Ernestina (Tina) Schirmer, an Honors student who is graduating from Cincinnati State on May 7 with three different degrees in engineering fields and with a GPA of 3.9, is also a winner of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, worth up to $40,000 a year to complete a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university.
Tina was one of only 55 students chosen from a national pool of nearly 3,000 applicants to receive a Cooke Transfer Scholarship this year. She is the first-ever student from Cincinnati and the only student from Ohio this year to win the scholarship.
Tina has been accepted into the aerospace engineering program at the University of Cincinnati.
All Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars must show strong records of academic achievement as shown by grades, leadership skills, awards, extraordinary service to others, and perseverance in the face of adversity.
Tina said that she knew she wanted to be an engineer at the age of 12. Her initial goal was to earn an associate's degree and enter the workforce, but after starting college as part of Cincinnati State's Honors program, she changed her mind.
“Once I got to Cincinnati State, all of these great opportunities started opening up, so I started adding majors and thinking about transfer after I graduated,” Tina said.
Tina's three associate degrees include Mechanical Engineering Technology-Design, Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology-Laser, and Pre-Engineering. She completed two full-time cooperative education placements, at Balluff Inc. in Florence, KY, and at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, where she helped study ice adhesion on aircraft.
In her spare time, she also established a model rocket club at Cincinnati State and routinely volunteered to help with grade school and high school science camps held on campus.
"Tina is an exceptional young lady—intelligent, conscientious, very hard working, and a pleasure to have in class,” said Mike DeVore, program chair for Mechanical Engineering Technology.
“Tina is the type of student any college program would be thrilled to have,” added Larry Feist, program chair for Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology. “I am certain that she will excel in her academic ambitions and beyond.”
The Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is the largest private scholarship in the nation for students transferring from community colleges to four-year institutions.
Cooke Scholarships fund the costs of attending college not covered by other financial aid, plus academic advising, stipends for internships, study abroad, and opportunities to network with other Cooke Scholars and alumni.
In addition, after earning a bachelor’s degree, each Cooke Scholar may be eligible for a scholarship for graduate school worth up to $50,000 a year for up to four years.