Program Overview

The Renaissance & Global Scholarship is a full-tuition, four-year scholarship to the University of Rochester. Renaissance & Global Scholars are an exceptional group of more than 80 students who come to Rochester from across the United States and all around the world: Nebraska, Illinois, Sudan, Egypt, Iraq, and Papua New Guinea, to name a few. Not only are they academic all-stars, but they also have unique backgrounds that add to the diversity of our student body and extraordinary life experiences that enhance the classes in which they are enrolled.

Guided by the pillars of Academic Curiosity and Excellence and Social Awareness and Involvement, these students become leaders in their academic fields and campus organizations. The Scholars are involved extensively in campus activities and community service.

Benefits of the Program

  • Full-tuition, four-year scholarship to the University of Rochester
  • Individual mentoring by the Renaissance & Global advisor
  • Support for individual research and fellowship opportunities
  • Off-campus gatherings with faculty and fellow Scholars from around the world and across the academic spectrum
  • Trips to the City of Rochester’s various cultural and recreational spots
  • The opportunity to become part of the Renaissance Leadership Board
  • Access to a special alumni network made up of past Renaissance & Global Scholars
  • Academic support from current Scholars
  • An overnight retreat that focuses on the two pillars of the scholarship: social awareness and the pursuit of academic excellence

Program Constitution

Article I. Purpose and Mission Statement

Section 1. Renaissance Program’s Mission Statement

A Renaissance & Global Scholar possesses intellectual promise and an unwavering curiosity to pursue new ideas. Through leadership, a Scholar engenders new opportunities for interpersonal exchange. By embracing integrity and diversity, a Scholar promotes individual and collective social consciousness within the local and global community.

Section 2. Renaissance Board’s Mission Statement

The Renaissance leadership board’s purpose is to create a sense of community amongst the Renaissance Scholars. The board seeks to advance the values stated in the Renaissance program’s mission statement by organizing events and programs for the Renaissance Scholars.

Article II. Structure of the Board

Section 1. Structure

The leadership board will be comprised of ten voting members. Eight of these members will be “class representatives” who will represent their class year. The remaining seats will be “at-large” members who will represent the entire community of Scholars. In addition to these positions, the board may at any time appoint one or two non-voting alumni advisors.

Section 2. Elections

  1. The sophomore, junior, and senior representatives will be elected by the Renaissance Scholars in their class year. Elections will take place early in the spring semester, and new board members will take their seats the following fall semester. These positions will hold a term of one year.
  2. The two freshman representatives will be appointed by the board at the recommendation of an Admissions representative. This appointment will take place during the first month of each semester, and each appointment will last until the next spring election.
  3. The “at-large” members will be appointed by the board at the recommendation of an Admissions representative and can be a member of any class. These positions will hold a term of one year

No board position shall have a term limit. In order to be eligible for election, the students in question must be enrolled at the University of Rochester and recipients of the Renaissance & Global Scholarship.

Section 3. Positions

Three members of the board will be elected by the board at the beginning of each academic year to serve particular functions. Each of these positions has a term of one year. None of these positions shall have a term limit.

  1. The chair will be responsible for organizing and running meetings, distributing agendas, and interfacing with the Office of Admissions. The chair will be required to meet with an Admissions representative on a biweekly basis to report on the work of the Renaissance board.
  2. The secretary will be responsible for taking minutes at all board meetings.
  3. The webmaster will be responsible for maintaining the Renaissance Scholars Facebook group and updating it with information about new events.

Article III. Voting

Section 1. Board Voting

At any point, any member of the leadership board may raise an issue to a vote. Each member of the board (including the chair, secretary, and webmaster) will have one vote. Votes will be decided by a simple majority of the board. A tied vote will be resolved by an Admissions representative.

Student Profiles

In Their Own Words


Here, a few current Renaissance & Global Scholars share a bit about themselves and their experiences at Rochester as part of this prestigious program.


Oswald Codjoe ’14

I am the last of four children born and raised by my parents in the suburbs of Accra, the capital city of Ghana, West Africa. As you may know, Ghana is located in the tropics, where the sun is vertically overhead for most of the year. I therefore enjoy telling my friends that I have been in the “sun business” for so long and that I think the winter adds a new flavor to my Rochester experience.

Prior to and throughout my freshman year, I marked out quite a comprehensive undergraduate academic plan: to pursue a double major in economics and political science, complete clusters in mathematics and French, and study abroad in France in my junior year. On campus, I swim and play basketball and Ping-Pong for both fun and exercise. I am also a member of the Pan-African Students Association (PASA), in which I get the distinct opportunity of relating to other Africans like I used to do in my South African high school. In my freshman year at Rochester, I was elected one of eight members of the 2014 Class Council, who were tasked with building a spirit of community for the Class of 2014. This year, my sophomore year, my colleagues have bestowed upon me the honorable responsibility of representing them in the Senate, where there is a more administrative approach to issues pertaining to the well-being of students. As you can see, making important decisions for and forming strong relationships with people is what I love to do. That’s why I am actively involved in student government.

