Meet the 2019 Bezos Scholars!


The Bezos Scholars Program inspires and challenges young people to act on their passions and collaborate to address community needs. The program begins with a week in Aspen, Colorado where Scholars participate in the Aspen Ideas Festival and leadership development curriculum. Upon returning home, Scholars are charged with creating a local community change project to raise awareness and mobilize action in their hometowns.

Spring Community Change Project Late June Aspen Ideas Festival April Scholars Selected Early February Applications Due Fall Application Opens Beyond During Before
Beyond During Before Spring Community Change Project Late June Aspen Ideas Festival April Scholars Selected Early February Applications Due Fall Application Opens

Who Participates?

  • 17 students who meet eligibility criteria - 12 U.S. students and their accompanying educators and 5 students and an educator from the African Leadership Academy
  • The principal and educator from the student’s school
  • Two individuals who submit recommendations on behalf of the student applicant
  • The broader community - recruited by Scholars to support their community change project called a Local Ideas Festival

Mid to late October — Application Opens

  • Watch informational Q & A webinars on YouTube hosted by Bezos Scholar Alumna to learn more about the Bezos Scholars Program and the application process.
  • Email with questions

Fall – February — Work on your application

  • Share what is most important to you – your passions, your accomplishments, and your community contributions. Here’s what to look forward to as you complete your application.
    • Part I: Your Story: Basic demographic information, school details, coursework, standardized test scores, extra-curricular activities you participate in, and three written essay responses. Be sure to have unofficial copies of transcripts and test scores to upload.
    • Part II: Support: As part of your application you also need support and completed application materials from the following:
      • 1. Principal: Your school principal must complete a short form, the Principal Support Form, with information about you, your school, and your educator nominee.
      • 2. Educator: You must identify, nominate, and partner with a trusted educator at your school. This educator will also travel to Aspen and participate in the Aspen Ideas Festival, participate fully in the year-long program as your Educator Scholar, and work closely with you during the program to help plan and execute your community change project. We advise you to communicate with your school principal for guidance on your Educator Nominee.
      • 3. Recommenders: Identify two people to submit letters of recommendation on your behalf. Consider asking a teacher, mentor, or community member. Letters of recommendation from family members cannot be considered.

Early February — Applications due

  • The following must be submitted for applications to be considered:
    • Student information and written responses: Includes basic demographic information, school information, AP/IB/College Level course work, GPA, extra-curricular activities and employment (if applicable), and three written essay responses
    • Unofficial transcripts
    • Test scores from at least one of the following: PSAT, SAT, ACT, or ACT Aspire
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • The Principal Support Form; completed by Principal
    • The Educator Scholar Nominee form; completed by Educator

    Late applications will not be accepted

March - April — Finalists Notified; Phone Interviews

  • Finalists notified by email; invited for phone interview with the Bezos Scholars Program team
  • Interviewed finalists notified if they were selected as a Bezos Scholar
  • Nominated educators of selected finalists invited for telephone interview with the Bezos Scholars Program team
  • Alternates and all other applicants notified of their status

May and June

  • New Bezos Scholars participate in welcome orientation webinars and prepare for Aspen

Late June – Aspen Ideas Festival

  • Student and Educator Scholars go on an all-expenses-paid trip to Aspen, Colorado to build connection and community, attend the Aspen Ideas Festival and receive leadership development training to prepare for developing their Local Ideas Festivals once they return home.

I am grateful for the Bezos Scholars Program because it forced me to be an active and productive participant in my personal leadership journey. – Regina O'Neal, 2017 Educator

August – May

  • Student and Educator Scholars (teams) participation in monthly webinars with inspiring presenters and leaders that cover topics related to leadership and to build skills to support the development of Local Ideas Festivals.
  • Monthly check-in calls with staff and Scholar teams to offer encouragement, support, and coaching
  • Teams submit their Local Ideas Festival proposal in late September; receive $1000 of seed funding in November or December, submit a Progress Report in late January
  • Scholar teams develop Local Ideas Festival’s for their communities


  • Teams host a Local Ideas Festival in their community.


  • Teams celebrate, submit a Final Grant Report, and receive gratitude and congratulations from the Bezos Scholars Program

Summer and Beyond

  • After the year-long program, Bezos Scholars continue to support and inspire one another—sparking positive change in their communities.
  • Alumni are offered continued support and connection through internship and leadership development opportunities, sponsored gatherings of alumni in different regions around the U.S., and more importantly, lifelong support in pursuit of passions that positively impact the greater good.

I can honestly say I am a changed person because of this experience. I feel stronger and more confident in what I want to do. – Kaetlyn Rodriguez, 2017 Bezos Scholar