Since 2005, Scholars from across the United States and Africa have raised awareness and mobilized action in their communities and beyond. As Bezos Scholars, students and educators have inspired change on issues such as mental health awareness and advocacy, civic engagement, STEM education, environmental justice, refugee and immigrant rights, and much more.
Ana Acevedo & Camille Edwards-Thomas
New Rochelle High School, NY
Anna Schumacher & Karin Fritz-Staley
Detroit Lakes High School, MN
Casey Chaffin & John Divelbiss
West Salem High School, OR
Cole Robbins & Dr. Erica Bauer
Walter Payton College Preparatory High School, IL
Debora Gonzalez & Jeff Dearing
School for Advanced Studies, FL
Faris Qubain & Molly Diallo
Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High School, FL
Jacob Urbina & Cody Mitchell
Elkhart High School, TX
Michael Mireles & Marcos Silva
IDEA Quest College Preparatory High School, TX
Peter Yang & Dan Maloney
James Madison High School, WI
Shubham Pai & Jill McNulty
The Connecticut IB Academy, CT
Tonaysia Price & Okemia June
Northwest School for the Arts, NC
Yabundu Conteh & Teng Yang
Democracy Prep Charter High School, NY
& Melissa Mbazo
African Leadership Academy
The Aspen Ideas Festival had a contagious energy and passion that I fully absorbed and will spread to others.
I think this program is a microcosm of what we need more of in this society. Providing opportunities for collaboration and creative thought amongst students and faculty.
I am tremendously inspired by my fellow Scholars. I found that I had something to share with each of them and they, likewise, had amazing things to tell me.
It’s not often you get the opportunity to meet others from other school districts to talk about what works well and think about possible changes to make in my own community or school.
To make change, I don’t have to cure a disease, open a non-profit, or launch into space; all I have to do is be present for my fellow human beings. I can change the world—even if that world belongs to just one person.
The common thread of the meta-experience in Aspen is empathy; I have looked at empathy as the appropriate response to life, whereas empathy should actually sit at the forefront of action.
Being able to interact in the same room with people from the southernmost tip of Texas to the northwest of the United States to Uganda was an incredible experience, and one that I doubt I will be able to replicate.
The week in Aspen inspired me to invest in my personal leadership development more deeply, and helped to clarify my personal mission and vision.
I discovered that the best things to think of are the hardest to think about.
My week in Aspen reaffirmed my conviction that personal testimony puts a face on the headlines… and obligates us to act meaningfully in collaboration with those who need our help and whose help we need.
One of the most valuable concepts that I learned was the idea that leadership comes in different forms, and anyone can truly become a leader and act as a catalyst for change in their community and beyond.
I will always carry the title of Bezos Educator Scholar with great pride.
The experience has inspired me to be a part of this changing world; we are the people that hold the future.
My week spent in Aspen is certainly one of the highlights of my 12-year teaching career, and likely will be one of the bright spots when I decide to retire.
You're never alone in your dreams. There are people all over the world who share your passion for change in an evolving world that demands awareness and action.
It is our turn to impact our community.
The skills and knowledge that I have acquired are something that I not only hope to implement during the Local Ideas Festival, but also throughout my life.
I truly believe I am a different person because of the Bezos Scholars Program.
My greatest satisfaction comes through direct and noticeable change.
This chance to focus on being a learner, and being part of the BSP learning community, helped to strengthen me as a teacher.
I would happily relive my time in Aspen if I had the chance, because the lifelong friends and discoveries I made in that week have inspired me to change for the better and become a person that gives strength and hope to others.
The new knowledge learned at the Aspen Ideas Festival was an eye-opener... and gave a wealth of knowledge that I can take back to my community
BSP has inspired me to be a new type of leader. One that does not fear taking risks.
Often as an educator, I am asked to put my needs aside and tend to the nurturing of my students’ goals. This time around, it was immensely refreshing to realize that I am an individual with a lot of hopes and goals...it invigorated me to trust my own instincts on what I want for myself, my students, my community, and beyond.
That one week in Colorado made me think a lot about my passions and every time I attended a session, I asked myself who I am and where I want to go.
I came to have a deeper understanding that the difference between success and failure in life is not one’s background or current life position, but rather the use of one’s own positive imagination backed up with the individual’s actions.
I think it is prudent and fair for me to give back through my unique story to empower both self and others; I see this as the best way to appreciate others whose stories have shaped my thoughts, decisions, and even how I view my society.
The eagerness of a bunch of young adults to seek the humanity in others and to voice their own yearnings inspired me.
I was a completely different person, changed for the betterment of my community, country, continent, and ultimately for the entire world
There is joy in surrounding yourself with people who think differently to the way that you do; there is so much to learn from other people… big ideas are for everyone.