Medical scholarships and journalism internships shape educational future

Recent investments in area high school and college students provide a fertile field for learning.

$6.9M gift to UC College of Medicine

A pledge of nearly $7 million to the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine is one of the largest donations supporting student scholarships in the college’s history.

The $6.9 million anonymous gift will create the Webster-Gustin Medical Scholarship Fund and fully fund 10 medical students in each incoming class for the next four years, beginning with the Class of 2024 that just started classes. Scholarship recipients will be selected from students who completed their high school or undergraduate education at Ohio institutions and preference will be given to students interested in pursuing a primary care specialty.

The Webster-Gustin Medical Scholarships honor two College of Medicine alumni of the Class of 1970: Warren Webster, MD, and Byron Gustin, MD, who both also completed their residency training at the College of Medicine and UC Medical Center. Webster, an internist, and Gustin, a cardiologist, both have practiced in Cincinnati throughout their careers. 

“Dr. Webster and Dr. Gustin are outstanding physicians who have remained here in Cincinnati for their education, training and career. They are incredible role models for our students. We are honored and proud to have this scholarship recognize them,” said Andrew T. Filak Jr., MD, senior vice president for health affairs and Christian R. Holmes Professor and Dean.

Webster-Gustin Medical Scholarship recipients:

  • Michael Brooks, Batavia
  • Nina Bredemeier, Mason
  • Garrett Gordon, West Chester
  • Eric Huff, Cincinnati
  • John Kennedy, Toledo
  • Justin Kenney, Batavia
  • Gillian Null, Hilliard
  • Megan Schott, Fairfield
  • Katherine Smith, St. Clairsville
  • Joseph Walden, Cincinnati

“The lives of many will be transformed by this inspirational gift, as these students will in turn impact the lives of their patients for years to come,” said UC President Neville G. Pinto. “This gift embodies our Next, Now Campaign’s commitment to students—allowing them to attend, grow and graduate from UC.”

“This is a truly generous and enormously impactful gift,” added Filak. “These scholarships will allow much-deserving Ohio students to stay in Ohio for their medical education.”

Webster and Gustin were part of a committee that recommended this gift to the College of Medicine.

“I feel both honored and humbled to have my name attached to this very generous gift given by wonderful people,” Webster said. “There is a significant debt burden today’s medical student takes on and to free some of them from this burden will allow them to pursue their goal of becoming physicians serving their community with one less worry. It was enjoyable and stimulating to help make this possible.”

Webster, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, completed his undergraduate education at Youngstown State University. Following his residency, he completed a fellowship in infectious disease at UC. Webster was in private practice in Cincinnati from 1977 until his retirement in 2011. For much of that time, he served as a clinical instructor at the UC College of Medicine. Earlier this year, he was awarded its Distinguished Alumni Award.

“The size of this scholarship is enormous, both in terms of dollars and in potential impact on medical care in Cincinnati. This will allow some medical students to choose the UC College of Medicine for their professional training without debt consideration. To have my name associated is an enormous honor and quite unexpected,” Gustin said.

Gustin was born in Dayton, Ohio, and attended Ohio State University. He received his postgraduate medical training in Cincinnati and at Columbia University in New York. Gustin practiced cardiology at Deaconess and Mercy Health Fairfield Hospital, where he was head of cardiology. He is past president of the Cincinnati Society of Internal Medicine. Gustin was president of his medical school class, and has served on the College of Medicine alumni committee for 50 years. He twice was honored with Golden Apple awards for medical student teaching at Christ Hospital.

Cincinnati Public Radio launches Democracy & Me internship program

“I love history, and I’m interested in radio/podcasting. Democracy & Me provides the best of those worlds.” 

“I hope to learn about presenting information to the public and how to go about doing investigative research.” 

“I’m an international student. I want to hear others’ opinions and perspectives, to see how different or similar they are from me… I want to do something more with my voice and confidence.” 

These are a few of the young voices you’ll hear this fall on Cincinnati Public Radio through the new Democracy & Me student internship program. With support from the Charles H. Dater Foundation, and under the leadership of educational outreach coordinator Julie Coppens, CPR is providing paid, part-time positions for ten area students from communities historically underrepresented in public media. 

Inaugural class: 

  • Nailah Edwards, University of Cincinnati (communications/journalism) 
  • Jordan Polk, University of Cincinnati (communications/professional writing and rhetoric) 
  • Alex Bentley, University of Cincinnati (transitions and accessibility program) 
  • Anne Stevenson, University of Cincinnati (transitions and accessibility program) 
  • Keshawn Townsend, Aiken H.S. 
  • Jean Pateman, Talawanda H.S. 
  • Nico Luginbill, Walnut Hills H.S. 
  • Jordan Shaw, School for Creative and Performing Arts 
  • Joyeuse Muhorakaye, Aiken H.S. 
  • Juanisha Gray, Dater H.S. 

The interns are working collaboratively and mostly remotely, due to the pandemic, producing youth-centered content for the Democracy & Me e-newsletter and website, the Democracy & Z podcast and YouTube channel, a new Instagram account and other media platforms, with some crossover to NPR-member station, 91.7 WVXU. In addition to Coppens’s mentorship, the students are receiving instruction and career guidance from CPR staff members across several departments, from Dr. David Childs at NKU, and from media leaders in the wider community. 

Julie Coppens, CPR educational outreach coordinator

“I hope one day that I, and my work, evolve to the point of being able to change the world,” writes University of Cincinnati senior Jordan Polk. “I am thrilled that Cincinnati Public Radio is the next step in my journey.” 

“This is such a good thing for me. It will help me achieve my goals long-term,” adds Dater H.S. student Juanisha Gray. “With this internship and the people around me, it will better my life skills, and help me get places I never thought I could go.” 

You can hear several of the interns in recent episodes of our Democracy & Z podcast, sharing their insights on self-identity, the animated TV series “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” and the film career and global impact of late actor Chadwick Boseman. An upcoming episode will address the wildfires out west and their relationship to climate change; other interns are developing digital storytelling around the 2020 Census and, of course, the election. 

“Cincinnati Public Radio is excited to welcome such talented students to our Democracy and Me internship program,” says Chris Phelps, CPR vice president for content. “This inaugural class will be working on a variety of platforms to tell the stories of their peers in this unprecedented time. We look forward to working with and learning from their experiences this fall.” 

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