The Firestone Fellowship Fund honors Charles M. Firestone, director of the Communications and Society Program from 1989 to 2020, and his commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion over the course of his fifty year career in communications policy. The Aspen Institute Firestone Fellowship Fund, previously the Guest Scholar Scholarship, is an initiative meant to give students of color the opportunity to foster their professional and academic career in the field of media, innovation, and technology policy. Each year doctoral (or other advanced graduate program) students of color are invited to apply for a Fellowship to attend an Aspen Digital roundtable or event. The program first began in 2001.
For summer 2021, we offered the Firestone Fellowship for two Aspen Digital projects. A third opportunity will be announced later in the fall as the program is developed. Our summer projects were in:
- Communications Policy: A host of virtual meeting sessions will explore the impact of the “digital divide,” data tracking and collection policies, and digital civic engagement on youth of color in Native American, Alaskan Native, Black, and Latinx communities. In 2019, participants explored the potential harms around the advent of the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and 5G, creating societal recommendations.
- Cybersecurity: This project will revolve around open-source software resilience, cyber routing security, diversity, equity and inclusion in the cybersecurity workforce, and more. This program’s solutions-based approach fosters collaboration among tech companies, civic organizations, and policymakers.
As a Firestone Fellow, students are full project participants in virtual roundtable discussions or events. Fellows have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of competing tensions on important issues and gain a network of professional colleagues. Fellows will meet industry leaders at an early, critical stage in their careers and will be able to publish their informed opinion on a related project topic. More importantly, they will become a part of a community of Firestone Fellows in which they can communicate, collaborate and engage, and have the opportunity to connect with other participants as they build their professional lives.