Meet Our Team

Whitney A. O'Neal

President, CSF

Whitney A. O'Neal, CFRE

President & ceo, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Whitney leads the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation team as the President & CEO, with the goal of working with the CSF Board, donors, community partners, local businesses, schools, and universities to broaden CSF’s impact in the Greater Cincinnati region. Throughout her career, Whitney has always sought to help others whenever she can and has worked in the nonprofit sector her entire career. She has worked in adult care, nonprofit management, program development and funds development for children and mental health, HIV/AIDS and homelessness, older adults and education. Whitney earned her BA and MA from the University of South Florida, has her CRFE (Certified Fundraising Executive) certification and is currently completing her nonprofit Leadership Certification from the University of San Diego. Outside of work, Whitney loves to practice yoga, garden, spend time with her daughter, Carol Ann and dock dive and hike with her German Shepherd, Elvis. Whitney has a passion for working and interacting with others and believes that in a perfect world, everyone has access to the level of education they desire. 

Beth Collins

Organizational Director, CSF

Beth Collins

Associate Director, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Beth Serves as CSF’s Associate Director and is responsible for community outreach, CSF’s Annual Fund, event planning and working with our local high schools and universities. Before joining our organization, Beth helped individuals complete their high school diplomas and achieve their GED at Portland Adult Community Education. She found this experience to be truly rewarding and honored to have such an impact on people’s lives. She began working with CSF after moving to Cincinnati with her two children. For her, it has been an honor being a part of an organization that has for over 100 years assisted the youth of Greater Cincinnati in achieving their dream of higher Education.

Kaitlin Minniefield

Program Administrator, CSF

Kaitlin Minniefield

Program Administrator, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Kaitlin serves as the Program Administrator, her role at CSF is to manage the entire scholarship life cycle- from applications to graduations. Prior to coming to CSF, Kaitlin worked as an Outreach Assistant in the Office of Admissions at Northern Kentucky University. Kaitlin earned her BA in Integrative Studies from Northern Kentucky University and will begin working towards her MA. Kaitlin is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., where she focuses heavily on community outreach and Service To All Mankind. Kaitlin has a love for the art and history community in Greater Cincinnati. Kaitlin has a passion for equitable education and providing professional opportunities for underrepresented groups. In her spare time, Kaitlin enjoys hiking, gardening, and exploring the Greater Cincinnati Area!

DeJuan Gossett

Board of Directors Chair

DeJuan Gossett

Board of Directors, chair, Cincinnati Scholarship foundation

DeJuan (DJ) Gossett helps his clients achieve their goals as an Employee Benefits Consultant for USI, while also leading our Board of Trustees as the current chair. DJ earned his BS from the University of Cincinnati and started 45 football games as a University of Cincinnati Bearcat. After graduation, DJ fulfilled his dream of making it to the NFL as a New York Giant. DJ is very active in the Greater Cincinnati community and serves on the board of directors for Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, Corryville Catholic School, Cincinnati Insurance Board and the Workforce Council of Southwest, Ohio. In his spare time, DJ is actively involved with CYC’s Saturday Hoops, the Beach Acres Backpack Drive and USI Gives Back. He is the assistant football coach at Ryle High School in Northern Kentucky and is very involved with his daughter’s soccer team!

Shannan Schmitt

Vice Chair of Board of Directors

Shannan Schmitt

Board of Directors, Vice Chair, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Shannan Schmitt leads the communications and grant-making efforts at The Health Collaborative, while also serving as the Vice Chair for the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation Board of Trustees. Throughout the years, Shannan has greatly assisted CSF with marketing efforts and continues to work with CSF in better developing our marketing strategy. Shannan graduated from Valparaiso University with a degree in Journalism and psychology. She is a twenty-year veteran of creating and managing content to build relationships for organizations. Shannan is a mom, snack enthusiast, Yogi, and an avid reader. As a first-generation college entrant, she is dedicated to helping young people pursue post-secondary opportunities. 

