Call for Entries: 2009 Bezos Scholars Program @ the Aspen Institute

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Hot Scholars Program @ High Altitude: Call for Entries: Bezos Scholars Program @ the Aspen Institute. Come summer, 12 public high school juniors with top grades and engaged community ties will travel to Aspen to attend the acclaimed Aspen Ideas Festival (7 days: June 30-July 6; all-expenses-paid). In Aspen, they'll have opportunities to speak one-on-one with world leaders, visionaries and creative artists. Past scholars met with inventor Dean Kamen, Sandra Day O'Connor, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Colin Powell and President Bill Clinton, among others. Upon selection of the 12 student scholars, 12 educator scholars will be invited from the respective schools. APPLICATION DEADLINE: February 15, 2009.

2008 Bezos Student Scholars at Maroon Bells, a glacial lake valley surrounded by 14,000-ft. peaks.

When these scholars--both students and educators--return home inspired to create local Ideas Festivals, it may be life changing for schools and communities across the U.S.

All-expense-paid scholarship @ High Altitude.

The Bezos Scholars Program @ the Aspen Institute seeks 12 top public high school juniors to receive seven-day, all-expense-paid scholarships to attend the acclaimed Aspen Ideas Festival: June 30 - July 6, 2009. The program is searching for independent thinkers, demonstrated leaders and engaged community members. Deadline for applications is February 15, 2009.

Upon selection of student scholars, chosen through a competitive application process, an educator from each school also will be awarded a full scholarship, thereby offering a unique leadership development opportunity for students and educators.

Think Tank for Teens: The 2008 Bezos Scholars were given a private breakfast with former Associate Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and met with inventor Dean Kamen, physicist Brian Greene, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Teach for American founder Wendy Kopp and President/CEO of the Aspen Institute Walter Isaacson. They attended plenary sessions, talks and special events offered throughout the Aspen Institute campus. And they spent a morning hiking at Maroon Bells, a glacial valley surrounded by 14,000-ft. peaks.

Following the Aspen Ideas Festival, the 2009 Student Scholar/ Educator Scholar teams will apply for $1,000 School Award grants to use as seed money in creating sustainable, local Ideas Festivals in their schools. Past Bezos Scholars' local Ideas Festivals have focused on conservation, discrimination, genocide, self-esteem, the psychology of war, health care in Africa and Haiti, the importance of the arts, and the role of religion in politics and science. The local festivals offered documentary films and introduced featured guests, including an MTV celebrity, filmmakers, war veterans, newspaper editors, college professors, performing and visual artists, and local religious leaders.

"We know that attendance at the Aspen Ideas Festival can be life changing for the individual," explains Jackie Bezos, co-founder with husband Mike of the Bezos Family Foundation. "When these scholars--both students and educators--return home inspired to create local Ideas Festivals, it may be life changing for schools and communities across the U.S."

These local Ideas Festivals, direct outgrowths of the Aspen Ideas Festival, have been featured all across the country. The results, say students and educators, include an expansion of global awareness and community involvement. There's a little more knowledge, compassion and interest, and in some cases, direct action.

Eligibility Requirements

Bezos Scholars Program School Criteria

  •     Public High School (including charter and magnet schools)
  •     At least 25% of students are eligible for free/reduced lunch program
  •     Offers Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes

Bezos Scholars Program Scholar Criteria

  •     Legal U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  •     Public High School Junior
  •     GPA of 3.5, or higher
  •     Taking Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes
  •     Demonstrates leadership in school and community
  •     Scored exceptionally well on PSAT/SAT/or ACT

Visit the site to download the Educator's Guide, poster, postcard, FAQs, and more.

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