2015 Nancy J. Bloch Leadership & Advocacy Scholarship

Are you interested in first-hand experience with government advocacy and legal activism at one of the most innovative law and advocacy centers in the country? Apply now to intern at the National Association of the Deaf Law and Advocacy Center this summer! You can get an NAD internship, thanks to the Nancy J. Bloch Leadership & Advocacy Scholarship stipend awards. The application deadline is February 20, 2015.

Qualified applicants will spend the summer at the NAD Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD where they will participate actively in NAD advocacy efforts to protect the civil, human and linguistic rights of the American deaf community. Preference will be given to students pursuing careers in law, public policy, nonprofit management or related fields. This scholarship provides financial stipends to assist qualified applicants with travel, housing, transportation and related needs during the internship.

Past Scholarship recipient, Lisa Bothwell shares her encouragement for other interested applicants, “I was fortunate to be able to work with the lawyers at the NAD.  I did legal research on transportation, employment, and effective communication. I graduated from the College of Law at Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and became a licensed attorney in Texas! I am now working as a Regional Disability Integration Specialist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Kansas City, Missouri. In that role, I am responsible for ensuring that the access and functional needs and requirements of individuals with disabilities are being properly included and addressed in all aspects of emergency preparedness and disaster response, recovery, protection, and mitigation.”

Another recipient, Hayley McLemore shares gratitude for the experience, “I first learned of the Scholarship from my Dad and realized it was a great opportunity for me to be able to experience legal advocacy within the deaf and hard of hearing community.  During my internship, I was able to discover different issues related to accessibility and deaf and hard of hearing rights.  The internship was very helpful for me to narrow down my career goals — I’m still in school but I’d like to become a lawyer and get into legal advocacy after I graduate!”

Our most recent recipient, Alexander Van Hook was thrilled with the opportunity last summer in 2014, “The internship gave me a look at how the NAD works as an organization, and I became more informed on current issues key to Deaf people. It was also a step for me to explore what I want to do for my future. I had previously interned in Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers’s congressional office, sponsored by the American Association of People with Disabilities, in Summer 2013, and these experiences combined have led me to consider law school as a possible option following my RIT undergraduate years.”

Stipend Disbursement & Internship Duration

  • Duration of summer internships shall be on a full time basis for no less than 10 weeks and no more than 15 weeks per year.
  • Determination of the stipend amount for each qualified applicant is based on the length of the internship and the Application Criteria below. For example, a qualified applicant studying in law school (Juris Doctor degree) who commits to the entire length of the summer internship may be eligible for the full $6,000 stipend. Up to two qualified applicants studying for their Bachelor’s degree may receive stipends of up to $3,000 each.
  • Applicants are responsible for their own transportation, lodging and meals. The NAD is located near the Silver Spring Metro station, which allows for convenient transportation throughout the DC Metro area (MD/DC/VA). Applicants are also responsible for their own automobile parking fees, if applicable.

Application Criteria

Applicants seeking Nancy J. Bloch Leadership & Advocacy Scholarship consideration must be currently enrolled in academic studies toward graduate or undergraduate degrees within the following or related fields:

  • Law (Juris Doctor degree)
  • Public Policy (Master’s or Bachelor’s degree)
  • Nonprofit Management (Master’s or Bachelor’s degree)

Applicants will be screened on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Deaf or hard of hearing;
  • Demonstrated commitment to and advocacy for public service – specifically civil, human and linguistic rights of the American deaf community;
  • Evidence of leadership abilities and potential for continued growth in leadership skills;
  • Excellent research, writing and presentation skills; and
  • Strong academic and extracurricular credentials.

Applicants must supply the following information as part of their application package:

  • Cover letter and rationale for application
  • Full name
  • Permanent address
  • Phone number/s
  • Email address/es
  • Educational institution name and mailing address
  • Proof of status as a current student, including academic and financial standing
  • Official transcript listing academic courses and grades awarded
  • Expected year of graduation, degree and field of study
  • Contact person at educational institution, e.g., internship or employment coordinator
  • Anticipated start/end dates of summer internship
  • Resume detailing employment history, internships, co-op experience, etc.
  • Description of community activities, especially those pertaining to advocacy and leadership within the deaf and hard of hearing community
  • References (minimum of three)

Applicants must indicate their area/s of internship interest:

  • Education
  • Early intervention
  • Health care and mental health
  • Employment/vocational rehabilitation
  • Sign language as a human right
  • Technology/telecommunications
  • Transportation/travel
  • Other (specify)

Application Deadline

Applications for the Nancy J. Bloch Leadership & Advocacy Scholarship must be submitted electronically to[email protected] no later than Friday, February 20, 2015. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Screening and Selection Process

The respective points of contact for the NAD Headquarters and the Nancy J. Bloch Leadership & Advocacy Scholarship Committee shall coordinate screening of applicants and selection of recipients.

The screening and selection process is delineated as follows:

  • Monday, February 23, 2015 – Applications are screened for completeness and satisfaction of criteria by the NAD, and eligible applicants’ documentation are shared electronically with the Scholarship Committee;
  • Friday, March 6, 2015 – Top applicants are selected by the Scholarship Committee, and interviews are scheduled in the next few days. Local applicants will be interviewed in person at the NAD Headquarters. Remote interviews will be conducted via video or phone for those who reside outside the greater MD/DC/VA area;
  • Friday, March 13, 2015 – Conclusion of interviews; NAD conveys final recommendations to Scholarship Committee;
  • Monday, March 16, 2015 – Committee selects scholarship recipient/s;
  • Tuesday, March 17, 2015 – NAD Headquarters informs scholarship recipient/s

About the Leadership & Advocacy Scholarship

Established by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) at its 50th Biennial Conference in Philadelphia, PA, the Nancy J. Bloch Leadership & Advocacy Scholarship encourages and enhances the NAD and its distinguished history of advancing professional opportunities for young deaf and hard of hearing individuals pursuing careers in law, public policy, nonprofit management and related fields. Many NAD interns, inspired by their passion and experiences at the NAD Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, have gone on to become successful leaders and advocates in their respective communities.

Nancy Bloch served the American deaf and hard of hearing community diligently for nearly 19 years as Chief Executive Officer of the NAD. In 2011, when her tenure ended, the scholarship in her name was created to honor Nancy’s life-long commitment to invest in the future of young deaf and hard of hearing advocates so that they, too, can pave the way for others to follow in the future.

About The Scholarship Committee 

The Nancy J. Bloch Leadership & Advocacy Scholarship committee has a simple, straightforward objective – to raise a specified amount each year to ensure funds are continually available to support annual disbursement of internship stipends and re-investment for fund growth purposes.

Currently supported through generous individual contributions made during and since the 50th Biennial NAD Conference in Philadelphia, PA, the Scholarship fund relies on individual, organizational, corporate and foundation support to further its goals.  To donate online or via mail/fax, visit www.nad.org/donate and select the button for “Nancy J. Bloch Leadership & Advocacy Scholarship Fund” in the Donor Designation section to ensure that your contribution is directed appropriately.

Scholarship Committee members welcome inquiries from individuals and groups interested in donating to the scholarship fund.  Members include Nancy Bloch, Chair; Barbara Jean “BJ” Wood, Vice Chair; LeWana Clark, Shane Feldman, Jerry Nelson, Annette Posell, Julie Rems-Smario, Jackie Roth, and Bobbie Beth Scoggins, with President Chris Wagner and Chief Executive Officer Howard Rosenblum as ex officio members on behalf of the NAD.