Writing the Scholarship Essay: by Kay Peterson, Ph.D.
The personal essay.
It’s the hardest part of your scholarship application. But it’s also the part of the application where the ‘real you’ can shine through. Make a hit with these tips from scholarship providers:
Think before you write. Brainstorm to generate some good ideas and then create an outline to help you get going. Be original. The judges may be asked to review hundreds of essays. It’s your job to make your essay stand out from the rest. So be creative in your answers. Show, don’t tell. Use stories, examples and anecdotes to individualize your essay and demonstrate the point you want to make. By using specifics, you’ll avoid vagueness and generalities and make a stronger impression. Develop a theme. Don’t simply list all your achievements. Decide on a theme you want to convey that sums up the impression you want to make. Write about experiences that develop that theme. Know your audience. Personal essays are not ‘one size fits all.’ Write a new essay for each application-one that fits the interests and requirements of that scholarship organization. You’re asking to be selected as the representative for that group. The essay is your chance to show how you are the ideal representative. Submit an essay that is neat and readable. Make sure your essay is neatly typed, and that there is a lot of ‘white space’ on the page. Double-space the essay, and provide adequate margins (1″-1 1/2″) on all sides. Make sure your essay is well written. Proofread carefully, check spelling and grammar and share your essay with friends or teachers. Another pair of eyes can catch errors you might miss.
Special thanks to the scholarship specialists who contributed these tips:
TROA Scholarship Fund
Kathy Borunda, Corporate Development
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Foundation
The American Legion
Patti Cohen, Program Manager
Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation
AFSA Scholarship Programs
Thomas Murphy, Executive Director
Konieg Education Foundation
Lisa Portenga, Scholarship Coordinator
The Fremont Area Foundation
Practice Session: Common Essay Questions — by Roxana Hadad
The essay — It’s the most important part of your scholarship application, and it can be the hardest. But the essay shouldn’t keep you from applying. Take a look at some of the most commonly asked essay questions and use them to prepare for your scholarship applications. Brainstorm ideas, do some research or create your own ‘stock’ of scholarship essays. When the time comes, you’ll be ready to write your way to scholarship success!
Your Field of Specialization and Academic Plans
Some scholarship applications will ask you to write about your major or field of study. These questions are used to determine how well you know your area of specialization and why you’re interested in it.
- How will your study of _______ contribute to your immediate or long range career plans?
- Why do you want to be a _______?
- Explain the importance of (your major) in today’s society.
- What do you think the industry of _______ will be like in the next 10 years?
- What are the most important issues your field is facing today?
Current Events and Social Issues
To test your skills at problem-solving and check how up-to-date you are on current issues, many scholarship applications include questions about problems and issues facing society.
- What do you consider to be the single most important societal problem? Why?
- If you had the authority to change your school in a positive way, what specific changes would you make?
- Pick a controversial problem on college campuses and suggest a solution.
- What do you see as the greatest threat to the environment today?
Scholarships exist to reward and encourage achievement. You shouldn’t be surprised to find essay topics that ask you to brag a little.
- Describe how you have demonstrated leadership ability both in and out of school.
- Discuss a special attribute or accomplishment that sets you apart.
- Describe your most meaningful achievements and how they relate to your field of study and your future goals.
- Why are you a good candidate to receive this award
Background and Influences
Who you are is closely tied to where you’ve been and who you’ve known. To learn more about you, some scholarship committees will ask you to write about your background and major influences.
- Pick an experience from your own life and explain how it has influenced your development.
- Who in your life has been your biggest influence and why?
- How has your family background affected the way you see the world?
- How has your education contributed to who you are today?
Future Plans and Goals
Scholarship sponsors look for applicants with vision and motivation, so they might ask about your goals and aspirations.
- Briefly describe your long- and short-term goals.
- Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
- Why do you want to get a college education?
Many scholarship providers have a charitable goal: They want to provide money for students who are going to have trouble paying for college. In addition to asking for information about your financial situation, these committees may want a more detailed and personal account of your financial need.
- From a financial standpoint, what impact would this scholarship have on your education?
- State any special personal or family circumstances affecting your need for financial assistance.
- How have you been financing your college education?
Some essay questions don’t seem directly related to your education, but committees use them to test your creativity and get a more well-rounded sense of your personality.
- Choose a person or persons you admire and explain why.
- Choose a book or books and that have affected you deeply and explain why.
While you can’t predict every essay question, knowing some of the most common ones can give you a leg up on applications. Start brainstorming now, and you may find yourself a winner!
Essay Feedback: Creating Your Structure — by Kay Peterson, Ph.D.
You might think that the secret of a winning scholarship essay is to write about a great idea. But that’s only half the job. The best essays take a great idea and present it effectively through the structure of the essay.