In 2008, I left Ghana as one of 100 out of 1,700 applicants chosen to attend the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was an enlightening experience to study and form strong relationships with students from across the African continent, the United States, and Europe. While I do not know what the future will bring, in terms of career paths, every once in a while I have a feeling that I may enter politics. Over this past summer, I did research in the Department of Economics here at Rochester, and over my four years in college, I hope to engage in internships and activities of that sort. I believe by doing so, I shall make progress in determining some of the things I like, dislike, and would really love to do.

In college enrollment, more often than not, financial aid becomes a very critical factor that influences the decisions made by students and admissions counselors. In this light, I cannot stress enough the importance of the Renaissance & Global Scholarship in shouldering the financial responsibility associated with attending a well-established college like Rochester. With lots of money being invested into my college education, I feel more than inspired to work hard and to make the world a better place. The Renaissance & Global Scholars are a group of high-achieving and vibrant students. Being part of this group raises the bar and challenges me to be ever better—a perfect illustration of the University’s motto, Meliora.


Shay Behrens ’14

Born and raised in the Midwest, I’m a small-town girl with big-city dreams. I was born in Nebraska, but I was raised in the small town of Avoca, Iowa, graduating with fewer than 50 students in my class. I am a pre-medical student planning to graduate with majors in biology and psychology, as well as a minor in chemistry. At the University of Rochester, I’ve continued to be very active in organizations, as I was in high school. During my freshman year, I was involved in the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS); Rotaract, a community service club; and the Charles Drew Pre-Health Society. For my sophomore year, I will be the undergraduate co-coordinator for the UR MAPS organization. MAPS is linked with the University’s School of Medicine and Dentistry and helps to provide opportunities to those pursuing careers in medicine. I’m very passionate about MAPS because I feel as if there is a disparity of underrepresented minorities in the medical field, and I want students to have the resources available to make their dreams come true.

My future goal is to become a doctor. Although it may seem silly, I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was 10 years old, and I know that it is the career path for me. Before college, I thought I wanted to pursue sports medicine since I’ve always been an athlete, but after attending the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP), my perspective has changed because I’ve seen the great need for general physicians. However, life is full of changes, so one never knows what the future may hold.

Throughout my life, I have overcome many obstacles and adversity. Although I feel as if my life is an uphill battle at times, I know that I have accomplished a lot given where I have come from. My greatest accomplishment thus far is not only an accomplishment, but also a privilege: to attend college on a full-ride scholarship. I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to attend college, and I have continued to do well and to excel in my classes. The Renaissance & Global Scholarship is truly a blessing, and I am very fortunate. With this scholarship, I have been able to meet a remarkable, diverse group of students and to learn from them and the struggles that some of them have overcome. I have gained insight on many different cultures and lifestyles thanks to my fellow Renaissance Scholars and their amazing accomplishments.

I hope that I can give back to others what this scholarship has given to me. Without this scholarship, I would not have grown as a person, and my life would be different with the financial burden of college placed upon me. This scholarship has inspired me to give back to others because nobody should be denied an education due to lack of finances and/or support. I hope to be a support system for young students wanting to go to college, and to be their “cheerleader” through it all. As a first-generation college student, I applied for colleges and scholarships and completed the FAFSA on my own, all of which can be extremely challenging if you’ve never done it before. These are all obstacles that can prevent young students from going to college, and someday I hope I can relieve these burdens for other students. Hopefully, I can help at least one student who will in turn help another, initiating a domino effect from which every aspiring student can benefit.


Lendsey Lilian Achudi ’14

My name is Lendsey Achudi and I am from Kenya, a strategically located country in East Africa. I intend to double major in international relations and public health. I have wanted to be a diplomat since high school; on the other hand, however, I felt that international relations would be too general and I think that I would be of more service to communities—especially third-world countries like where I come from—if I added a public health major. I believe that health is a very crucial aspect of a community’s well-being, and I hope I will be of great use after acquiring the necessary educational skills here at Rochester.

I think of myself as an outgoing and well-rounded person because I am part of many clubs and organizations on campus. I am honored to be on the Renaissance & Global Scholars executive board as an all-class representative. I am also the vice president of the Model United Nations on campus. I am looking forward to going to a number of conferences as well as taking advantage of the geographic diversity at the University of Rochester to learn more about other countries by discussing their social, economic, and political development. I also love debating and am part of the UR Debate Union, with which I have been able to take part in competitive debate tournaments and visit other states in the U.S. In addition, I am proud to be a dancer for Axum, the Ethiopian dance and culture club at Rochester. Also, I sometimes write articles for the Campus Times. I am not a very good writer, but I love doing this because I get to share my world of ideas and thoughts with readers. Finally, I am a proud member of the UR Uganda group on campus. Even though we are not SA recognized, we have been able to actively engage some members of the UR community in building a clinic in Lugala, Uganda, and this summer some of our members got to actually visit the clinic.

