When the Aspen Ideas Festival returns to in-person programming this June, attendees will include dozens of exceptional high school students and educators from across the US and Africa as a part of the Bezos Scholars Program. The 17th Bezos Scholars cohort kicks off at the Festival, where students engage in leadership training, panel discussions, and exclusive conversations with many of the world’s most acclaimed global leaders.
The Bezos Family Foundation began the Scholars program in 2005 to provide young people with a platform to design solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing their local areas. This experience at Aspen sets the stage for the challenge ahead: launching sustainable community change projects to transform their communities.
“The 2022 cohort of Bezos Scholars are proving to be an inspiring collective of leaders spanning nine states and six countries across Africa,” said Molly Pencke, Bezos Scholars program manager at the Bezos Family Foundation “We are thrilled to start working alongside such a diverse, talented and passionate group to help support them in developing youth-led projects that will make an important meaningful difference in each community they are representing.”
For their participation in the program, Scholars receive more than 40 hours of leadership curriculum, access to Scholar-only notable speaker sessions with inspirational leaders, and $1,000 in seed funding to launch their community change projects. Students also receive free one-on-one college advising, free online tutoring services, and upon program completion, access to unique opportunities offered through the Scholar Alumni Network.
The topics and themes of Scholar projects are as diverse as the Scholars themselves and are designed to align Scholars’ passions with an existing community need. Many address climate justice, inequities in education, advocating for the rights of underrepresented communities, and the need to create space for civil discourse. Since the program’s inception, more than 188 projects have been launched by Scholars garnering the participation of up to 50,000 attendees.
The Bezos Family Foundation is honored to welcome the following 2022 Scholars:
Student Scholar Chandler Vernon and Educator Michael Clear Jr.
Cedar Hill High School, Dallas, Texas
Student Scholar Eduardo Javier Acevedo and Educator Taylor Alcantar-Campbell
Global Leadership Academy, Denver, Colorado
Student Scholar Amelia Coates and Educator Diane Burke
Framingham High School, Framingham, Massachusetts
Student Scholar Diya Jha and Educator Paige Spangler
Governor Thomas Johnson High School, Frederick, Maryland
Student Scholar Anish Aradhey and Educator Danae Delozier
Harrisonburg High School, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Student Scholar Ana Garces and Educator Natilisa Rodriguez
Idea Weslaco Pike, Progreso, Texas
Student Scholar Franklin Wu and Educator Sally Woolweaver
Lamar High School, Houston, Texas
Student Scholar Abigail Wahl and Educator Tina H. Carter
North Stanly High School, New London, North Carolina
Student Scholar Nhaomi Lartey and Educator Ava L. Alexander
Penn Wood High School, Lansdowne, Pennsylvania
Student Scholar Jacqueline Ballesteros Martinez and Educator Sarah Lester Guzmán
Seaside High School, Seaside, California
Student Scholar Jean Lin and Educator Erik Wittanen
Union High School, Camas, WA
Student Scholar Eric Ye and Educator Jessica Lujan
Los Altos High School, Hacienda Heights, CA
Student Scholars Michael Olivier, Mohamed Ahmed, Mohamed Khorchani, Rehema Bogita, Wazaino Mwambene and Educator Maria Natalia Sikombe
African Leadership Academy, Johannesburg, South Africa
To see full Scholar biographies and photos, please visit the Meet the Scholars page of the Bezos Scholars Program website.