To see how important structure is, let’s look at an essay by Emily H. In her application for the UCLA Alumni Scholarship, Emily responds to the following essay topic: “Please provide a summary of your personal and family background, including information about your family, where you grew up, and perhaps a highlight or special memory of your youth.”
Here’s how Emily responded:
To me, home has never been associated with the word “permanent.” I seem to use it more often with the word “different” because I’ve lived in a variety of places ranging from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Los Angeles, California. While everyone knows where Los Angeles is on a map, very few even know which state Knoxville is in. Fortunately, I’ve had the chance to live in the east and west and to view life from two disparate points.
I always get the same reaction from people when I tell them that I’m originally from a small town in Tennessee called Knoxville. Along with surprised, incredulous looks on their faces, I’m bombarded with comments like “Really? You don’t sound or look as if you’re from Tennessee.” These reactions are nearly all the same because everyone sees me as a typical Californian who loves the sunny weather, the beach and the city. They don’t know that I lived in Reading, Pennsylvania, before I moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and then moved again to Knoxville, Tennessee. The idea of my living anywhere in the vicinity of the South or any place besides California is inconceivable to many because I’ve adapted so well to the surroundings in which I currently find myself. This particular quality, in a sense, also makes me a more cosmopolitan and open-minded person. Having already seen this much of the world has encouraged me to visit other places like Paris or London and the rest of the world. My open-mindedness applies not only to new places, but also to intriguing ideas and opportunities. This attitude towards life prepares me for the vast array of opportunities that still lie ahead in the future. From my experiences of moving place to place, I have also come to acknowledge the deep bond I share with my family. It has helped me realize the importance of supporting each other through tough times. Moving from Tennessee to California meant saying good-bye to the house we had lived in for six years, longtime friends and the calm, idyllic lifestyle of the country that we had grown to love and savor. But knowing that we had each other to depend on made the transition easier. It also strengthened the bond we all shared and placed more value on the time we spent with each other, whether it was at home eating dinner or going on a family trip. Now when I think of the word “home,” I see the bluish-gray house I live in now. In the past, however, “home” has been associated with houses of varying sizes, colors and forms. The only thing that has remained unchanging and permanent is my family. I have acknowledged this constancy, knowing well enough that it is, and always will be, a part of me and a unique part of my life.
Los Angeles is one of many places in which I’ve lived. This fact by itself has had a tremendous impact on me.
This kind of essay topic can be difficult because it is very general. Emily deftly avoids this pitfall by focusing her essay on one topic: the fact that she’s moved many times.
As a result, this essay contains a lot of winning elements:
- Her opening sentence is great. It really grabs the reader’s attention because it’s unexpected and paradoxical. We want to learn more about her.
- Her story is unique; she doesn’t rely on clichés.
- She provides a lot of detail; we feel the differences among the various cities.
- She’s focused the account so we learn just enough, not too much.
- She tells us why these events are important. Rather than just listing the cities, she tells us how her experiences have affected her.
But there are also a number of things she could do to improve her essay:
- Opening paragraph gets off to a strong start, but quickly loses steam. The last sentence is too vague.
- The second paragraph is far too long, and covers too many ideas.
- The transitions among the various ideas are underdeveloped. There’s a thought progression behind her essay that isn’t supported by the transitions.
- Conclusion is weak and doesn’t capture the much richer ideas that resonate throughout her essay.
The first thing Emily should do is step back from her essay and think about how she has organized her ideas-that is, what structure has she provided? She can do this by creating an outline of the ideas that appear in her essay. It should look something like this:
a. Emily has lived in a lot of places
b. Emily has viewed life from two disparate points.
2. Body (one paragraph)
a. People don’t guess that Emily is not originally from California.
b. That’s because she has adapted so well to her current environment.
c. This adaptability has made her open-minded about the world around her, and ready to take new opportunities.
d. She’s also learned to recognize and value the bond with her family, which gives her a sense of permanence throughout all the changes.
3. Conclusion: Los Angeles is one of the places she has lived.
As we can see, Emily’s essay is jam-packed with good ideas. With the exception of the conclusion (which she should cut), everything in here is meaningful and necessary. What she needs to do now is identify the most important idea for the whole essay and then rearrange the points so that they support that idea.
What is the overriding idea? I identified a number of fruitful ideas that involve these various points:
- Constant change has been challenging, but learning how to deal with change has made Emily ready for more challenges in the future.
- Constant change has had a paradoxical effect on Emily: It’s taught her both how to be adaptable and how determine what is truly permanent (i.e. her family).
- Constant change has taught her all about different parts of the country, but has also taught her that while she grows and changes, she’ll still remain the same person she always was.
Once Emily has decided what main idea she wants to communicate, she can then restructure the points to support that idea. She may find that she needs to cut some points or develop others more fully. The key is to make it clear how those points relate to the central idea and to use meaningful transitions that point the way to the next idea.
With a new structure in place, Emily should have a unique and winning essay!
