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Center Scholars

The Scholars program recognizes and salutes graduate students who show outstanding leadership as reflected in their proposed thesis films. Several Center Scholars are selected annually on their ability to further the Center's mission. Each Center Scholar receives a $1,000 - 2,000 stipend.

The Center's mission is to inspire a new generation of filmmakers and media experts whose commitment to environmental stewardship drives them to produce creative work that is informative, ethically sound, entertaining--and makes a positive difference.

Center Scholars are selected as they embark on their thesis projects during the second year of their graduate program, when they have accumulated at least 18 credit hours. Part-time students are also eligible. 

Scholars must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be in good standing, have a record of excellence in film, video, or new media production, and a minimum GPA of 3.5.
  2. Exhibit outstanding intellect, leadership, and ambition.
  3. Show they are determined to make films that matter, that make a difference, and that make the world a better place.
  4. Demonstrate perseverance, creativity, passion, diligence, and integrity through their past work.
  5. Have a thesis topic which advances the Center's mission.

To apply, please submit a one page letter by November 1 describing how you will use a $1,000 - 2,000 grant to further your thesis film.

Include with the letter your project proposal, which should include a synopsis of your film, a list of anticipated expenses, the name of your lead faculty advisor, an up-to-date resume, and a note from your advisor that the project has been approved.

A faculty committee will judge the entries and grant awards based on each student's merit and commitment to the mission of the Center. Scholars will be announced by November 20.

Please contact Maggie Burnette Stogner if you have questions via email or by phone at 202-885-2160.

Current Scholars

Hyatt Mamoun

With an interest in the connection between humans and wildlife, Hyatt’s project, Bahamian Queen, explores the future of the Queen Conch in connection to the species’ importance culturally and economically. Hyatt’s project aims to present solutions with a dynamic impact plan. A key feature of the Bahamian Queen project is the focus on proactive conservation efforts rather than reactive efforts.

Robert Boyd

Working with the National Park Service, Robert Boyd is producing two short films highlighting influential scientific research conducted in the Everglades and Indiana Dunes National Parks. Robert's interests lie in using films to highlight the world's diversity of microscopic life, and the ways in which that life intersects with human society.


Mary Alice Mcmillan

Mary Alice McMillan is an MFA candidate in American University’s Film and Media Arts program.  She has recieved this award to help with her thesis film “Mapping Love” about how living just blocks away from the Love Canal superfund site, which has resulted in multiple cases of cancer in her family and now affects the next generation. Mary Alice hopes to pursue a career as an independent documentary filmmaker and share stories to create positive change.

Beth Ebisch

Beth is an MFA student with a focus in environmental documentary filmmaking. Coming from Colorado, Beth has a deep passion for mountainous environments, which led to the development of her thesis film "Full Circle" about conservation efforts of high-elevation explorers on Colorado's fourteeners, or 14,000 foot peaks. 

Grace Eggleston

Grace is an MFA student with a focus in environmental filmmaking. She is interested in wildlife and freshwater conservation and has received this award to support the production of her thesis film, a virtual reality documentary entitled “Upriver.” Through immersive filmmaking, she aims to teach kids about the invasive Asian Carp that are threateningly close to the Great Lakes ecosystem, as well as the stewardship of the fishermen and women keeping who are keeping them out.

2019 Center Scholars
Crystal Berg, Robert Boyd, Mary Alice McMillan, Jay Strojnowski, Shannon Shikles, and Ashley Luke.
2018 Center Scholars
Crystal Solberg, Robert Boyd, Sirjaut Kaur Dhariwal, Elizabeth Herzfeldt-Kamprath, Gaby Krevat, Ashley Luke, Amelia Tyson, and Kent Wagner
2017 Center Scholars
Emma Dacol, Sirjaut Kaur Dhariwal, Elizabeth Herzfeldt-Kamprath, Ashley Holmes, Megan King, Dorian Russel, Sam Sheline, Crystal Solberg, and Kent Wagner
2016 Center Scholars
Vanina Harel, Elizabeth Herzfeldt-Kamprath, Sam Sheline, Kent Wagner, and Nick Zachar
2014-2015 Center Scholars
Vanina Harel, Jamey Warner, and Nick Zachar
2012-2013 Center Scholars
Maria Arreguin, Erin Finicane, Sarah Gulick, Sylvia Johnson, Brian Kelley, Ana Sotelo, Jenny Stratton, and Corin Wilson
2011-2012 Center Scholars
Sarah Gulick, Helenah Svedberg, Jennifer Stratton, Aditi Desai, and Sylvia Johnson
2010-2011 Center Scholars
Aditi Desai, Kai Fang, Jeremy Polk, Irene Magafan, and Sylvia Johnson
2009-2010 Center Scholars
Ellen Tripler, Danny Ledonne, and Shanon Sparks