Alena McCain, a Wright State University graduate computer science student who was vaccinated against COVID-19 in April, is a winner of $10,000 in Ohio’s Vax-2-School lottery.
McCain, of West Chester, was among 30 Ohioans whose names were drawn Nov. 29 under the direction of the Ohio Department of Health. Ohioans ages 18 to 25 who received at least their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were eligible to register for the drawing.
“I was honestly speechless,” McCain said after learning that she had won $10,000. “All I kept saying was this is crazy. I thought it was a scam at first because I never thought I would actually win.”
Ohio Vax-2-School is a public outreach campaign to increase awareness of the availability and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and provide incentives to younger Ohioans to get a vaccination. It is awarding 150 scholarships worth $10,000 each and five $100,000 scholarships to Ohio colleges or universities for career or technical education.
McCain said she decided to get vaccinated because she wanted to get back to participating in clubs and other activities at Wright State and thought being vaccinated would help with that.
Her advice to fellow students regarding vaccinations?
“Even if you’re unsure about getting vaccinated, something good can come out of it,” she said.
McCain became interested in computer programming as a career in high school at Lakota West.
“My high school offered computer science courses, so I decided to take those and realized how much I enjoyed programming,” she said.
After graduating from high school in 2016, she enrolled at Wright State. In the spring of 2020, she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
McCain, whose husband is a deployed Marine, is currently pursuing her master’s degree in computer science while working full-time in computer software development. She plans to use her lottery winnings to pay off student loans.