**OTHER WINNING TIPS**
Once you have determined which scholarships you will apply for, write to them and ask for their scholarship application and requirements. The letter can be a general request for information “form” letter that can be photocopied, but you should be specific about the name of the scholarship you are inquiring about on the envelope.
Write to each source as far in advance of their scholarship deadline as possible and don’t forget to send a self-addressed, stamped envelope(SASE) — it not only expedites their reply, but some organizations won’t respond without one.
Remember, on the outside of the envelope, list the name of the specific scholarship you are inquiring about. That way, the person opening the mail will know where to direct your inquiry.
Here is an example of what your letter might look like:
XYZ Corporation (Ian Scott Smith Scholarship)
1234 56th Street, Suite 890
Metropolis, FL 00000-0000
Dear Scholarship Coordinator:
I am a (college) student (give academic year) and will be applying for admission to (a graduate) program for academic year 20__ – __.
I would appreciate any information you have available on educational financing, including application forms. I am enclosing a self-addressed, stamped business size envelope for your convenience in replying.
Daniel J. Cassidy
2280 Airport Boulevard
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Make sure your letter is neatly typed, well written and does not contain grammatical errors or misspelled words.
When filling out scholarship application forms, be complete, concise and creative. People who read these applications want to know the real you, not just your name. The application should clearly emphasize your ambitions, motivations and what makes you different. Be original!
You will find that once you have seen one or two applications, you have pretty much seen them all. Usually they are one or two pages asking where you are going to school, what you are going to major in and why you think you deserve the scholarship. Some scholarship sources require that you join their organization. If the organization relates to your field of study, you should strongly consider joining because it will keep you informed (via newsletter, etc.) about developments in that field.
Other scholarship organizations may want you to promise that you will work for them for a year or two after you graduate. The Dow Jones Newspaper Fund offers a scholarship for up to $20,000 for journalism, broadcasting, and communications students with the understanding that the student will intern for them for two years. This could even yield a permanent job for the student.
Your application should be typewritten and neat. I had a complaint from one foundation about a student who had an excellent background and qualifications but used a crayon to fill out the application.
Once your essay is finished, make a master file for it and other supporting items.
Photocopy your essay and attach it to the application.
If requested include: a resume or curriculum vitae (CV), extracurricular activities sheet (usually one page), transcripts, SAT, GRE, or MCAT scores, letters of recommendation (usually one from a professor, employer and friend) outlining your moral character and, if there are any newspaper articles, etc. about you, it is a good idea to include them as well.
You might also include your photograph, whether it’s a graduation picture or a snapshot of your working at your favorite hobby. This helps the selection committee feel a little closer to you. Instead of just seeing a name, they will have a face to match it.
Mail your applications in early, at least a month before the deadline.
**Dr. Peterson has won numerous college and graduate scholarships, including the Jacob Javits Fellowship, the University of California Regents Scholarship and the National Merit Scholarship.
In the 21st century, as the healthcare system has become more and more complex, public health has emerged as one of the biggest concerns worldwide. For working professionals in the healthcare system, or young people choosing a career direction, a degree in public health can open all kinds of doors.
The worldwide need for people to organize and implement major public health plans has never been higher.
Public health takes an interdisciplinary approach to assess and meet the healthcare needs of entire populations, including education, advocacy, policy, and treatment. Public health experts may specialize in epidemiology, environmental health, consumer health, nutrition or other areas that relate to large populations, and public health experts are in high demand. Earning a bachelor’s degree in public health is an excellent start, but many people move on to earn their master’s degrees online as well.
Go FAR! – Find, Apply and then Repeat!
However, earning a public health degree can be expensive. A great way to reduce the cost of higher education is applying for as many public health scholarships as possible. There are many opportunities out there for these types of scholarships, but you have to know where to find them. Some are little-known; some are for very specific applicants. MPHOnline’s 25 Public Health Scholarships guide is a good start to finding a public health scholarship that is waiting for you.
Note: The 25 Public Health Scholarships guide includes the most recent deadlines for all scholarships. Some of these may have passed; check the sponsoring organization’s website for updates.
1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation Scholarships
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation is the only national charity dedicated to nutrition health. Founded in 1966 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the ANDF is the largest provider of scholarship funding for students in nutrition-related programs, including public health nutrition. The ANDF is dedicated to transforming world health through food, from fighting malnutrition to spurring on innovation and development. Providing funding to educate the next generation of public health experts is a big part of that process.
As the need for educated, professionalized health and nutrition experts becomes more dire, and the pool of potential students grows, the ANDF continually expands its offerings. More than 100 specialized scholarships, and 75 general scholarships, are available for Academy members, ranging from $500 to as much as $10,000. Students must be members to apply, and specialized scholarships may have additional requirements. The ANDF is committed to providing access and opportunity at all levels of education and service through its scholarship program, building a diverse leadership and workforce to take on unprecedented challenges. Their many scholarship programs are an essential part of that mission, providing educational opportunity for students who would otherwise not be able to afford it.
