Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship Award
Leroy F. Aarons dedicated his life to journalism. He believed that the LGBTQ+ community could advance if the news media fairly and accurately portrayed the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals and their issues. This simple but visionary idea became the foundation for NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists. Aarons knew that coverage of the LGBTQ+ 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: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists’ 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: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists in 1990. The scholarship award for the 2023-2024 academic year will provide up to $5,000 in tuition funding to an LGBTQ+ student who plans a career in journalism and is committed to furthering NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists’ mission of fair and accurate coverage of the LGBTQ+ community.
NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists is grateful to its members, friends and corporate sponsors who have contributed to the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists Scholarship Fund, including CNN’s inaugural gift of $100,000 in January of 2006.
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 LGBTQ+ 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. Applicants must be NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists members in good standing.
Who Can Apply
- Current or incoming undergrad students enrolled in a U.S. community college or four-year university. Proof of acceptance or current enrollment required.
- Current or incoming graduate students enrolled in an accredited journalism or mass communications field. Proof of acceptance or current enrollment required.
How to Apply
A complete application package should be submitted electronically. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Application packages should include:
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for exceptions). Scanned copies accepted
- Official transcript, scanned digital copies accepted. Please mail physical copies to:
Aarons Scholarship – NLGJA 2120 L St NW, Suite 850 Washington, DC 20037
Please send application questions to email@example.com and include the name of the applicant in the subject line.
There is no application fee for the Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship.
NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists 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 LGBTQ+ communities, will disburse the scholarship awards upon receiving recommendation from NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists during each award period.
- 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
Applications for the Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship open each year in late April and must be submitted by late May. Scholarship recipients will be notified in mid-July. Check back in 2024 for specific dates and deadlines for the 2024 Scholarship.
NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists is not responsible for any incomplete or late applications, nor any late applications due to e-mail delays. *Any undelivered application will be considered incomplete.
- Application and receipt of the Aarons Scholarship will be considered a Contract of Excellence between applicant and NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists. The contract commits the student to a level of academic achievement and to a continuing role as a member of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists. 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: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists. 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 LGBTQ+ 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: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists 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. The scholarship must be disbursed within the calendar year it is awarded. 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: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists’ distribution account or endowment, at NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists’ recommendation.