On top of having received the Renaissance & Global Scholarship, I have also had a good number of accomplishments. One of them is being a recipient of the Mesrob Mashtots Research and Innovation Grant, which allows me to do research on any topic of great interest to me. In April 2011, I had the chance to also be a delegate at an international conference in Spain on ending violence on the planet and dysfunction in families. I am also a Freshman Fellow, something I enjoy doing because I get to advise the freshmen not just academically but about other aspects of doing well in college. I am also excited to be the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence sophomore fellow; with this fellowship, I get to do any project that promotes peace and nonviolence in any part of the Rochester community with the help of the Institute.

The prestige of the Renaissance & Global Scholarship has been a bit of lucky charm for me since I began studying at Rochester. The scholarship has provided me with great financial relief. This has been immensely important because I am overambitious and I have very big dreams. I can now proudly say that thanks to the scholarship, I am well on my way to accomplishing those dreams.

In this special group, I have found a new family far away from home. Being an international student in the U.S. is not always easy for me, and I sometimes feel homesick. However, because there are many international students among the Scholars, I rarely feel alone. Most importantly, Phil Bradley, the Renaissance & Global Scholars mentor, has an open-door policy that is incredible. He is the most student-oriented school official I ever met and is always willing to listen. Renaissance & Global Scholars are very high achievers! Everyone in the group is inspiring in a unique way; I feel challenged to explore new things and be better in everything I set out to do.

I believe in the wise words, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” I have been given this incredible scholarship that will open endless opportunities for me. In return, I seek to be the best I can be to make those who thought me fit for the scholarship proud. I will actively participate in group activities and mentor incoming Scholars. While I do not know what the future holds, I would love to help ensure that the scholarship program keeps going and that students from all walks of life benefit from it, just like I am at the moment.


Gerard Markham ’13

I am constantly asked what a student from the San Francisco Bay Area is doing nearly 3,000 miles away from home. My answer to that question is simple: I am going to a school that provides me the luxury of being able to shape my own future, with no strings attached. This concept seems mind-boggling to those not fortunate enough to enjoy the freedom of a Rochester education; however, proof of its success can be seen in what I have accomplished just two years into my undergraduate career.

Apart from picking up a psychology major, a statistics minor, and a self-designed philosophy of science minor, I have been heavily involved in clinical psychology research since the first semester of freshman year. This research has led to my working in three separate labs, coauthoring two papers, presenting research at two national conferences, and winning the President’s Prize for social science research at the University of Rochester Research Expo in 2011. I am currently coauthoring a paper with Professor Allison Harvey at the University of California, Berkeley, which focuses on adolescent sleep cycles and their effects on long-term health.

The Renaissance & Global Scholarship has provided me with the opportunity to focus on making a lasting mark at our prestigious institution. I come from a single-parent home and am the first from my family to stay in college for more than one year; everyone else has dropped out due to financial burdens. The Renaissance & Global Scholarship will be the reason why this daunting cycle will not be repeated.

Also, the scholarship allows me to focus my time and energy into things I enjoy outside of academia, such as playing intramural basketball and being the loudest fan at our women’s hockey games. I cofounded a club called the Rochester Secular Student Alliance, which will help to improve dialogue between theists and non-theists on campus. My experiences thus far have also led me to become the vice president of the Planning to Achieve Collegiate Excellence program in our National Collegiate Scholars chapter. I am responsible for traveling to high schools in the Rochester area that are much like the one I attended back home—in an impoverished neighborhood riddled with drugs and crime—and talking with students about how to overcome those issues and plan for higher education. I would not be here at the University of Rochester had the Renaissance & Global Scholarship not afforded me the opportunity. Now I can pave the way for high-achieving students who personally identify with my background.


Peter Heuer ’14

I’m a physics major and future mad-scientist in training at the University of Rochester. When I first heard about the Renaissance Scholars back in high school, I thought it sounded like a really great group. Now that I am one of them, I haven’t been disappointed; ever since the weekend I came to campus to interview, I’ve looked forward to Renaissance events for great conversations and friendships.

I came to Rochester with a passion for science and a plan to pursue a physics degree. Rochester has put me on the right course to achieve this goal, but I’ve also found other interests to keep me occupied. Halfway through my freshman year, fellow Renaissance Scholar Gerard Markham and I got together after a lecture and decided to form the Rochester Secular Student Alliance. This group has since blossomed into a thriving organization, truly showing what can happen when a group like the Renaissance Scholars brings people together.

After college, I hope to pursue a PhD in physics and to eventually get a job doing research full time. The close friends I have made in the Renaissance program have already been an invaluable part of my life, and I believe their influence and involvement will continue for the rest of my life.