Award Amount: varies
Deadline: April 17
2. Advancing Public Health Excellence (APEX) Scholarships
Walden University has made its reputation as one of the most recognizable online educators in the US. Since its founding in 1970 as a specialized program delivering doctorate degrees to adult workers and professionals, Walden has grown a reputation for accessibility and innovation. Walden’s programs primarily focus on the most practical education for necessary occupations, areas like criminal justice, human services, social work, and public health. Online students across America and the world have found Walden’s courses a career-starter.
Students enrolled in Walden’s MPH degree program qualify for the Advancing Public Health Excellence (APEX) Scholarship, designed for dedicated public health professionals who are pursuing higher credentials. Applicants must provide letters of recommendation and a short essay addressing how they have made a positive impact in the lives of others, whether mentoring, community action, or some other activity. The APEX award is generous – $10,000 for two winners, and full tuition for one winner. Programs like the APEX Scholarship demonstrate why Walden has emerged in the 21st century as an online force.
Award Amount: $10,000 to Full Tuition
Deadline: May 31
3. AFDO Scholarships
The Association of Food and Drug Officials is a nonprofit advocacy and lobbying group that works with regulatory officials, consumer groups, and industry representatives on drug and food policy. Since 1896, when the Food and Dairy Commissioners of Ohio and MIchigan met to discuss the need for uniform food safety regulation, the AFDO has worked to streamline guidelines, clarify confusion, and put forward fair, responsible responses to federal and local regulation. They have also worked to encourage the next generation of experts and executives with their educational support.
The AFDO offers three endowed scholarships to students who have an interest in consumer safety or food and drug policy: the George M. Burditt Scholarship, the Betsy B. Woodward Scholarship, and the Denise C. Rooney Scholarship. All three are worth $1500, and applicants must be in their third year of college in a field related to food and drug policy, such as public health. To qualify, applicants must have earned no less than a 3.0 GPA in the freshman and sophomore years, and must demonstrate their interest in research, regulation, or education. Future leaders in the food and drug industries will get to know the AFDO, and these scholarship opportunities help keep the association current and relevant in its third century.
Award Amount: $1500
Deadline: February 1
4. Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship (ACHE)
The American College of Healthcare Executives is a professional organizations for administrators in the healthcare industry, with 76 chapters and more than 40,000 members. In addition to keeping healthcare executives informed about the field with their publication, Healthcare Executive, the ACHE certified healthcare professionals with the FACHE certification, and supports career development, education, and research efforts. The ACHE awards scholarships through the Foundation of the ACHE (FACHE), their nonprofit philanthropic division.
Named in honor of Albert W. Dent, the first African-American member of the ACHE, the Graduate Student Scholarship is awarded to minority students working in a health management-related graduate program, including the MPH. Minorities, especially African-American and Latinos, are significantly underrepresented in healthcare leadership, meaning minority patients often go without proper visibility. The Dent Scholarship is one step toward helping close that gap. Students must be in their final year of schooling, and while ACHE membership is not necessary, members do get preference. In the spirit of Albert Dent, who broke down barriers in the healthcare industry, the ACHE Graduate Student Scholarship helps future leaders go places.
Award Amount: $500
Deadline: March 31
5. Alice J. Gifford Fund
Johns Hopkins University is the first name in medicine in the US, and the Bloomberg School of Public Health is the first name in public health education – literally, as it was founded in 1916 as the first academic, degree-granting public health program. As the Bloomberg motto says, public health means “Protecting Health, Saving Lives – Millions at the Time,” and though Johns Hopkins researchers have fought tobacco, AIDS, and smallpox, there is no end to public health dangers. The Bloomberg School is preparing new experts and leaders all the time, and supporting them every step of the way.
Students who are enrolled in the Bloomberg School are invited to apply for the Alice J. Gifford Scholarship, named for the professor who started the Occupational Health Nursing Program. Just as Gifford spent her career mentoring and building up her program and her nurses, the Gifford Fund keeps that spirit alive. It is reserved for nurses who are enrolled in the OEHN program and pursuing their master’s or doctoral nursing degrees in occupational health or environmental health. Further details will be available during the application period. Coming from what may be the world’s most prestigious public health school, the Gifford Scholarship helps nurses do what nurses do best – care for people, whether it’s one person or one million.
Award Amount: varies
Deadline: February 16
6. Amber Star Krenz Memorial Scholarship
Amber Star Krenz was a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student who tragically passed away from a meningitis infection just months before her graduation, which would have been in 2002. At that graduation, her classmates wore stars to remember her, and a picture of Amber still hangs in the Humanities and Social Services building. In her honor, the Krenz family instituted a scholarship for UWEC students studying environmental public health.
