning a new school year in unfamiliar surroundings is a common event for eighteen-year-olds around the country each year as they enter into their first year of college. Making the best of that year can seem challenging at first, between learning how to balance a new curriculum, an abundance of homework and the challenge of making new friends and finding a place to fit in on campus. The Cutler Scholars Program is lucky enough to have freshmen representing the program in a way that may counter these freshmen clichés. “I have completed the fOUndations and 21st Century Leadership programs and I am also the treasurer for Bobcats Building a Better World,” freshman Russ-Legacy Cutler Scholar Matt Reinke says.“I am also a member of American Society of Civil Engineers.” Reinke, Robe Russ Legacy- Cutler Scholar is just one example of a freshman in the program who has not wasted time getting involved on campus. Kalei Edenfield, Konneker-Cutler Scholar, also became involved in fOUndations as well as Cutler Council for both of her freshman semesters. “The organizations taught us how to become better leaders and also how to be respectful workers for future careers and now,” Edenfield said. The success of these scholars wouldn’t have happened though without the skills and lessons taught to the students by the program itself. “The staff help in the Cutler Program is unbelievable. They are here to help you no matter what you need: a guidance counselor, a friend, anything, they are here for you day in and day out,”Reinke said.


Caroline Wilson

Russ Legacy-Cutler Scholar Squalicum High School Bellingham, Washington President and first chair trombone player in her high school band, Wilson attained the honor of being a National Merit Commended Scholar. She also was on her school’s honor roll all four years while also being an active member in Rotary Interact Club for two years. Along with attaining superb academic standing, she played and was team co-captain of her varsity volleyball team, being voted most inspirational. Wilson plans on studying chemical engineering.

Caden Brooker

Russ Legacy-Cutler Scholar Fort Frye High School Marietta, OH Brooker was a captain of both his high school’s varsity basketball team and varsity baseball team. Brooker has been president of his class for two years, while being secretary for the group two years before that. He participated in academic groups such as National Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa, as well as Spanish Honor Society. Valedictorian of his class, Brooker was named American Legion Buckeye Boys State Delegate. He participated as a volunteer for various organizations including Relay for Life and homeless shelters. Brooker will be studying mechanical engineering in the fall.

Olivia Malmsten

Gibby-Cutler Scholar Kings High School South Lebanon, Ohio Being in the top ten percent of her class and part of the school’s National Honor Society, Malmsten was also voted most outstanding history student of the year. While working on her school newspaper as editor, she was voted WCPO student of the week as well as an Our Town Magazine Academic All-Star. She was also a tutor in the multiple disabilities class and worked collaboratively with teachers to build lessons tailored to students’ individual needs. Malmsten plans on studying early childhood education.

Trevor Walsh

Hoff-Cutler Scholar Lake High School Walbridge, Ohio President of Students in Action and vice president of his Student Council Board, Walsh was also the president of Youth in Philanthropy Encouraging Excellence group for two years. He also was captain of his cross country team, while also participating in basketball and varsity track. Walsh was awarded the Archie Griffin Sportsmanship Award, Youth Leadership Toledo- Best Leadership Ability, and the Presidential Award for Community Service for completing over 250 hours of community service in a year’s time. He is also the Valedictorian of his class. Walsh plans on studying accounting.

Such accomplishments couldn’t have come without mishaps though. Students in the program realize mistakes are to be learned from and challenge them in their feat to becoming the best they can be. “I wish I would have known that professors are easier to talk to than one would fear, and they generally want to see you succeed,” said freshman Konneker-Cutler Scholar Nicole Sova, who also completed the fOUndations program and went on to help establish an OU chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society. While the twists and turns of freshman year can trip many up, the Cutler Scholars class of 2016 shows that by making the best of any hardship and not taking their resources for granted, they can represent the program in a positive way while also being role models for the upcoming class. Sova says, “You should never take anything for granted. I am so thankful for everything offered by the Cutler Scholars Program. I definitely suggest that everyone in the program utilize all of the resources available to them, especially personnel.”

Cutler Scholars pose at Ohio University fOUndations graduation as they complete the program.


