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National Geographic HBCU Scholarship Joins Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars Program


In a joint announcement, the Walt Disney Company and UNCF (United Negro College Fund) have introduced the commencement of the 2023 Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program. This initiative encompasses students from various four-year institutions across the nation, including a significant representation from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
The 2023 cohort of scholars will be granted annual scholarships, with a number of them having undergone the application process and secured paid internships at Disney for the upcoming summer. These scholarships are being awarded to junior and senior students who are pursuing degrees in fields such as business, communications, creative writing, journalism, film/media, and science. Additionally, these scholars will gain access to mentorship opportunities and will also be considered for potential full-time positions within Disney upon their graduation.
The Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program is an extension of Disney's longstanding commitment to nurturing aspiring storytellers and innovators, in partnership with UNCF. It constitutes a significant aspect of the Disney Future Storytellers initiative. Disney's support for UNCF scholars encompasses various facets, including scholarships, mentorship, internship placements, professional development, and workshops aimed at exploring career opportunities. Disney remains dedicated to motivating future storytellers by frequently arranging guest speakers for UNCF events and extending invitations to UNCF scholars and staff for exclusive previews of Disney film screenings.
A notable addition to this year's scholars is the introduction of a series of college scholarships supported by FX as part of the Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program. These scholarships are being established to honor the legacy of the renowned director and producer, John Singleton. Singleton's association with FX dates back to 2016 when he received an Emmy® Award nomination for his outstanding work on the acclaimed limited series "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story." He further played a pivotal role as the Co-Creator and Executive Producer of the acclaimed drama series "Snowfall." Notably, Singleton holds the distinction of being the youngest and first Black individual to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. The primary aim of these newly introduced scholarships is to inspire and empower the next generation of Black artists, following in the footsteps of John Singleton, as an integral part of the Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program.
“Every artist has that person, the one that makes it over the hill so they could tell you everything is ok. Mine was John Singleton,” said Damson Idris, actor, Snowfall.
“It was a rare honor to work with the legendary John Singleton on several iconic FX series and to see him in action as a leader, mentor, and friend to so many,” said John Landgraf, chairman, FX Content & FX Productions. “John was generous to a fault with his time and wisdom, having never forgotten where he came from and the hard work it took to break barriers. FX is proud to endow these scholarships in John’s name so that his legacy will inspire the next generation and offer meaningful assistance as they follow the trail he blazed.”
Andscape's Rhoden Fellows, renowned for nurturing emerging talents in sports journalism from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), is joining forces with the Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program for the very first time. This collaborative initiative represents a significant milestone. Spearheaded by Andscape's editor-at-large and esteemed former New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden, the Rhoden Fellows program embarks on a mission to shape the next generation of sports journalists.
Spanning an entire year, the fellowship is dedicated to cultivating fresh and diverse voices while serving as a breeding ground for aspiring multicultural journalists. Through this endeavor, scholars receive scholarships and presently participate as summer interns at Andscape. The comprehensive curriculum of the fellowship encompasses a diverse array of learning experiences, including producing written pieces from on-site events, crafting engaging weekly podcasts, conceptualizing innovative storytelling concepts, and contributing to content featured on the Andscape digital platform. Moreover, the fellowship ensures an ongoing journey of education, professional growth, and immersive journalism projects throughout the upcoming academic year.
Following an intense 10-week summer immersion program in collaboration with Andscape and ESPN, the fellows return to their campuses, assuming roles as local correspondents for Andscape throughout the academic year. This holistic approach further solidifies the program's commitment to fostering a well-rounded and impactful learning experience for the Rhoden Fellows.
“We are thrilled to welcome the seventh class of Rhoden Fellows! They reflect the future of journalism and the vision of Andscape,” said Raina Kelley, vice president and editor-in-chief, Andscape. “We embrace their diverse experiences and boundless curiosity. We look forward to nurturing them and providing the platform for them to shine brighter.”
In a noteworthy expansion, the National Geographic Content HBCU Scholarship program will now be integrated into the Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program. This forward-looking collaboration builds upon the foundation laid since 2021 by the National Geographic program, which has been instrumental in providing scholars with invaluable real-world opportunities to access and engage with the factual entertainment sector.
The recipients of this scholarship are not only granted financial support but also gain entry into a multi-day immersive experience hosted at the National Geographic campus in Washington, D.C. Furthermore, they are privileged to be part of an enriching six-month mentorship program led by a distinguished National Geographic executive. This comprehensive approach ensures that scholars are equipped with both theoretical knowledge and practical exposure, paving the way for their success in the dynamic world of factual entertainment.
“At National Geographic, the power, influence, and reach that our stories have around the world is unparalleled,” said Karen Greenfield, senior vice president, Content, Diversity & Inclusion, National Geographic.
“We want to ensure that the stories we tell are not only impactful and relevant, but are also authentic, diverse, and reflective of our global audience and experiences. Through the Nat Geo Content HBCU Scholarship program, we hope to inspire and cultivate the next generation of factual storytellers.”

The 2023 Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars are:
Name School Major 
Jordan Caldwell Clark Atlanta University Art
Zacharias Tapp Pepperdine University Business
Brynn Warren Dillard University Film
Samantha Whitley New York University Creative Writing
Tiyena Bienaime Florida International University Public Relations, Advertising & Applied Comms
Adrianna Boyd University of Florida Business Administration
Alexandria Greenlee Spelman College Science
Antoinette (Toni) Lorfils North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Laboratory Animal Science
Kameron Napoli Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Business Administration
Lauren Randle California State University-Bakersfield Business Administration
Erin Foster Spelman College Media Communications
Takier George Howard University Creative Writing
Lawrence Goss IV Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Broadcast Journalism
Kamryn Jackson North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Mass Communication & Journalism
Chanel Fraction University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Communications