The Amber Krenz Memorial Scholarship is an award of $800 for students planning to spend a semester studying abroad; the scholarship is intended to help cover costs, and seniors are given priority. Applicants will be expected to show the kind of commitment and enthusiasm that made Amber a favorite among her classmates. Winners should send a letter of appreciation to the Krenz family as well, discussing their personal goals and plans for improving the health and lives of others. This scholarship promises that Amber Krenz’s memory and impact on others will continue long after her passing.
Award Amount: $800
7. Bill and Mary Russell Health Care Scholarship
The Heartland Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in communities throughout the Midwest, and Bill and Mary Russell were dedicated members of the foundation. Beginning in 1983, the Heartland Foundation was first a typical hospital foundation, established to administrate and organize charitable contributions, but today the foundation works throughout the Midwest leading the Healthy Communities movement. The Heartland Foundation is concerned not just with healthcare, but with education, access to jobs, and empowerment – all of which makes for healthy communities.
Their commitment to healthcare is remembered in the Bill and Mary Russell Health Care Scholarship, which the Heartland Foundation awards annually to students who plan to pursue careers in nursing or other healthcare fields, including students in public health. Applicants must come from Missouri, or parts of Iowa, Kansas, or Nebraska that are served by the Heartland Foundation. Financial need is taken into consideration when determining eligibility for this scholarship, and applicants must be enrolled full-time. For the future of healthcare in the Midwest, the Heartland Foundation’s scholarships provide a way to make sure the best and brightest young minds will go into the field where they can do the most good.
Award Amount: varies
Deadline: April 15
8. Christie Foundation Health Education Scholarships
Named for Champaign, IL, doctor Charles W. Christie, founder of the Christie Clinic, the Christie Foundation works to increase health education, awareness, and services throughout central Illinois through grants, education, and scholarships. The Christie Foundation’s localized attention focuses on providing the best healthcare education and practice for East Central Illinois, from leaders and residents to facilities and institutions. The foundation’s scholarship program began with a gift from Celia W. Rapp, mother of a Christie Foundation doctor, which included a farm.
The Christie Foundation provides more than $125,000 in scholarships for 20 college students in the health professions, including areas like public health. There are a number of requirements to apply, including transcripts, references, test scores, and proof of acceptance into a program, but writing-phobic applicants will be relieved to learn there is no essay or personal statement. Only students from East Central Illinois are eligible. Winners receive their award at a special Christie Foundation event every May. The Christie Foundation’s work in East Central Illinois makes them one of the keys to healthcare in the region, and while their boundaries are clear, their scope and reach are deep.
Award Amount: varies
Deadline: March 31
9. Cory L. Richards Memorial Scholarship
The Guttmacher Institute is a center for research and policy in sexual and reproductive health and rights, providing education, advocacy, and support for researchers and students. Founded on the three-part commitment to high-quality research, evidence-based advocacy, and strategic communications, the Guttmacher Institute works to make sure all human beings can live and express their sexual rights freely and with all the dignity they deserve, particularly those in suppressed and marginalized groups.
The Guttmacher Institute offers the Cory L. Richards Memorial Scholarship for graduate students who intend to take on leadership positions in the field of sexual and reproductive health. Richards served the Guttmacher Institute for almost 40 years, and his work was particularly dedicated to encouraging and mentoring new leaders. The Richards Scholarship is for future innovators, including students pursuing master’s degrees in public policy and public health. A one-time award of $15,000 will be given to the applicant showing the most potential for leadership and transformation. This generous scholarship helps ensure that in the most difficult of political environments, there will still be voices speaking for the needs of the disadvantaged and threatened.
Award Amount: $15,000
10. Florence Young Memorial Scholarship
The name Florence Young may not be famous, but this California native made an impact on the lives of young Native Americans in life and beyond her passing. As a civic-minded woman, Young was deeply engaged with planning and development in the community, but she also felt an affinity with Native American peoples. She was a collector of American Indian art and craft, and upon her death in 2000 she left the Association of American Indian Affairs funding to found a scholarship especially for young Native Americans.
The Florence Young Memorial Scholarship is reserved for students who are of American Indian descent, and it is awarded by the Association of American Indian Affairs, or AAIA. Eligible students will be enrolled in master’s degree programs in one of the three areas: public health, law or art. These areas are of critical importance for Native culture and development, and young leaders are sorely needed. The total amount of this scholarship is $1,500, and it is dispersed in $750 increments. Financial need and academic merit are taken into consideration, and students must demonstrate their career goals and tribal affiliation. It’s what Florence Young would have wanted – to help preserve the culture she loved and admired for future generations by protecting the rights, health, and art of the Native Americans.
Award Amount: $1500
11. Florida Environmental Health Association Scholarship
The Florida Environmental Health Association is a professional organization made up of around 500 environmental health experts who have dedicated their lives and careers to the health and safety of the Sunshine (and Alligator) State. Since 1948 the FEHA has provided training, credentialing, leadership, and a professional journal, along with educational support in the form of scholarships and grant. The FEHA funds scholarships through the donations of members, and fundraising activities such as silent auctions and raffles.
