Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars Named For 2024 Cohort

On January 31, 2024, The Walt Disney Company and UNCF (United Negro College Fund) announced the 2024 Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars, representing high-achieving students from four-year institutions across the country, including many historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The scholars will receive financial support, mentorship, and internship opportunities.

Since 2015, Disney has worked with UNCF to provide a voice to diverse storytellers and innovators, building a pipeline of Black talent that will shape the future of the entertainment industry. In 2021, Disney created the Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program and has since expanded it to include additional financial contributions as well as extended pathways that focus on specific fields and skills that students may be interested in.

“The Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program continues to provide talented college students an opportunity to expand their personal and professional skills,” said Tinisha Agramonte, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “We sincerely hope this experience helps every student excel, hone their craft, and go on to achieve great success in their chosen careers.”

In 2023, Disney incorporated new and existing scholarships into the Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program to provide a more tailored experience to students with specific interests within the industry, including journalism, film and television, and factual entertainment. In conjunction with Andscape, National Geographic, and FX, students will be able to follow in the legacy of renowned storytellers and start their own journey with Disney’s global platforms. The four industry-aligned pathways include:

    • Rhoden Fellowship: Founded in 2017, this one-year sports journalism internship with Andscape focuses on training aspiring African American journalists from HBCUs. The fellowship is named after award-winning sports columnist William C. Rhoden.
    • National Geographic Content Scholarship Program: Founded in 2021, this program aims to foster and support the next generation of factual storytellers attending HBCUs through access, opportunity, and exposure to the National Geographic brand and its numerous content platforms. As part of the six-month program, the scholars are each paired with a National Geographic mentor as well as participate in a one-week immersive experience at the Washington, D.C. Headquarters where they will be exposed to how content is developed, produced, published, and marketed.
    • FX Storytelling Legacy Scholarship: Honoring the legacy of the legendary director and producer John Singleton, these scholarships are to encourage and empower the next generation of fearless storytellers following John’s footsteps by pursuing a career in film or television production, directing, or screenwriting.
    • The Walt Disney Company / UNCF Enhanced Corporate Scholars Program: Along with the opportunity to apply for internships, the program also provides professional development and mentorship during students’ academic journeys.

Scholars will be awarded a renewable annual scholarship and an opportunity to apply for paid internships at The Walt Disney Company. The scholars are rising juniors and seniors pursuing a degree related to the field of entertainment including business, communications, creative writing, journalism, film/media, and science. Additional opportunities for the UNCF scholars include mentorship, professional development, career exploration workshops, and consideration for a possible full-time role with Disney upon graduation. To inspire the students and ignite their passion for storytelling, Disney also frequently provides guest speakers for UNCF events and invites UNCF scholars and staff to advanced screenings of Disney films. Several past scholars have also successfully transitioned into full-time roles within the company, starting on their own journey and building on the skills they learned during their time in the program.

Ashley Meeks from the 2021 Disney UNCF Enhanced Corporate Scholars cohort details how the program has led her to her current job as a Talent Relations Coordinator for Disney Entertainment Television. “The Walt Disney Company/UNCF Corporate Scholars program has been a transformative force in my life, infusing my professional path with a profound sense of purpose and community. Through unwavering support, mentorship, and a network that has always felt like family, the program has not only propelled my professional dreams but has left an impact that will resonate throughout my career,” said Meeks.

The Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program is part of the Disney Future Storytellers initiative, the company’s commitment to empower the next generation of storytellers and innovators from underrepresented communities.

The 2024 Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars are:

Scholar School Major Program
Aniyah Robinson Langston University Broadcast Journalism Andscape – Rhoden Fellows
Assata Allah-Shabazz Morgan State University Strategic Communications Andscape – Rhoden Fellows
Breahna Hardwick Spelman College Political Science Disney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Danaria Gorham Johnson C. Smith University Mass Communication Arts National Geographic Content Scholarship
Devon Mooring Howard University Biology National Geographic Content Scholarship
Gabrielle Heyward North Carolina A&T State University Journalism and Mass Communication Andscape – Rhoden Fellows
Jaeda Garner Grambling State University Broadcast Journalism FX Storytelling Legacy Scholarship
Janaidy Ruiz Peri Clark Atlanta University Mass Media Arts Conc. – Radio/Television/Film FX Storytelling Legacy Scholarship
Jaylen Holmes Miles College Communications Disney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Juwan Hampton DePaul University Computer Science – Software Engineering Disney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Kaily Kuykendall Howard University Political Science Disney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Kalani Washington Savannah College of Art and Design Dramatic Writing FX Storytelling Legacy Scholarship
Kynnedi Hines Louisiana State University Mass Communication/Public Relations Disney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Lamaria Washington Howard University Journalism National Geographic Content Scholarship
Lauren Nutall Howard University Journalism National Geographic Content Scholarship
Lauryn Johnson Howard University Media Management Disney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Lillian Stephens Morgan State University Strategic Communication National Geographic Content Scholarship
Madison N. Firle Howard University Broadcast Journalism Andscape – Rhoden Fellows
Maya A. McCord Alabama State University Communications with a concentration in Radio & Television Disney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Myron Boyd Jr. Florida A&M University Business Administration Disney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Nilea Cosley Clark Atlanta University Mass Media Arts with a concentration in Journalism Andscape – Rhoden Fellows
Perry O’Hannon Cheyney University of Pennsylvania Biology/Criminal Justice Disney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Spencer Wingate Fort Valley State Veterinary Technology Disney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Sydney Cuillier Southern University A&M College Mass Communications Andscape – Rhoden Fellows
Tori Blake Paul Quinn College Psychology Disney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Xamara Coleman Delaware State University Mass Communications National Geographic Content Scholarship
Zhen Smalls California State Long Beach Film FX Storytelling Legacy Scholarship

About The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise that includes three business segments: Entertainment, Sports, and Experiences. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenue of $88.9 billion in its Fiscal Year 2023.

About UNCF

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community, and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. While totaling only 3% of all colleges and universities, UNCF institutions and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities are highly effective, awarding 15% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 19% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students in higher education. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 50,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @UNCF.