Alumna Reflects


When the Cutler Scholars communications assistant asked me to write a short paragraph for the newsletter, I immediately agreed, and then immediately regretted my decision. I spent the better part of the following month trying to come up with a good opening sentence. I kept editing my draft because nothing looked grandiose enough or newsletter worthy, but then I noticed one thing- all of the opening sentences were a variation of “how the Cutler Scholarship defined the past decade for me.” When I had my interview for the Cutler Scholarship in early December 2002, I was a seventeen-year-old high school student from Macedonia who thought that it might be exciting to study and experience living in the United States for a couple years. Ten years later, I am finishing my doctorate in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and I am about to start my career as an assistant professor of economics at Lehigh University. Academically, the scholarship helped me discover my love of economics. I started out as a mathematics major, and considered adding a second major in economics because I enjoyed the economics classes that I took as part of the general education requirements. During the colloquia sessions, I had the opportunity to interact more closely with faculty members from the economics department. Given the reputation of the Cutlers, when I approached the professors a couple quarters later, they were very enthusiastic about supervising my independent study classes in economics. Having the opportunity to tailor the independent study classes to fit my interests ultimately led me to the decision to pursue a doctorate in economics. Being a Cutler Scholar also taught me that what I learn outside the classroom is just as important as what I learn in the classroom, if not more. The weekly colloquia sessions were wonderful preparation for presenting conferences and giving talks- I had to learn how to research new topics that I was not familiar with, how to defend my position, how to agree to disagree on serious issues, and even how to change my mind. When the going got tough (and the going does get tough for most graduate students at some point), I frequently reflected on my Outward Bound experience. There was one night when it started raining as we were approaching our camp, and then the temperature suddenly dropped to negative 30F as we were setting up the tents. We were all miserable and cold, but we all made it through the night just fine, and even had a lot of fun skiing the next day. Whenever I got stuck doing revisions on my papers, I always went back to that moment on Lake Superior and remembered that no matter how uncomfortable things get now, it always gets better the next day. My study abroad and my community service experiences helped Irina on a conference trip in Prague, the largest city of the Czech Republic. me become much more comfortable communicating with people from many different cultures and backgrounds, which is extremely important in the diverse world of higher education. My industry experience helped me learn how to think on my feet and come Fill out the form by clicking the link at the bottom of the page! up with solutions quickly- a skill that is invaluable regardless of More Cutler Babies whether you are dealing with a customer whose order got lost, Alumna Meghan McGuire Denlinger, ‘06, or with a central banker who asks really difficult questions at a had baby girl Avalynn Elizabeth Denlinger on macroeconomics conference. December 27 and Alumni Pete Richardson, I cannot thank Mr. Gusterov and the Cutler Scholars Program ‘01, had baby boy Kiefer Richardson born in December. Congrats! enough. Their generosity and support helped me learn the skills that I needed to get me through graduate school and that helped Cutler Weddings me start my career. The Cutlers have been with me every step of the Alumna Kendra Michel,’09, became Kendra Stewart on January 14th, 2013. way in the past ten years. I could not be more excited about starting the Meghann Karnes, ‘10, was married in next chapter in my life, and I am looking forward to sharing my updates November of 2012. with my benefactor and the friends I have made in the Cutler Scholars Congratulations! Program. Corporate Endeavors

Have an update?



William Wemer, ‘08, has become the Assistant Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Brown University.