The Florida Environmental Health Association offers a scholarship fund intended to promote environmental health education and professionalization. Eligible applicants must be juniors, seniors, or graduate students either pursuing a career in environmental health, or improving their credentials in a current environmental health career. The minimum value of this scholarship is $500. Applicants must be current members of FEHA with a GPA of at least 2.5. Two letters of recommendation are also required. Florida is one of the most important states for public health, with its retirees and booming minority populations, and the FEHA will continue to be a critical piece of the healthcare puzzle.
Award Amount: $500
Deadline: June 13
12. Florida Public Health Association Scholarships
The Florida Public Health Association is a professional organization for Florida’s public health experts, educators, and administrators. This diverse and dedicated group includes more than 1200 members, including nurses, researchers, teachers, public servants, and concerned citizens, all united by a commitment to Florida’s health and safety. Together, the FPHA provides education, advocacy, public policy, and networking opportunities for professionals and the community.
The FPHA offers annual scholarships for Florida students studying public health who plan to stay in Florida and work to improve health in the state. Graduate students earning an MPH can win $350, while undergraduates are awarded $150. Winners also win a free one-year membership to the FPHA, and an invitation to the FPHA Annual Conference, where they will receive their awards as honored guests. Graduate students must already be members of the FPHA to apply, while undergraduate winners must commit to serve on the Student Interest Group. With its scholarships, the FPHA is able to make an impact directly on the lives of students, and indirectly on the lives of every person and community those students serve.
Award Amount: $150-$350
Deadline: June 23
13. Floyd Forsberg Environmental Quality Scholarship
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Minnesota Land of Lake Chapter, is a professional organization representing the whole process of solid waste management and disposal. That includes government, engineers, managers, and workers, all of whom are a critical part of keeping Minnesota clean. SWANA is the oldest institution in the field, representing more than 8000 national solid waste experts and professionals, and its advocacy and education is crucial to public health.
The SWANA awards the Floyd Forsberg Environmental Quality Scholarship in honor of Floyd Forsberg, the first Minnesota Solid Waste program director who modernized Minnesota’s waste system. Two runners-up will be awarded $1,000 each, and $3,000 will go to the winner. Applicants must be majoring in public environmental health, solid waste management, environmental engineering, or a related field. Letters of recommendation are required, and priority goes to students planning a career in waste management. Solid waste management isn’t the prettiest occupation, but the SWANA, and their scholarship program, is here to remind us all that it’s one of the most important.
Award Amount: $1000-$2000
Deadline: April 16
14. HOSA Scholarships
The Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) was founded in 1976 with an initial membership of health occupations students in six states. Today the HOSA is a worldwide student organization that provides leadership development, scholarships, and other support for students in the health sciences. The HOSA’s vision is wide and great – to make an impact on the global health community through support of education and research.
The HOSA partners with STEM Premier to offer a number of scholarship opportunities to its members. Public health is included, along with audiology, nursing, therapy, and other health services occupations. Applicants have to join STEM Premier for full details by setting up a free account, and the STEM Premier system manages all of the HOSA’s many scholarship opportunities. Funding comes from HOSA’s many partners, which include private industry, government agencies, and pharmaceutical companies, among others.
Award Amount: varies
Deadline: March 15
15. Justine E. Granner Memorial Scholarship
The Iowa United Methodist Foundation, a nonprofit charity based in Des Moines, IA, was founded to provide support for churches, and the people of churches, throughout Iowa. The IUMF offers many services, from fair, low-interest church building loans to investments in local churches. As part of this mission, the IUMF also offers scholarships to students attending United Methodist colleges, seminaries, and other institutions in a variety of fields.
The IUMF’s Justine E. Granner Memorial Scholarship is intended for American Indian or other ethnic minority students who want to pursue a career in public health, nursing, or a related field. While applicants do not have to be Iowan, students who graduated from high school in Iowa are given priority. The total amount of this scholarship is $1,000. To apply, students must have a GPA of at least 3.0, provide three letters of recommendation, and provide test scores. The Iowa United Methodist Foundation scholarships run from January 1 to March 1 annually. It’s all part of the IUMF’s mission to help churches and believers make a difference in Iowa and beyond.
Award Amount: $1000
Deadline: March 1
16. Lynn Adamson Memorial Scholarship
The Women Health Care Executives of Northern California, a Bay Area organization for women in leadership in the health industry, is a critical part of the healthcare sector in San Francisco. Founded in 1980, the WHCE fulfills a necessary role, encouraging and empowering women in a field where women often predominate in the workforce, but are still underrepresented in power. The WHCE provides networking, education, resources, and advocacy to bring more women into administration and strengthen those fighting the good fight.
