June 22, 2019: Join us for our 2nd annual scholarship gala!

Our Stories


Nautica Hereford, MA, LPC

2011 Diligent Achievers With Needs Recipient

2011 Graduate of John Hay High School

BS from Wright State University

M.A., LPC from Cincinnati University 

D.A.W.N. Board Member

"In my experience of mentorship under the leaders of the Human Arc Corporation, I was fortunate to gain an understanding of business operations, communication, teamwork, and personal development. I was exposed to conference calls, client relations and operations. Additionally, I was able to observe communication styles at the management level through sitting in several business meetings. 

While under mentorship for two months, I gained an appreciation for Human Arc and the company’s mission of impacting lives. My life was certainly impacted through the mentorship experience. My mentor, Eli Santiago, assisted me with career options, leadership opportunities, balancing multiple tasks effectively, and developing leadership qualities through dialogue, words of encouragement, and suggestions of different books to read (i.e. The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews). 

The leaders whom I worked with through the opportunity helped broaden my perspective on how business operates and communicates with its clients. I truly value the knowledge and skills I have gained through participating in the mentorship program and can only hope the opportunity is given to other young students interested in expanding their experiences."


Alicia Burton, Trustee

Human Arc Family Foundation

"As a trustee of the Human Arc Family Foundation, I have had the privilege to meet most of the D.A.W.N recipients over the past 10 years. Through the four-year scholarship, summer internship and mentoring programs, I have watched these young adults transform from wide eyed high school students into take charge, ready for the world adults.

While each student was uniquely different, they all seem to share some of the same characteristics and qualities.

What do I see in each of these amazing young adults?

Hard work and dedication. These young men and women are the top students of their class. They strive for and achieve excellence in everything they do.

Opportunity to make a difference. Their chosen professions show the importance of giving back and how they seek to compassionately make a difference in the lives of others.

Perseverance. The road hasn’t been easy for them but I have seen their tenacity and determination. Their ability to not look back but to keep moving forward, to keep going, to persevere even in the toughest of times.

Encouragement. Each one of these students, no matter what they were going through, would find ways to encourage and uplift those around them.

So, what do I see when I look at these amazing individuals…HOPE. In a world that is wrought with turmoil, I see HOPE for our future in each one of them. I have hope that who they are, their uniqueness, their stories and exceptional brilliance will change the lives of many.

I am proud of the work of the foundation and the investment in these exceptional young men and women. As I think of the old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” I am honored and feel privileged to be a member of this community."


Sharon Grob, PhD

Diligent Achievers With Needs Mentor

John Hay Architecture & Design

Guidance Counselor

D.A.W.N. Board  Advisor 

"John Hay High School is unique in that it encompass three small schools in one building. We boast an Architecture and Design High School, an Early College Program, and a Science and Medicine specialty. All three schools present a rigorous honors curriculum to the highest achieving students in the district, a curriculum not available in other Cleveland high schools. The students we produce compete for spots in the nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher education. 

Since 2006 the Diligent Achievers with Needs (D.A.W.N.) scholarship program and Human Arc have annually presented an opportunity which is available to students in all three small schools. The scholarship that they offer is unique in that it provides support in the form of $1000.00 per year for the duration of four years in college, but also adds the opportunity to work during the summer and on school breaks. Not only are our students able to work, but to earn $12.00 an hour, all while gaining professional work experience. This is an unbelievable opportunity. 

Not only is the scholarship itself extremely valuable, but the process by which it is awarded is a true learning experience for the students. Ms. Thomas comes to the school each year and describes the opportunity to the students who must then go through a rigorous application procedure including research into Human Arc, references, and an essay. The comprehensive application begins the screening process as the “faint of heart” never apply. Those who do apply and are short listed (primarily based upon their essays) are then involved in an interview process which includes a presentation. Of the past winners, 100% have add demographics… 

Extending the program can only give more scholars the opportunity to pursue their education at an institution of their choice. Thank you D.A.W.N. and Human Arc."


Wilhemina Koomson, A.B., M.PHIL

2010 Diligent Achievers With Needs Recipient (D.A.W.N.)

2010 Graduate of John Hay High School

A.B. from Princeton University

M.Phil Graduate Student at Yale  University

PhD Candidate Yale University 

"Growing up in an inner city, you are often told there is more out there that you should aspire to. Many times you’ve never seen that “more,” it is something that is abstract and out of your grasp. Nevertheless, sometimes there are people, institutions, and experiences that shine light on the “more” that you can aspire to. They can act as a spring, pushing you closer to your dream. I have found the DAWN scholarship program to be exactly that to me. Having the opportunity to be a DAWN scholar was a spark that gave me the confidence to dream higher.

The DAWN scholarship program enabled me to walk into college armed with the knowledge that there were people rooting for me; people who believed I could surmount the challenges I faced as I pursued my dreams. The peace of mind knowing that I had a place to work every summer when I came back home to Cleveland was a safety blanket that gave me wings. I was able to take more risks when applying for different internships, yet I always came back to spend time at Human Arc because the work I did there truly equipped me with skills that I still use to this day.

I am proud to be a DAWN scholar and I am thankful for the investment they made in my future."


Jeff Markle, Former CEO of Human Arc

Former CEO of Human Arc

The Human Arc scholarship award program is the brainchild of employee Wanda Thomas who for years has helped area high school students with their scholarship applications. After seeing so many deserving students face difficulties raising funds for college, Ms. Thomas proposed the program to Human Arc President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey L. Markle as a way the company could expand its diverse community outreach initiatives to help scholastic achievers.

"Wanda's work exemplifies a core Human Arc value -- service to our communities," stated Markle. "We encourage employees to do outreach as a part of their individual annual objectives. The scholarship program that Wanda developed allows us to have a real impact in developing tomorrow's leaders."


Monique Farone, MPH

2007 Diligent Achievers With Needs Recipient (D.A.W.N.)

2007 Graduate of John Hay High School/Early College

Case Western University Graduate

MPH Emory University 

"I am honored to have been the first recipient of the Diligent Achievers with Needs (DAWN) scholarship and Human Arc internship. The scholarship application and interview process coupled with the summer internship experience served as exceptional methods to better develop qualities such as professionalism, emotional awareness, and pride in one’s work that are necessary to thrive in a working, business environment. The mentorship I received from Jeff Markle throughout my undergraduate education and beyond remains with me today. I am thrilled to continue my involvement with the DAWN scholarship and internship program; it allows me an opportunity to not only give back to students in my own hometown, but to also honor Jeff’s mentorship and memory by following his example in serving diligent achievers with needs."


Courtney Lockhart

2016 Diligent Achievers With Needs Recipient (D.A.W.N.)
2016 Graduate of John Hay High School/Early College
Undergraduate Candidate of College of Wooster

“The D.A.W.N Scholarship has truly opened doors for me. The internship has a afforded me the opportunity to learn about the financial aspect of the healthcare industry and what it is required of professionals in a business setting. The knowledge obtained through this program has helped me flourish as a rising professional, both in the classroom and in the field.”