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HEMI Welcomes New Interns

UC Students Join the HEMI Team!

Introducing Lauren Brodof and Johnny Weiss:

Lauren Brodof is a first-year social work intern here at HEMI. She was raised in Cincinnati, and got her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Ohio University in 2017. While studying, she discovered her passion for social justice issues. She hopes to work with a variety of populations. Like the LGBT+ community, women, children, and the incarcerated population. Outside of school at UC, she enjoys spending her time with friends, volunteering, and taking care of her red bone coon hound, Tucker.

Johnny Weiss is a graduate student at UC. He received his Bachelors of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Sociology in 2018. He is currently in his first year of pursuing an MSW at UC while interning at HEMI. He hopes to use his education to have a meaningful and fulfilling career helping others. Johnny is also a huge Cincinnati sports fan, and says he supports them despite the heartbreak being a fan may bring. He also works at Kings Island as the supervisor of the Park Ambassador Program. He says his looking forward to the people he’ll meet and experiences he’ll have while interning at HEMI!

If you would like to read about Johnathan Beard, our third HEMI intern, visit his story here!

Zoe Huesman is a student worker at the Higher Education Mentoring Initiative (HEMI). She is also a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati, majoring in social work.

Believe in Zero Limitations and You will Succeed

Congrats Justiynn Stone-Knight on your Graduation from Ohio Media School!

HEMI would like to congratulate Justiynn Stone-Knight on obtaining his Associates Degree in Social Media on September 27, 2019 from the Ohio Media School! HEMI asked Justiynn a few questions regarding his experiences in college and his next steps post-graduation.

What made you choose to attend the Ohio Media School?

“I am really into social media. I love Instagram, and wanted to learn how to build my brand as an artist and business man. After doing some research, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about the programs they had to offer, professors, graduation rate, and career outlook.”

What did you gain from the Ohio Media School?

“I learned more about the business side of social media. The work was dependent on the student; they held us accountable for our own projects. I loved that the lessons were visual and that was helpful for me. I liked how music is in the same category as social media. For instance, if you are a music artist, you still have to promote yourself through social media. I was also able to earn my Limited Liability Company (LLC), a business entity that provides both liability protection for owners and members.”

How do you feel now that you have finally graduated from college?

“I feel like I’ve proved the system wrong. It felt good to retaliate in a noble, positive way. I was aggressive previously and that caused me to handle situations in an inappropriate manner. I proved that I was more than just a statistic, and was able to control my emotions. I felt that not everyone really believe in me, and that gave me motivation to prove people wrong.”

What are your career aspirations?

I want to become a music artist; sing, rap, and write music. Every genre counts. I also want to act for movies, television shows, and commercials. If this doesn’t play out well, then I will work for a radio station for the time being.”

What advice would you give someone who is trying to graduate?

“Let the negative things you hear become your motivation. Don’t let the things that people say get to you. We tend to put certain people on a pedestal, and you cannot let their negative opinions sway you. Don’t let the neighborhood that you come from define you. That may be where you are from, but that’s not who you are. Don’t allow others to put their limitations on you.”

Pictured: HEMI Director, Orville McDonald, Jesse Montgomery (mentor), Justiynn Stone-Knight (mentee) and HEMI Program Specialist, Keith Schomaker.

LaTia Kemp is a senior (Class of 2020) at the University of Cincinnati majoring in Criminal Justice, while also pursing a certificate in Forensic Populations. She is currently an intern for Judge Alan C. Triggs and a HEMI student worker.

This week’s blog was written by LaTia Kemp.

HEMI Hangouts Unite Mentees and Mentors

HEMI mentees inaugurate a new program!

What is HEMI Hangouts?

“HEMI Hangouts” is the newest program formed by their very own mentees. The idea was initially brought up by a team member who had some mentees who wanted new ways to connect through casual and fun events. After many conversations, the concept of “HEMI Hangouts” was created. It is a group ran by mentees, for mentees. each month, HEMI mentees and mentors explore activities that are fun and engaging.

Plant Appreciation Day July

On this day, mentees connected with nature by visiting Crohn’s Conservatory. In their time there, they appreciated both the beauty of plants from all types of ecosystems while also considering their importance to the planet. They also ate a clean, vegetarian lunch before creating succulent terrariums. Everyone had the chance to express themselves creatively while also taking a special keepsake for the day.

Scenic River View ExcursionsAugust

HEMI Hangouts help mentees bond, but to also give them the opportunity to experience new adventures never completed previously. Mentees took a six mile kayaking trip on the Little Miami River. While the trip was beginner-friendly, more experienced mentees acknowledges the difficulty of the river. Everyone challenged themselves and enjoyed the beautiful view of the river.

Baker Hunt Painting ClassSeptember

September’s recent HEMI Hangou was hosted and facilitated by our new partner, Baker-Hunt Art & Cultural Center. Their beautiful campus hosts a variety of art classes for anyone from a beginner artist to a hobbyist. The teacher for the evening, Chad Turner, shared his admirable passion for art and previously worked on amazing projects for companies such as Marvel Comics. He taught mentors and mentees about the technique of “broken colors” and instructed everyone to paint a picture inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The night was an incredibly fun way for everyone to share the synergy of community!

Do you have an idea for a future HEMI Hangout? Or do you want to host a HEMI Hangout? Please email

Next week’s blog will feature

the success of our most recent graduate, Justin K.!

Zoe Huesman is a student worker at the Higher Education Mentoring Initiative (HEMI). She is also a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati, majoring in social work.

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