The WHCE Lynn Adamson Memorial Scholarship honors Lynn Adamson, a trailblazing woman executive who acted as a leader and mentor in California’s healthcare system while battling MS. Only women graduate students at a university in the San Francisco/Bay Area region are eligible, and this merit-based scholarship considers factors like leadership qualities, scholarship and integrity. The total value is $5000, and winners receive one year of free membership in the WHCE. By stewarding and supporting the next generation of women leaders in the healthcare system, the WHCE helps ensure that women will have a voice in every area that matters.
Award Amount: $5000
Deadline: February 19
17. National Hispanic Health Foundation Professional Student Scholarship Program
The National Hispanic Medical Association started the National Hispanic Health Foundation as a nonprofit foundation to improve the health education and resources of Hispanic Americans. This growing minority has become one of the fastest-growing demographics in the healthcare sector, as Latino and Hispanic Americans turn nursing, healthcare administration, and other health occupations as a way into professional, socially uplifting careers. However, Hispanics are still underrepresented in leadership, a gap the NHMA intends to correct.
The NHHF Professional Student Scholarship Program is the only national scholarship fund made for Hispanic students who have chosen a career path in health care. Professional and graduate students in all areas of health care, including public health, are eligible, and BSN students are eligible (but not any other undergraduates). Applicants need not be Hispanic; a commitment to service in the Hispanic community is necessary. Winners receive their awards at gala celebrations in Los Angeles and New York. With the Hispanic and Latino population transforming American culture, it’s only right that the NHHF scholarships would help transform American health care.
Award Amount: varies
Deadline: October 6
18. NEHA/AAS Scholarship
The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), a national professional organization, represents more than 5000 workers in the field of environmental health. The NEHA began in California in 1937, when no standards existed for ensuring the quality or expertise of environmental health experts. The Registered Environmental Health Professional certification helped bring order to the field, and today the NEHA stands as the guiding body, offering conferences, publications, and continuing education for environmental health practice.
The NEHA has collaborated with the American Academy of Sanitarians (AAS) to award the NEHA/AAS Scholarship annually since 1984. This scholarship is available to undergraduate and graduate students and made possible through donations by members of these organizations. To qualify, you must be at least a junior in college and should be pursuing a degree in public health or environmental health at a school approved by NEHA or the Environmental Health Accreditation Council. One graduate student will win $2000, while three undergraduates will win $1000. With these scholarships, the NEHA helps preserve standards of quality and safety in the environmental health field.
Award Amount: $1000-$2000
Deadline: March 15
19. NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers one of the most generous undergraduate scholarships out there. The Undergraduate Scholarship Program, or UGSP, pays up to $20,000 per year for tuition and related expenses. This scholarship is intended for people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and the opportunity it provides for prospective public health and environmental health experts is absolutely second to none. In addition to tuition support, the UGSP also includes paid research training, and it may lead to paid employment and training at the NIH following graduation.
The scholarship is for one year, but may be renewed up to four, and winners take on two service obligations. The first is a 10-week summer laboratory experience in the NIH National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI); the second is a year of laboratory research with the NHGRI. You must be a full-time student at an accredited four-year college or university to qualify. You must also have a 3.5 GPA or be in the top 5 percent of your class to be considered for this prestigious scholarship. The opportunity to join one of the world’s leading genetic research centers is an entry into the highest level of the STEM field, and an opportunity to change the world.
Award Amount: $20,000
Deadline: March 14
20. North Carolina Public Health Association Scholarships
The North Carolina Public Health Association dates back to 1909, bringing together individual public health practitioners and organizations for education, advocacy, and outreach. As North Carolina’s leading professional organization for public health, the NCPHA helps put theory into practice, and guide the best and brightest of North Carolina’s students into the field of public health, where they can do the most good for the most North Carolinians.
Scholarships are a major part of the association’s work, and the NCPHA offers five scholarships at all levels of public health education: the Richard S. Parker Leadership Scholarship for MPH students; the Undergraduate/Graduate Education Scholarship; scholarships for students earning associate’s or technical degrees; the Women’s and Children’s Health Scholarship in Memory of Dr. Ann Wolfe; and a scholarship for the children of NCPHA members. Requirements differ for applications to the various scholarships, but all applicants must demonstrate merit; the Parker Leadership Scholarship, in particular, is strictly for working professionals with at least five years of experience and current NCPHA membership.
Award Amount: $500-$1500
Deadline: July 7
21. Peter Jay Sharp Scholarship
The Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health is one of the oldest, most prestigious public health schools in the nation. Founded in 1922, the Mailman School is one of the largest in the nation, as well as one of the top recipients for research funding in public health. The Mailman School’s MPH degree program is literally a model of the form, influencing many other programs, instituting the global perspective and the interdisciplinary approach that has helped define the public health curriculum.
