Plenty of Ohio State students grow up with visions of becoming a Buckeye. Ginette Rhodes did not.
In fact, growing up in St. Louis, Rhodes knew little about the university until her senior year of high school.
“I didn’t understand what Ohio State had to offer other than Ezekiel Elliott,” she said.
That all changed with a letter. Rhodes had been accepted into the Morrill Scholarship Program, Ohio State’s top diversity and merit-based scholarship program. The scholarship provides full tuition to incoming freshmen who are active in diversity-based leadership and service.
“Originally I was looking for universities to support the athletic side of me,” said Rhodes, who was on the crew team in high school. “But my senior year I had an epiphany that I wanted to have a more versatile collegiate experience.”
“The Morrill Scholarship immediately helped because my family was looking for ways to fund my education. Getting a full-ride scholarship from Ohio State made it feel like the best choice for me.”
In her four years at Ohio State, Rhodes certainly lived up to the Morrill Scholarship Program’s standards of academic excellence and exhibiting diversity-based leadership, service and social justice.
A Dean’s List student, Rhodes earned a 3.53 GPA in her political science major and a 4.0 in her African and African American studies minor. She was also a diversity ambassador for the university and became president of Ohio State’s NAACP chapter. On her watch, the group went from seven members to 49 and has become nationally recognized.
“My work as NAACP president is a big area of passion for me,” she said. “It’s helped me develop a sense of ‘I can’ — I can turn an idea into something real.”
Her passion for social justice and advocacy won’t end when she graduates. Rhodes plans to pursue a law degree and use it to fight racial injustices through the legal system.
So while she may not have originally been enamored with becoming a Buckeye, doing so gave her a world of opportunities and encouragement.
And it all started with that initial letter from the Morrill Scholarship Program.
“Every goal I wanted to accomplish at Ohio State, I was able to,” Rhodes said. “All the potential I came into the university with, I was able to see manifest. Ohio State nurtured the seeds I came to the university with and allowed me to blossom into the person I’ve become.”