This morning I was re-reading this issue's Money Matters column on endowed scholarships. In discussing the sometimes restrictive criteria these awards carry, Kathy Kurz illustrates one of her favorite examples. The award "required potential candidates to submit an essay about what their Italian heritage meant to them," Kurz writes. "Winners of this award then had to attend a ball in their honor, and the cost of a gown or tuxedo rental was more than the value of the scholarship!"
Later, in one of those weird moments of synchronicity, I got an e-mail from a friend pointing me to a great article on Huffington Post called "11 Bizarre But Excellent Scholarships." (http://ow.ly/2GUbr) Over the years, I've found dozens of unusual scholarship opportunities on the web. Here are some of my favorites.
- The Kor Memorial Scholarship. Awarded by the Klingon Language Institute (yes, there is such a thing), it recognizes and encourages scholarship in fields of language study, although command of Klingon is not required. This may be because it isn't actually a language.
- The John Kitt Memorial Scholarship from the American Association of Candy Technologists. This is open to majors in food science, chemical science, or biological science, who have a demonstrated interest in confectionery technology. No word on whether John Kitt might have been a dentist.
- The American Fire Sprinkler Association offers two $10,000 scholarships and five $1,000 scholarships. Applicants must read an essay on sprinklers and then answer a 10-question, open-book quiz on what they've just read. Rejection on this one must be painful.
- The United States Bowling Congress offers more than $6 million in scholarship money each season through bowling associations and councils, certified tournaments and proprietors throughout the country. Apparently, they have funds to spare.
- The Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship from the Parapsychology Foundation. This one awards $3,000 to students who demonstrate an interest in the academic study of the science of parapsychology. I wonder if winners know in advance that they've won?
- The Vegetarian Resource Group awards two $5,000 scholarships to students who have promoted vegetarianism in their schools and communities. Not to be outdone, the National Beef Ambassador Program has a national, competitive youth public speaking program for the beef industry that includes a $1,000 cash prize and a $750 scholarship.
- The Carnegie Mellon University Bagpipe Scholarship offers $7,000 per year (and subsidized kilts) to students who agree to study the bagpipes with the university's world-renowned instructor. According to one news report, the school offers it every year, but few ever actually take it.
See the sidebar for a full listing of unusual scholarships from around the web.
Program planning for EduComm 2011 in Orlando is well under way. In response to comments from a number of attendees, next year's conference will build on previous focus areas, as well as introducing new sessions to appeal to a broader base.
In coming months, I'll let you in on some exciting changes and additions to the EduComm program. But, as always, the conference sessions are built around you and your interests. We are seeking fast-paced, high-energy presentations that engage our audience and reflect the broad theme of innovative thinking in higher education. To keep the conference fast-paced and energized, all sessions will be no more than 45 minutes in length (including Q&A). You can get more information and submit a session proposal of your own at http://educommconference.com/educomm2011 (click on Call for Presentations).
Write to Tim Goral at firstname.lastname@example.org.