The Mailman School recognizes excellence, and also recognizes the need many excellent students have for financial support, so the school offers numerous scholarship opportunities. Columbia University’s Peter J. Sharp Scholarship, named for the hotel businessman and philanthropist, is offered exclusively to full-time MPH students at Columbia. The maximum possible value is an incredible $25,000. Qualifying applicants will have demonstrable experience in public health work, and must demonstrate their potential contributions to the field of public health, including leadership and public advocacy. Getting into the Mailman School of Public Health is one of the highest accomplishments in the field, but the Sharp Scholarship is the top.
Award Amount: $25,000
22. Tylenol Future Care Scholarship
Tylenol is one of the most recognizable names in the drug store, and the company is committed to giving back to healthcare. The Tylenol brand can be traced back to the McNeil family pharmacy, founded in 1879, in the days before commercial-produced pharmaceuticals. The McNeil family’s most popular invention, pain reliever for children, became Tylenol. The Tylenol company, part of Johnson & Johnson, continues to celebrate family with their numerous educational initiatives and charitable contributions, including multiracial families, LGBTQ families, and nontraditional families.
The Tylenol Future Care Scholarship is designed for students just starting their education in a health profession, including public health. Tylenol has proudly been providing scholarship funding for more than 20 years, disbursing more than $8 million to students in all kinds of healthcare fields. More than $250,000 in scholarships are awarded through this program per year, and that is expected to continue. 40 winners are announced per year, and each one receives scholarships of $5,000 or $10,000. Students are allowed to resubmit each year they attend school. Tylenol may not be a family business today, but it is changing lives for families and students all over the US.
Award Amount: $5000-$10,000
Deadline: June 30
23. Udall Foundation Undergraduate Scholarships
The Udall Foundation is a nonprofit set up by the US Congress in 1992 to honor Morris K. Udall, whose work in environmental protection and Native American rights was an inspiration to many. As part of its mission, the Udall Foundation provides funding for the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, and the Native Nations Institute, research organizations that work to understand and improve issues like tribal health care, self-governance, and education, and to work to mediate between Native American groups and government or private agencies.
The Udall Foundation Undergraduate Scholarships awards as many as 50 scholarships annually to Native American and Alaska Native students who are pursuing a career that will do good for the environment, or for the self-governance and well-being of American Indians. Public Health is among the career paths recognized. Students must write an essay on Morris K. Udall or Stewart L. Udall’s work and provide letters of recommendation outlining their ambitions and goals. For those pursuing a degree in health care, some additional documents or materials may be necessary upon request.With the Udall scholarships, the Udall Foundation is giving back to the Native community through the young people who have what it takes to make a difference.
Award Amount: $7000
Deadline: September 1
24. USF Health Scholarships
The USF College of Public Health is a trailblazer in the public health field, as the first college in Florida to offer a bachelor’s degree in public health. From its founding in 1984 – the first College of Public Health in the state of Florida – the USF COPH has been a leader and innovator in the field, with ten specialized research centers and institutes studying issues from Violence Prevention to Mother & Child Health. Besides 25 concentrations in five different degree programs (including the MPH, which is available on-campus and online), the USF COPH offers numerous dual degrees and certificates for working public health professionals.
USF offers a number of scholarships for their students at all levels. The Lee Leavengood Senior Program Endowed Scholarship is intended specifically for public health students specializing in gerontology. The Rita G. Bruce Scholarship, on the other hand, is designed for students who have demonstrated leadership and community service or research. Finally, the Samuel P. Bell III Scholarship awards funding to two PhD students and one master’s student in the College of Public Health. All of the applications require an essay, and in every case, students are expected to show a deep and active commitment to public health in Florida. USF has been at the forefront of public health in Florida for more than 30 years, and the USF scholarships will help keep the College of Public Health at the forefront for generations to come.
Award Amount: varies
25. Vivian Drenckhahn Student Scholarship
Established in 1950, the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) is a nonprofit, international professional association for public health workers and students. Made up of more than 4000 members in the US and 25 other nations, SOPHE’s mission is to advocate and educate the public about health in communities, behavior, and environment. SOPHE members include educators, healthcare professionals and administrators, government agencies, and others in the public health field. SOPHE is dedicated to providing support for its members, and to reaching out to communities in need all over the world.
SOPHE awards the Vivian Drenckhahn Student Scholarship annually to excellent students with demonstrated financial need. The Drenckhahn Scholarship is open to undergraduate and graduate students studying some form of health education, including public health education, and two scholarships of $1500 each are awarded each year. Applicants must have completed at least one-third of their program, prove their financial need, and include letters of recommendation. Each applicant must write a personal statement detailing their plan to address a particular issue in public health with their professional career, and applicants must first join SOPHE and be members for at least three months before winning the award.The Drenckhahn Scholarship is a chance to bring the very best to the public health field, and to make sure the best can accomplish all they are capable of without worrying about money.
Award Amount: $1500
Deadline: October 15