Bezos Scholars Program Announces 2022 Cohort
On May 5, the Bezos Scholars Program (BSP) was excited to announce its 2022 cohort of Scholars. The cohort’s 13 teams, made up of rising high school seniors and educators from across the U.S. and Africa, will design and lead projects to foster change in their communities.
As in previous years, the applicant pool was extremely competitive. U.S. applicants attend a public school with a free and reduced lunch rate of 30% or higher to increase equity of opportunity. African applicants attend the African Leadership Academy, located in Johannesburg, South Africa which has been in partnership with the program since 2011. Scholars are selected based on their commitment to education, demonstrated leadership abilities, willingness to embrace challenges, and desire to create positive change in their communities.
The Bezos Family Foundation launched 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. The program usually begins with an all-expenses paid trip to the Aspen Ideas Festival, where students engage in leadership training, panel discussions, and exclusive conversations with many of the world's most acclaimed global leaders. This experience 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 which they can reapply for. 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 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 U.S.-based Scholars:
Student Scholar Kayla Mitchell and Educator Felicia Dalton
Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha, Kenosha, Wisconsin
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 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 “MoMo” Ahmed, Mohamed “Taha” Khorchani, Rehema Bogita, Wazaino “Wazi” 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.