Chad Kolde

Member of Financial Committee

Chad Kolde

Board of Directors, Treasurer, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Chad Kolde is the Chief Financial Officer at the Bartlett Wealth Management. He graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Accounting. From there, he spent a significant portion of his time performing fraud investigations and forensic accounting services. In his professional career, Chad acknowledges the importance of marketing vigilance, being sure to adapt and grow as new trends and technologies emerge. 

Matt Lake

Secretary for Board of Trustees

Matt Lake

board of directors, secretary, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Matt Lake is the Tax and Nonprofit attorney at Thompson Hines at Thompson Hine LLP while serving as the Secretary for the Board of Trustees for the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation. Matt is the chair of the Cincinnati Bar Association nonprofit Committee. Matt has been married to his wife Katie for 27 years. Together they have two children, Kevin, who is a senior at Indiana University and Colleen who is a freshman at UNC-Chapel Hill. Matt has two dogs, Sandy and Shadow. Matt enjoys taking walks with his wife and hanging out with his kids. 

Melanie Burden

Board of Trustees at the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Melanie Burden

Board of directors, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Melanie’s professional career in Human Resource Management began over 20 years ago. An experienced practitioner and leader for over two decades, Melanie has given general oversight and direction to the organization’s most valuable assets – its people. She ensures that Human Resources serves employers with the highest level of customer care, and laterally supports the mission, vision, and strategy of organizations through successful HR engagement. She currently works at Boys Hope Girls Hope as their Vice President of People & Culture. Melanie has invaluable experience in investing in human capital in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. She has served at the executive level in Human Resources for several years, and in 2019, she established her own consulting firm Creative Path Solutions, LLC. Melanie believes that organizations are “All interconnected, and every great company requires all of its talents to work in a collaborative effort for long-term success”.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, and a Master of Arts degree in Labor and Employment Relations from the University of Cincinnati, a Master of Science degree in Leadership and Organizational Change from Northern Kentucky University and is certified in LEAN Systems from the University of Kentucky. A resident of the Lexington, Kentucky area, she is driven and energized by helping people and building collaborations. She believes in giving back through volunteering and being of service to those in need. She has spent her career being engaged in various community efforts throughout Greater Cincinnati. She served as an effective board member for the Ensemble Theatre, Boys Hope Girls Hope Cincinnati Affiliate and Keep Cincinnati Beautiful Board. Melanie is a proud military spouse to her husband Maurice, a Retired Army Veteran of over 20 years and real estate investor.

James Cullen

Executive Committee Advisor and Nominating & Goverance Committee Co-Chair

James Cullen

Board Member at Large, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

James is the current Academic Program Director at the University of Cincinnati and has been providing his skills and educational insight to the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation Board of Trustees for over twenty years. James graduated from Mount St. Joseph University with a BS before earning his MA in Education from the University of Cincinnati, James is passionate about his work with the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation, encouraged by his pride in the organization and its commitment to student achievement throughout the past 100 years. 

Tanya Ficklin

Board of Trustees

Tanya Ficklin

Board of directors, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Tanya Ficklin is going into her 27th year in education. Tanya was a special education teacher for eight years before transitioning into school counseling. Tanya has been a school counselor for 19 years and has had the honor of serving as the Lead School Counselor for Cincinnati Public Schools from 2013- 2021. Tanya Currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Walnut Hills Counseling department. 

Matthew Hoffman

Executive Committee Member

Matthew Hoffman

Board of Directors, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Matthew currently oversees a team of relationship managers as the National Director of Not- For- Profit services with Fifth Third Institutional Services, Matthew received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Hanover College. In his career, Matthew has accrued over 20 years of experience in institutional services. As an ally to CSF, he takes pride in not only being able to deliver scholarships to deserving students but also in being able to assist those who wish to establish scholarships to donate. 

Michelle Hopkins

Board of Trustees at the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Michelle Hopkins

Board of directors, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Michelle recently found her way back to television and WCPO specifically after spending the last five years doing community relations and communications at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center. She also worked at Mercy Health and the Hamilton County Community Action Agency after her time at WCPO-TV in the 90’s and WLWT-TV from 2000 to 2010. Michelle’s connection with and passion for her community is apparent in the projects she has been driven to work on.

