Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars Named for 2023 Cohort
Diversity & Inclusion
August 10, 2023
On August 10, 2023, The Walt Disney Company and UNCF (the United Negro College Fund) announced the 2023 Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars, representing students from four-year institutions across the country, including many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
The 2023 scholars will be awarded annual scholarships, with several having applied and been placed in paid internships for the summer at Disney. The scholarship recipients are juniors and seniors pursuing degrees in business, communications, creative writing, journalism, film/media, and science who will also receive mentorship opportunities and consideration for possible full-time roles with Disney upon graduation.
The Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program builds on Disney’s longstanding history of supporting aspiring storytellers and innovators in collaboration with UNCF and is part of the Disney Future Storytellers initiative. Disney’s support of UNCF scholars includes scholarships, mentorship, internship opportunities, professional development, and career exploration workshops. In an effort to inspire future storytellers, Disney frequently provides guest speakers for UNCF events and invites UNCF scholars and staff to advanced screenings of Disney films.
FX Storytelling Legacy Scholarship
Just announced with this year’s cohort is a series of FX-supported college scholarships within the Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program. These new scholarships will honor the legacy of acclaimed director and producer John Singleton. John’s relationship with FX began in 2016 when he scored an Emmy® Award nomination for the award-winning and acclaimed hit limited series, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. He then co-created and was Executive Producer on FX’s acclaimed hit drama series Snowfall. Singleton is the youngest and first Black person to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. The intention is for these scholarships to encourage and empower the next generation of Black artists following in John’s footsteps as part of the Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program.
“Every artist has that person, the one that makes it over the hill so they could tell you everything is ok. Mine was John Singleton,” said Damson Idris, actor, Snowfall.
“It was a rare honor to work with the legendary John Singleton on several iconic FX series and to see him in action as a leader, mentor, and friend to so many,” said John Landgraf, Chairman, FX Content & FX Productions. “John was generous to a fault with his time and wisdom, having never forgotten where he came from and the hard work it took to break barriers. FX is proud to endow these scholarships in John’s name so that his legacy will inspire the next generation and offer meaningful assistance as they follow the trail he blazed.”
Andscape’s Rhoden Fellows
For the first time, Andscape’s Rhoden Fellows will also be part of the Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program. Rhoden Fellows is a training program for the next generation of sports journalists from HBCUs, founded and headed by Andscape editor-at-large and former New York Times award-winning columnist William C. Rhoden. The year-long fellowship aims to develop new voices and serve as an incubator for future multicultural journalists. Scholars will receive scholarships and are currently summer interns at Andscape.
The fellowship’s learning curriculum includes writing from various onsite events, producing weekly podcasts, pitching creative storytelling ideas, and contributing content published on the Andscape digital hub, plus continued learning, professional development, and journalism projects throughout the upcoming school year. Following a 10-week, intensive summer immersion program with Andscape and ESPN, the fellows return to serve on-campus as local correspondents for Andscape throughout the academic year.
“We are thrilled to welcome the seventh class of Rhoden Fellows! They reflect the future of journalism and the vision of Andscape,” said Raina Kelley, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, Andscape. “We embrace their diverse experiences and boundless curiosity. We look forward to nurturing them and providing the platform for them to shine brighter.”
National Geographic Content HBCU Scholarship
Additionally, the National Geographic Content HBCU Scholarship program will become part of the Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars program going forward. Since 2021, National Geographic’s program has offered scholars real-world experience to help gain access and exposure to the factual entertainment industry. Scholars receive scholarship funding, participate in a multi-day immersive experience on the National Geographic campus in Washington, D.C., and are part of a six-month mentorship program with a National Geographic executive.
“At National Geographic, the power, influence, and reach that our stories have around the world is unparalleled,” said Karen Greenfield, Senior Vice President, Content, Diversity & Inclusion, National Geographic. “We want to ensure that the stories we tell are not only impactful and relevant, but are also authentic, diverse, and reflective of our global audience and experiences. Through the Nat Geo Content HBCU Scholarship program, we hope to inspire and cultivate the next generation of factual storytellers.”
The 2023 Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars are:
|Jordan Caldwell||Clark Atlanta University||Art|
|Zacharias Tapp||Pepperdine University||Business|
|Brynn Warren||Dillard University||Film|
|Samantha Whitley||New York University||Creative Writing|
|Tiyena Bienaime||Florida International University||Public Relations, Advertising & Applied Comms|
|Adrianna Boyd||University of Florida||Business Administration|
|Alexandria Greenlee||Spelman College||Science|
|Antoinette (Toni) Lorfils||North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University||Laboratory Animal Science|
|Kameron Napoli||Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University||Business Administration|
|Lauren Randle||California State University-Bakersfield||Business Administration|
|Erin Foster||Spelman College||Media Communications|
|Takier George||Howard University||Creative Writing|
|Lawrence Goss IV||Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University||Broadcast Journalism|
|Kamryn Jackson||North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University||Mass Communication & Journalism|
|Chanel Fraction||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||Communications|
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 60,000 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 Twitter at @UNCF.