Mamie Earl Sells Scholarship

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The YWCA Mamie Earl Sells Scholarship Fund

Mamie Earl Sells was committed to young people, promoting programs that encouraged them to expand and improve their personal lives and career opportunities. This scholarship is dedicated to her memory, honoring her loyalty and service to the community through her volunteer work in the arts, education, racial justice programs and social services. Personally dedicated to the YWCA during the last decade of her life, Mamie played a leadership role in developing the Career Women of Achievement event and served as board member, vice president of membership and overall friend to the YWCA.

This scholarship award honors Mamie’s philosophy that we must “lift as we climb,” meaning that we must act as role models and mentors to the young women of today and tomorrow.

The YWCA Mamie Earl Sells Scholarship Fund was established in 1993 to provide financial assistance and support to an outstanding African-American female Greater Cincinnati high school senior entering a post-secondary institution. The scholarship is offered annually in conjunction with the YWCA Career Women of Achievement Luncheon. A committee evaluates and updates the scholarship application, assists in its distribution and promotion, and selects 10 finalists, who include two runners-up and one winner. Evaluation criteria include academic record, personal challenges and hardships, ACT and/or SAT scores, letters of recommendation, class rank, honors and awards, involvement in extra-curricular activities and community service, and employment history. Applicants are required to write two brief essays, one describing their greatest challenge and how it has affected them, and one explaining what Mamie Earl Sells’ philosophy, “Lift as we climb,” means to them.

Applications for the 2019 award are now closed.

For questions, email Sophia Gilligan Helms or call (513) 361-2127.


The 2018 Mamie Earl Sells Scholarship is presented by The Kroger Co. The recipient was honored at the 39th Annual Career Women of Achievement Luncheon on May 9, 2018.


2018 Mamie Earl Sells Scholarship Fund Winner

Natera Bean

Purcell Marian High School earning dual credit from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

Natera has big plans and she credits the birth of her son for motivating her to reach for the stars. Initially fearful of revealing to classmates and teachers that she was a teen mom, Natera shared her secret and found boundless support. Now, as Natera prepares to graduate, she does so with a 4.2 grade point average due to simultaneous enrollment in college courses that have provided 22 college credit hours. She has accomplished this feat while taking full responsibility for her son, fulfilling community service requirements and working as a barista.

When Natera looks back she realizes she had a choice: dwell on the negative side of an unplanned teen pregnancy or venture down a positive path. “I opted into a more optimistic lifestyle which has not only aided me through motherhood, but also throughout my high school career and dealing with pessimistic individuals,” she reveals.

Motherhood thrust Natera into maturity. She has no regrets. Her long and short term goals are bold. She intends to work her way through Xavier University as a psychology major with little to no debt, attend graduate school to study clinical neuroscience and then become a pediatric clinical psychologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Watch Natera's video

See where all of our Scholarship winners attended High School and were accepted into College.