For example, while serving as Community Engagement Director at Mercy Health, she facilitated projects such as the Greater Cincinnati Outdoor Gym located in Roselawn; a partnership with Cincinnati Bell to connect Bond Hill residents to high-speed internet; Farmer’s Markets located on the campus of Mercy Health- bringing locally grown, fresh produce to a neighborhood that has historically lacked equal access. During her time in Community Relations at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center, Michelle developed and implemented a successful flu shot campaign; managed a monthly outreach program for parents called Ages & Stages and oversaw large community initiatives such as the Reds Community Makeover Day, bringing together over 60 Volunteers to complete transformational projects. Michelle’s return to WCPO is just one more way for her to meaningfully and impactfully continue her connection with Cincinnati Residents.

Dr. Eric Jackson

Board of Trustees at the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Dr. Eric Jackson

Board of directors, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

As a Professor of History and Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at Northern Kentucky University, with almost thirty years of academic experience at the university level, Dr. Eric R. Jackson has taught numerous classes in the fields of American and African American History, Race Relations and Peace Studies. Dr. Jackson has also published a wide array of books, book reviews, articles, etc. in many local, regional, national, and international journals, such as the Journal of African American History, the Journal of Negro Education, Ohio History, the International Journal of World Peace, and the Journal of Pan African Studies. With over fifty publications, Dr. Jackson recently completed an online book/website on African Americans in Cincinnati, co-authored a book titled Cincinnati’s Underground Railroad and co-authored another book titled Unique Challenges in Urban Schools: The Involvement of African American Parents, Let Freedom Ring for Everyone and Introduction to Black Studies. Additionally, he is working on a new book titled Full of Faith-Full of Hope: The History and Legacy of the Underground Railroad in Kentucky. He also served as the Interim Editor and the Book Review Editor of the Journal of Pan African Studies. In 2017 he was awarded the “Second International World Civility Award” from I-Change Nations. Dr. Jackson is also a member of the Boone County Public Library Board of Trustees and the Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board.

William Lampkin

Board of Trustees at the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

William Lampkin

Board of directors, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

William E. Lampkin III is a proud Cincinnatian. William graduated from Withrow University and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati. Currently, William works for the E.W. Scrips Company as a Digital Advertising Campaign Manager. Prior to this, he was a Marketing Specialist for the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative for over four years. William is dedicated to giving back to the community, having received scholarships from the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation and being a former member of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative. William has served as a member and staff liaison of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative’s Young Professionals Board for over four years. He has also joined the Cincinnati Works Young Professionals Board.

Jack Miner

Board of Trustees

Jack Miner

Board of Directors, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Jack is dedicated to developing and leading university enrollment, retention, and graduation as the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at the University of Cincinnati and is a proud member of the Board of Directors. Jack graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts, before earning his Master of Arts at the same university. He boasts over twenty- five years of experience providing strategic vision and achieving results in student services, academic administration, student success and enrollment management. 

Adrienne Montgomery

Member of Finance Committee

Adrienne Montgomery

BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Adrienne Montgomery is the Director of Financial Aid at Xavier University. She has twenty- two years of experience in the financial aid profession, previously having served as the director of Financial Aid at Merrimack College, Pine Manor College, and Stevens Institute of Technology. Adrienne is a recipient of the NJASFAA Arthur E Richmond Distinguished Service and Young Leaders, and the EASFAA Volunteer of the Year Award for her service with the Tuesdays at Two Webinar Series.

