Around the Institute

Apply Now: The 2016 Bezos Scholars Program

January 21, 2016  • Nicole Hanson, Guest Blogger

Watch the video above to learn more about the Bezos Scholars Program.

The Bezos Scholars Program at the Aspen Institute seeks outstanding high school juniors and educators for a powerful leadership development and scholarship opportunity to attend the 2016 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, CO.

As the February 16th application deadline for this year’s Scholars approaches, Indianapolis-based educator and past Bezos Scholar Mel Coryell reflects on her experience in the program.

Mike Bezos uses an apt metaphor to describe the AIF experience: ‘It’s like drinking from a fire hose.’ In this case, the ‘fire hose’ is a week-long adventure in idea wonderland. That week is a feast for the mind and the senses, where Scholars interact with big-name thinkers and celebrities, like Katie Couric, and take in the art and natural beauty of Aspen. They also get to know themselves and each other better, and meet people like Clifton Kinnie — the Ferguson activist who is only a few years older than the Student Scholars, and who has already changed the world for the better.

After drinking what they can from the fire hose, Scholars leave Aspen with new friendships and connections, as well as with the care and dedication of the Bezos Family Foundation’s team, and they journey back to their hometowns with their reserves full and with knowledge of how and where to find refills when they need them. Then they design their own festivals; they plant seeds and water them and watch them grow!”

The team’s festival will feature storytelling as a medium for connecting with community members and raising awareness of the variety of opportunities available to get involved in long-term service activities in their community. Stay tuned for updates on this and other local Idea Festivals!

Do you know a junior high school student who is a great Bezos Scholars Program candidate? Encourage them to apply and learn more at

Nicole Hanson is manager of youth leadership at the Bezos Family Foundation.