UC Scholars Academy Initiative


The UC Scholars Academy Initiative works to support the matriculation and persistence of underrepresented minority students. The initiative supports the readiness of its scholars in preparation for college through two programs: Breakthrough Cincinnati and Bearcats Academy. These programs promote social networking, scholarly activities, experiential learning, innovative practices, and goal setting for students in grades 6 through 12.

After enrollment, the scholars’ success during college is supported through the UC Scholars Alumni network. This program works to build community, improve scholars’ problem solving skills, and provide useful feedback and guidance as the students navigate their college experience.

The combination of these three programs ensures that the students are competitive applicants for college and have the skills and support to succeed in their college career. More detailed descriptions of the three programs can be found below:

breakthrough cincinnati members

Breakthrough Cincinnati is a four-year, six-week college-preparatory summer enrichment program. Program students are mentored by high school and college students as they develop academic and leadership skills necessary for success in college and beyond.


  • Programming: Students participate in 4 years of “on-campus” college-prep experiences
  • Student Success: An overwhelming majority of Breakthrough participants graduate high school on-tie and enrol in college
  • Experiential Learning: UC undergraduates gain real-world skills in education through the participation in Breakthrough’s summer programming, sharing their love and learnings of their college experience
  • Partnerships: Eleven UC Colleges and offices support career and program components
bearcats academy members

Bearcats Academy is a mentorship program with weekly school year sessions and a transformative summer experience.. Bearcats Academy students focus on goal-setting, research, community engagement and college-entry. UC mentors provide motivation, academic planning, scholarly and social experiences, and financial awareness with their respective cohorts.


  • College Competitiveness: Students create a portfolio of work displaying their strengths in research, community engagement, and academic performance.
  • College Exposure: Students engage in twelve college and career experiences hosted by various UC departments and offices, increasing their awareness of higher education structures and networks of support.
  • Mentorship: Weekly mentorship support students in goal setting and succeeding in program projects and activities
UC Scholars Alumni

The UC Scholars Alumni network is a monthly mentoring program where UC staff and students collaborate on learning goals and discussion topics to aid in their academic and personal goals. Scholars focus on navigating UC experiences, supporting community, and maintaining success.


  • Cohort of Support: Monthly meet ups provide opportunities for scholars to connect with each other and UC Staff.
  • Coaching: Scholars have the support of one-on-one and group guidance to overcome college barriers such as: the first year experience, family relationships, housing, financial aid, majors, career paths, and more.
  • Program Flexibility: The UC Scholars Alumni network is actively analyzing scholars’ feedback and evolving program components to best support future students.