Toyia Montgomery

Member of Marketing Committee

Toyia Montgomery

Board of DIRECTORS, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Toyia Montgomery is the CEO of Good Vibes, LLC, where she hopes to use her wide array of experience to turn her company into a household name while helping as many people as possible. She graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science, before earning her MBA in 2006 and founding a non-profit organization related to marketing, with a mission of exposing children from single-parent homes to a world outside their communities. Through the years, Toyia has grown her arsenal of experiences, working as a brand builder, entrepreneur, educator, and philanthropist for many major corporations. Toyia is dedicated to ensuring that everyone has a chance to live the life they deserve

Nikela Owens

Member of the Scholarship Selection Committee

Dr. Nikela Owens

board of directors, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Dr. Nikela Owens focuses on designing interactive programs to increase positive school culture through her work as an Educational Consultant for Cincinnati Public Schools. Additionally, Nikela is a proud member of the Scholarship Selection Committee at the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation. Nikela is the owner of Mint Yoga Studio and the Executive Director of Project Yoga. 

Travis Schraffenberger

Vice President of Marketing Support and Execution at Western & Southern Financial Group

Travis Schraffenberger

board of directors, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Travis is the Vice President of Marketing Support and Execution at Western & Southern Financial Group. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations from Franklin College, and earning his BMA at Xavier University. Travis went on to work in the advertising, sales promotion, and marketing profession for over twenty- five years. Travis has two teenagers, Daniel and Willan. Travis is dedicated to using his expertise to help others through his position on the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation Board of Trustees.

Audley Smith

Board of Trustees at the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Dr. Audley Smith

Board of directors, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Dr. Smith has over 30 years of experience in Education, where he served as a Teacher, Counselor, and   Administrator. He is a proud product of Cincinnati Public Schools with many great memories. After high school, he received an Athletic Scholarship to Miami University, Ohio, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Education.

Later, he continued his education at Xavier University, earning a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling. As a result of encouragement from several mentors, he decided to pursue a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership at Miami University. He is a High School Counselor and mentor in the Cincinnati Public Schools. Dr. Smith’s passion for learning and sharing knowledge has resulted in many success stories of students over the years.  His belief in education has guided his philosophy, “All students have the right to receive a quality Education.” 

Excelling in school creates opportunities for success and generates possibilities beyond the walls of a building. “Doc” (as he is called by many) surmises that academic exposure only increases the level of maturity as it prepares students to adapt to any situation.He believes all educators are responsible for creating exposures that stimulate their minds.  

Serving on the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation Board is an honor and pleasure. The organization recognizes the “value” of education and access to financial possibilities. The monetary opportunities can be a dream and goal that can be achieved, regardless of the financial challenges.

Bryan Surface

Board of Trustees at the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Bryan Surface

Board of drectors, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Bryan Surface is the Vice President of Technology at Terillium Inc., a local consulting firm specializing in implementing Oracle business solutions. Bryan has more than 20 years focusing on educating businesses on the latest technologies and demonstrating how technology can be leveraged to accelerate digital transformation.

Bryan has a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University where he studied Information Systems at the Kelley School of Business. In the past, Bryan has served on the board of an organization involved in reducing educational costs, specifically around school supplies and books.

In his free time, Bryan enjoys tennis, pickleball, softball, and golf. Bryan has a passion for cooking, especially when it involves using outdoor smokers or grills. Bryan also plays an active role in his son and daughter’s athletic teams.

Caroline Betty Trennepohl

Board of Trustees at the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Caroline Betty Trennepohl

Board of Directors, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Caroline Betty Trennepohl currently holds the position of Campaign Manager at the E.W. Scripps Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. Moreover, Caroline assumes additional responsibilities within the organization. She serves as the Chair of Community Service for the Scripps Women’s Network, contributing her leadership to this vital aspect of their initiatives. Additionally, Caroline holds the position of Chair of Talent Acquisition for the Women in Tech Program, further showcasing her commitment to promoting gender diversity in the tech industry. She is also involved in many other leadership boards and is a member of Junior League Cincinnati.

On top of working full time, she is obtaining her MBA from the University of Cincinnati.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Caroline is also dedicated to community development. She has established a nonprofit organization called “Girls C.A.N. Mentoring,” which is dedicated to advocating for the discovery of purpose and passion, while also providing exposure to a diverse array of career paths. Caroline is also actively engaged in various community roles. She has over 100 mentors from over 30 states.

Scroll to Top