Mumbai Challenges


“It should not be this difficult.” That was all I could think during my first month in India. I should not have to ask four cab drivers before finding a taxi cab. I should not have to sit 40 minutes in traffic to travel five miles. I should not have to go to class on Saturday mornings. I did not imagine my study abroad experience would at times be a struggle. I thought it would be three months of utter bliss. My experience would mirror the kids I knew who studied in Europe. I imagined it as a semester light on learning and heavy on traveling to the world’s most celebrated cities and sights. Instead, I elected to study in one of the world’s most overcrowded, Gabe stands in front of Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. stressful mega-cities. Car horns blared all the time, the city’s beaches were littered with debris and the surrounding ocean was a murky, unpleasant brown. On most Saturday nights my Indian dorm mates preferred watching movies on their laptops rather than going out and experiencing Mumbai night life. And then I suddenly realized that my unhappiness was not because of annoying taxi drivers or horrendous traffic. It was the result of my choices. I realized that I would get as much out of my time in India based on how much effort I put in to making my study abroad a great experience. I began reading blogs and travel guides to find things to do on the weekends. I began to go to Bollywood movies and restaurants with my school friends and hang out in the dorms with my dorm mates. I found a basketball court around the corner from my school and shared the court with neighborhood teenagers and weekend warrior cricket players. I got in contact with the local Jewish community and Gabe joins his friend Anil Sharma and his celebrated the Jewish high holidays with them. By the end of my three family during the holiday of Diwali. months in Mumbai, I went from being a lonely, crotchety foreigner to having a bona fide social network. Before I went to India, I took so many things in the United States for granted. Things like curbside trash pickup, interstate highways and efficient bureaucracy (yes, American government bureaucracy is efficient) that most of us never think about. I’m now much more appreciative of these conveniences. My experience in India was the quintessential Cutler Scholars Experience. I was thrust into a challenging environment and had to figure out a way to succeed and interact with a new culture. I had to have the long nights of tossing and turning before the participating in Diwali festivities, eating Rosh Hashana dinner with Mumbai’s Jewish community and sharing late night Domino’s Pizza with guys in my dorm. The things I will cherish the most about India are the friends I made. They taught me about India’s crazy politics, the country’s nascent stand up comedy scene, Indian marriages, how to properly drink chai tea and fresh sugar cane juice, and what it means to be a good friend. Their hospitality and warmth made me feel welcome and comfortable in Mumbai, Narnaul, Pune, Cochin and countless other places throughout the country. At times, I like many foreigners, felt very out of place in India when I noticed that all the other passengers in my train car were staring at me or Indian tourists asked to take pictures with me at popular tourist sights. I gradually realized that the stares and photo requests were unbridled displays of curiosity and attempts at forming a connection. The Indian diplomat and politician Shashi Tharoor explains the outgoing Indian personality best. “In India we celebrate the commonality of major differences; we are a land of Just how far is India from Shaker Heights, Ohio? belonging rather than of blood,” he says. India’s ability Shaker Heights 8071.96 Miles to welcome its Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, 16 Hours 39 Min. Sikhs, and Zoroastrians, to serve up mouth watering 1,241,491,960 11,544,225 population of India population of Ohio biryanis and fresh plates of naan and welcome 28,226 18,414,288 population of Mumbai population of Shaker Heights citizens from all over the world, will keep me coming Mumbai back the rest of my life. Its celebration of major differences made me realize how similar we all really are.

Gabe Takes India

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Say Farewell SENIORS Alex Bill

Henry W. & Edith Pattison-Cutler Scholar Psychology; Sociology & Criminology To benefactors: “My experience with the Cutler Scholars Program has been life-changing in far too many

ways to list. I am infinitely grateful to my benefactors and hope that, during my lifetime, I can pass on such a generous blessing.” Who has influenced you the most while being in the Cutler Scholars Program?“Although it is unfair to list just one person who influenced me the most in this program, as they are too numerous to mention, I would be remiss not to thank the kindness and generosity of Jeanette Grasselli and Glenn Brown. Thank you for your vitality, thank you for your enthusiasm, thank you for your optimism and confidence, as well as your support.”

“Seniors, finish your bucket list. Regret what you’ve done, not what you’ve missed.”

Shaila Meeker

Alan E. & Ruby T. Riedel-Cutler Scholar English/Computer Science & Japanese

To benefactors: “I’ve thought about this often and always come up at a loss for words. I am so grateful for the opportunities they’ve given me. I appreciate everything they’ve done for in me in the past four years. It has truly been life changing.” Most cherished memory while in the program?“My most cherished memory is definitely going to Japan. It shaped me as a person, made me more independent and brought me new opportunities to be involved on our campus when I returned.” “Dream big, then dream bigger.”

Alison Leonard

Leona & Lewis Hughes-Cutler Scholar Nursing To benefactors: “I wish I could tell Leona thank you in person and would have loved to share all my

experiences with her so she could see just how much she has touched my life.” To fellow graduates: “My fellow seniors really influenced my entire time with the program and I cannot imagine sharing these past four years with a better group of people! Thank you all for your friendship and the memories! Good luck class of 2013, I see GREAT things in our futures!”

