A desire to help with engineering

Representing the engineering, science and math alumni and students of Case Western Reserve University.

Jonathan Hicks, 2018 Junior/Senior recipient. 

A desire to help with engineering

With a boost from alumni, Jonathan Hicks is on his way to repairing the most amazing machine of all

A love for tinkering with machinery led Jonathan Hicks into engineering. His heart steered him toward the medical end of the field, where he believes he can do the most good.


“The body is the most amazing machine,” says Hicks, a sophomore from Cleveland Heights who is majoring in biomedical engineering.


He hopes to design and build a new generation of prosthetics, explaining, “I want to give back to people who lost something.”


First, he needs to master his classes and pay the tuition bill at the Case School of Engineering. The Case Alumni Association is helping him to meet that challenge. Hicks, who hails from a family of modest means, received a 2018 Junior/Senior Scholarship, made possible by alumni donations. The scholarship will complement his work-study income, he said, and help him take advantage of opportunities that still seem boundless.


“It’s great to be able to focus on your studies without worrying, ‘Can I stay here?’” he said.


He’s an energetic young man with a happy laugh and a strong sense of obligation. Both of his parents are church pastors. Childhood invention camps sparked his interest in engineering. A campus tour in high school convinced him Case was the place.


“It looked like an engineering school,” he said. “And all these resources close by—University Hospital, the VA. Legendary professors like Dr. Saidel. Every day I’m here I’m going, ‘Oh, wow!’”


He has no personal experience with amputees or people who use prosthetics, but both of his grandfathers are military veterans. He said he sees a chance to repay injured veterans for the price they’ve paid defending the country.


More broadly, he thinks engineering, and the opportunities offered by CWRU, put him in a position to better many people’s lives. He’s not waiting for the degree.


In July of 2017, when a promising high school student was hit by stray bullets in a drive-by shooting on Cleveland’s east side and later died, Hicks’ instincts kicked in.


With classmate Arik Stewart, he started the Michael Chappman Scholarship fund, then delivered the heartening news to the teen’s devastated mother. No matter that he had never met the young man.


“That shooting hit me so hard,” Hicks said. “As a young black man, that could have been me. This was random. This should not happen.”


The scholarship is intended to help a Cleveland Metropolitan School District student attend college. Both Hicks and Stewart are leaders in the African American Society of CWRU and the fund is sponsored by the student group. Anyone can donate HERE.


“This is about helping a promising high school student, in the name of a student who lost his opportunity,” Hicks said.


The Junior/Senior Scholarship program helps promising engineering and science students finish their Case degrees. To learn more, contact Janna Greer, Manager of Donor Relations, at janna.greer@casealum.org; 216-368-3647. If you wish to donate to the Case Fund to support scholarships, please click HERE.

“It’s great to be able to focus on your studies without worrying, ‘Can I stay here?’”

Jonathan Hicks

©2020 All rights reserved.