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Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship Award

Applications are now being accepted for 2014-2015 scholarships. Apply now.

Leroy F. Aarons dedicated his life to journalism. He believed that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community could advance if the news media fairly and accurately portrayed the lives of LGBT individuals and their issues. This simple but visionary idea became the foundation for the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA).

Aarons knew that coverage of the LGBT community, as well as that of other minority communities, required increasing sophistication and training for journalists. He realized early that improving coverage had to start in the training camps for young journalists – journalism schools at the nation's colleges and universities. In NLGJA's 15th year, the Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship Award was established to honor Aarons' memory and to continue the work he began when he founded NLGJA in 1990.

The scholarship award for the 2014-2015 academic year will provide up to $3,000 in tuition funding to an LGBT student who plans a career in journalism and is committed to furthering NLGJA's mission of fair and accurate coverage of the LGBT community.

Contributors

NLGJA is grateful to its members, friends and corporate sponsors who have contributed to the NLGJA Scholarship Fund, including CNN's inaugural gift of $100,000 in January of 2006.

Criteria

Applicants must be planning to pursue a career in journalism, be able to demonstrate their passion and commitment to the profession. Selection will be based on journalistic and scholastic ability. Applicants also must demonstrate an awareness of the issues facing the LGBT community and the importance of fair and accurate news coverage.

For undergraduates, a declared major in journalism and/or communications is desirable but not required. Non-journalism majors may demonstrate their commitment to a journalism career through work samples, internships, and work on a school news publication, online news service or broadcast affiliate.

Graduate students must be enrolled in a journalism program.

Who Can Apply

  • High school seniors who have been accepted to attend a U.S. community college or four-year university, or who can show proof of application to a community college or four-year university and will attend full-time for two consecutive terms during the 2014-2015 term.
  • Undergraduate students who will attend a U.S. community college or four year university full-time for two consecutive terms during the 2014-2015 term.
  • Undergraduate students who have been accepted for their first year of a U.S. graduate school for the 2011-2012 academic year.

How to Apply 

A complete application package should be submitted electronically. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

Application packages should include:

  • Application.
  • One-page résumé.
  • Five work samples as described under work samples.
  • Proof of attendance: a letter of acceptance or a letter of enrollment from a U.S. community college or four-year university (contact bach@nlgja.org for exceptions). Scanned coppies accepted. 
  • Write and publish a news story to tumblr of words and multimedia. Pick one story topic: 
    • Profile a senior LGBT activist in your community. Use text, video, audio, stills, and/or infographics to show this person's story and role in the community. 
    • Address a legislative initiative in your community that impacts the LGBT population. Use text, video, audio, stills, and/or infographics to show the impact. 
    • Cover an LGBT event in your community. Use text, video, audio, stills, and/or infographics to cover different aspects of the event. 
    • Have a great idea that's not mentioned here? Pitch it to our staff: aarons@nlgja.org.

Any audio or video element should be between 2 and 5 minutes. Photo galleries should have between 10 and 30 photos. Infographics should be limited to two graphics. Text should be no more than 750 words. 

Stories do not require all elements, but should be designed for online consumption where users expect a rich multi media presentation. 

  • Official transcript, scanned digital copies accepted. Please mail physocal copies to:

Aaron's Scholarship – NLGJA 
2120 L St NW, Suite 850
Washington, DC 20037

Please send applications  questiosn to Aarons@nlgja.org and include the name of the applicant in the subject line.

Application Fee

There is no application fee for the Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship.

Administration

NLGJA partnered with The Philadelphia Foundation (TPF), a community foundation established in 1918, to administer the NLGJA Student Scholarship Fund. The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund, a component fund of TPF serving to advance philanthropy within the LGBT communities, will disburse the scholarship awards upon receiving recommendation from NLGJA during each award period.

Work Samples

  • Print - Samples written by the applicant and published in a high school, college or community newspaper, magazine or online news service. Samples should be submitted as scans in either *.jpg or *.pdf formats.
  • Video - Should be submitted via e-mail when possible. Embedded video, file downloads or web addresses are also acceptable. Work samples may contain more than one story but should be no longer than 10 minutes.
  • Audio - Should be submitted via e-mail when possible. File downloads or web addresses are also acceptable. Work samples may contain more than one story but should be no longer than 10 minutes.
  • Photographic - Images should be examples of published work from a high school, college or community newspaper, magazine or online news service. Published submissions and/or originals should be submitted in *.jpg, *.pdf, *.tif or *.gif formats.


Deadline and Schedule

Completed applications must arrive in full by June 15, 2013 at 11:59pm (Eastern). NLGJA is not responsible for any incomplete or late applications, nor any late applications due to e-mail delays. The recipient will be notified about their award on July 15, 2013.

*Any undelivered application will be considered incomplete.

Excellence Contract

  • Application and receipt of the Aarons Scholarship will be considered a Contract of Excellence between applicant and NLGJA. The contract commits the student to a level of academic achievement and to a continuing role as a member of NLGJA. Specifically, the contract requires the scholarship recipient to: 
  • Maintain a 3.2-point grade average during the academic year that the scholarship is awarded. If the grade point average falls below 3.0, the student may be ineligible to receive subsequent scholarship disbursements.
  • Provide NLGJA with transcripts for each term covered by the scholarship.
  • Originate and complete a project designed to advance the mission of NLGJA. A project can be done in conjunction with class work or work done for student publications, broadcast or online media. Examples of a project include:
  • Produce a project or other body of work for a campus or LGBT news organization that focuses on diversity themes.
  • Produce a project or other body of work for a class that focuses on diversity themes. Participate in a campus diversity event where the student will speak or organize a program focusing on the importance of news coverage of diversity issues.
  • Work with a local or student NLGJA chapter to produce a significant program focused on news coverage of diversity issues.
  • Work with an assigned mentor to meet the terms of the contract. The mentor will be responsible for working with the student to conceive and produce the project. 

Restrictions and Terms

The scholarship is available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who plan to attend a full year of school in the U.S. The scholarship may not be used to pay for course work or credits earned abroad. The scholarship award may pay for tuition only. The amount of the scholarship award will not exceed the student's annual tuition costs.

Awards usually will be disbursed in equal increments at the beginning of each quarter or semester. The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) will work with college or university financial aid offices to determine the best schedule for distributing awards, which will be sent directly to the institution. No payments will be made directly to students. The scholarship award will not exceed the cost of tuition.

Return of Awards

Recipients who are unable to finish the academic year because of illness or family emergencies may be asked to reimburse DVLF for awards provided for the uncompleted quarter or semester. Students suspended from school for inadequate academic performance, disciplinary action or who were charged with a criminal offense will be asked to repay their entire scholarship. DVLF will return the unused funds into NLGJA's distribution account or endowment, at NLGJA's recommendation.