The Walt Disney Company

Disney UNCF Corporate Scholars Named For 2024 Cohort

BURBANK, Calif., January 31, 2024—Today, 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. As a way 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:

ScholarSchoolMajorProgram
Aniyah RobinsonLangston UniversityBroadcast JournalismAndscape – Rhoden Fellows
Assata Allah-ShabazzMorgan State UniversityStrategic CommunicationsAndscape – Rhoden Fellows
Breahna HardwickSpelman CollegePolitical ScienceDisney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Danaria GorhamJohnson C. Smith UniversityMass Communication ArtsNational Geographic Content Scholarship
Devon MooringHoward UniversityBiologyNational Geographic Content Scholarship
Gabrielle HeywardNorth Carolina A&T State UniversityJournalism and Mass CommunicationAndscape – Rhoden Fellows
Jaeda GarnerGrambling State UniversityBroadcast JournalismFX Storytelling Legacy Scholarship
Janaidy Ruiz PeriClark Atlanta UniversityMass Media Arts Conc. – Radio/Television/FilmFX Storytelling Legacy Scholarship
Jaylen HolmesMiles CollegeCommunicationsDisney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Juwan HamptonDePaul UniversityComputer Science – Software EngineeringDisney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Kaily KuykendallHoward UniversityPolitical ScienceDisney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Kalani WashingtonSavannah College of Art and DesignDramatic WritingFX Storytelling Legacy Scholarship
Kynnedi HinesLouisiana State UniversityMass Communication/Public RelationsDisney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Lamaria WashingtonHoward UniversityJournalismNational Geographic Content Scholarship
Lauren NutallHoward UniversityJournalismNational Geographic Content Scholarship
Lauryn JohnsonHoward UniversityMedia ManagementDisney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Lillian StephensMorgan State UniversityStrategic CommunicationNational Geographic Content Scholarship
Madison N. FirleHoward UniversityBroadcast JournalismAndscape – Rhoden Fellows
Maya A. McCordAlabama State UniversityCommunications with a concentration in Radio & TelevisionDisney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Myron Boyd Jr.Florida A&M UniversityBusiness AdministrationDisney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Nilea CosleyClark Atlanta UniversityMass Media Arts with a concentration in JournalismAndscape – Rhoden Fellows
Perry O’HannonCheyney University of PennsylvaniaBiology/Criminal JusticeDisney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Spencer WingateFort Valley StateVeterinary TechnologyDisney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Sydney CuillierSouthern University A&M CollegeMass CommunicationsAndscape – Rhoden Fellows
Tori BlakePaul Quinn CollegePsychologyDisney UNCF Enhanced Scholars
Xamara ColemanDelaware State UniversityMass CommunicationsNational Geographic Content Scholarship
Zhen SmallsCalifornia State Long BeachFilmFX 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 Twitter at @UNCF.


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