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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

Crystal Berg

Crystal's thesis documentary will explore climate-induced polar/grizzly bear hybridization in the Canadian Arctic. Working alongside biologists and local guides, this film sets out to examine this rare, yet growing phenomenon, and what is means for the future of polar bears. 

Robert Boyd

Robert's producing a documentary about the abundant microbial growth, flourishing in kitchens and bathrooms, due to water wastefulness. His film, Table to Toilet: Fueling a Microbial Bonfire, will hold a microscopic mirror up to viewers, showing them the immediate effects, of their wasteful water usage.

Mary Alice Mcmillan

Mary Alice McMillan is an MFA candidate in American University’s Film and Media Arts program. A North Carolina native, she is passionate about stories of rural America and the intersection between the environment and health. She is developing her thesis film about breast cancer-related genetic disorders and the role that environmental factors play in the study of genetics. Mary Alice hopes to pursue a career as an independent documentary filmmaker and share stories to create positive change.

Jay strojnowski

Jay has a particular interest in relatively unexplored aesthetic approach to photography and filming. Jay's project, ALL RED: Great Falls National Park is an experimental environmental short film that examines Great Falls National Park solely through the use of the infrared spectrum. It is the first infrared experimental/environmental film recorded with a raw video codec using a dedicated infrared cinema camera.

Shannon Shikles

As Shannon is working on her thesis film, simple and clear is not enough. SCICOMM: Raising Our Voice for Science in Public Policy will show what scientists deduce to be the next step in communicating science, why it is important and why it has to be different.

Ashley Luke

Ashley's producing a short documentary about the climate refugees of Louisiana's bayou. An area still recovering from the impact of Hurricane Katrina more than 10 years later caused alarming displacement of the coastal region. The documentary will examine how these refugees have adapted to the natural and manmade threats to their environment.

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