“Freshmen, don’t blink! It goes so quick and you will soon be wondering how it’s already over.”

Terrence Berry

James E. Daley-Cutler Scholar Digital Media/Theatre

To benefactors: “I’d like to thank Mr. Daley for everything he’s done for me. If it wasn’t for him, none of

these great experiences would have been possible. It’s been an amazing ride and I’m eternally grateful.” Who has influenced you the most while being in the Cutler Scholars Program?“It was a combination between Jan and Karen. They’ve both been like mothers to me. They’ve been there through everything. My failures, my successes, my shows, and they’ve supported me the whole way through. I can honestly say that without their guidance and encouragement, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”


“It has been an amazing ride and I am eternally grateful.”


Ethan Cottrill

Cutler Alumni-Cutler Scholar HTC Chemistry To benefactors: “I extend my utmost appreciation to all those involved in making my scholarship possible. From

white-water canoeing in Maine to hospital volunteering in Peru, from teaching science in Ghana to conducting nonlinear optical physics research in Germany, my enrichment experiences have brought joy and meaning to my life. My successes in academia are the products of the supportive and inspirational nature of the Cutler Scholars Program. What I treasure the most over the last four years are developing relationships with Cutler Scholars staff, benefactors and fellow scholars, and understanding the life-changing impacts that accompanies a Manasseh Cutler Scholarship.” What experience pushed you professionally?“My undergraduate teaching commitments at Ohio University— which include simultaneously serving as a teaching assistant, supplemental instructor, peer-led team learning leader, and academic tutor—have pushed me professionally. I have endeavored in these roles to assist students in becoming independent thinkers and self-motivated, lifelong learners—to teach them how to learn and think, not what to learn and think. I teach because I believe that education is a powerful and sustainable gift, that by preparing students to succeed, they may make positive impacts in the lives of others.”

“‘Talent is cheap; dedication is expensive. It will cost you your life.’-Irving Stone”

Elena Mihajlovska

Risto Gusterov-Cutler Scholar Accounting/Economics

To benefactors: “The past four years have been life changing for me. This experience made me a stronger, smarter

and well versed person with big plans and dreams for the future. I can never thank you enough for everything you provided for me, I just hope that one day I will be able to follow your steps and give back to our country and help other students like you helped me.” To the Cutler Scholars Program: “I can never thank the program enough for all of the opportunities it provided for me that helped me grow as a person and made me learn and advance on so many different levels. I want to thank them for all of the support they provided for me over the past four years and for accepting me as I am. I want to thank Dr. Hill who adopted me as a niece and accepted me as part of his family, Karen who guided me through everything and was always there for me when I had any kind of problem, and then Jan, whose smiling face and long hugs always made me feel like home. And I want to thank Dr. Ping, for his commitment to the program, for always believing in us students and showing interest in everything we do.”

“I hope I can return and contribute in some way to the Cutler program.”

Gabe Weinstein

Jeanette Grasselli Brown-Cutler Scholar HTC Journalism To benefactors: “The past four years have been the most challenging, exciting and fulfilling years of my life. I

never imagined I would hike in Costa Rica, volunteer at the World Cup in South Africa and study in India when I was a high school senior. I have learned so much from Cutler administrators, Cutler alumni and my fellow Cutler Scholars. The other Cutler Scholars have taught me as much about the world as my classes and enrichment experiences. I am very appreciative for the Cutler Scholars’ generosity, patience and understanding they have shown me the past four years” What do you have to say to the entire program? “Thank you for exposing me to so many different countries, cultures, academics, opinions and experiences over the years. This is a very special program and a treasure of Ohio University. It has been really fun to see the program grow over the past few years. Thank you for giving me sound advice, encouragement and pointing me in the right direction. I will remember my enrichment experiences, CQ in Trisolini and discussions with Dr. Hill, Dr. Ping, Dr. Deardorff and Jan the rest of my life. I look forward to visiting Trisolini as a proud alumnus.”

“Do things you have always wanted to do but never managed to.”


Manasseh Cutler Scholars Program 201 Trisolini House Athens, OH 45701


Dr. Herman “Butch� Hill, Director Kristine Hoke, Associate Director

Jourdan Matos, Communication Assistant Sharon Romina, Administrative Assistant

Cutler Scholars 2013