Grateful for Scholarships, UC Alumnus Pays It Forward

In Kindergarten, Brandon Ulm was already being placed in advanced courses. He passed his classes with ease all the way through high school. Despite his academic achievements, Ulm almost wasn’t able to pursue a higher education.

Brandon Ulm“I thought, ‘college is too expensive,’” Ulm said. “I didn’t think I was going, because I just didn’t have the money.”

After being accepted to the University of Cincinnati, Ulm turned to scholarships to help make his dreams a reality. He was awarded the Cincinnatus Scholarship and Kolodzik Business Scholarship, which is named after UC alumnus and businessman Marvin P. Kolodzik. In 2008, Kolodzik, a former executive with Emerson Electric Co., established the scholarship to help highly qualified business students fund their college education.

“If I hadn’t received those scholarships, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to go to school. I got lucky,” Ulm said.

But it wasn’t luck. Ulm had to meet the high academic standards to receive the scholarship awards – the average high school GPA of a Kolodzik Business Scholar is 3.9 and the average ACT is 30. While in school, Ulm completed six co-ops with two Fortune 500 companies – four with GE and two with Kroger.

In 2015, he graduated from UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business with a degree in operations management. Ulm now works as a data analyst at Assurex Health and is grateful to the donors who helped him achieve his dreams.

“I really appreciate your gift. I understand that it’s your money and you can spend it on anything, and you gave it to me. That’s really awesome. Without you, I would not have been able to go to college, and I definitely would not be where I am today.”

Ulm is paying that generosity forward. He regularly volunteers as a Big Brother for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati and recently started working to build a professional internship network for local LGBT students with Proud Scholars. It’s his way of giving back to the community that helped him build his future.

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