2018 Nancy J. Bloch Leadership & Advocacy Scholarship

A first-hand experience with government advocacy and legal activism at one of the most innovative law and advocacy centers in the country wants you to join the National Association of the Deaf Law and Advocacy Center as an intern this summer — made possible with the Nancy J. Bloch Leadership & Advocacy Scholarship stipend awards.

Interested applicants are asked to submit their application online by Friday, January 19, 2018.

Qualified applicants will spend the summer at the NAD Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland where they will participate actively in 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 a nominal financial stipend to qualified applicants. Chosen applicants are responsible for their own travel, lodging, 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!”

Another recipient, Hayley McLemore shares gratitude for the experience, “I realized this 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’d like to get into legal advocacy after I graduate!”

Also a past recipient, Alexander Van Hook states, “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.” Today, Alexander Van Hook is a graduate student at American University.

In the Summer of 2016, Lily Esquer-Horta worked closely with Tawny Holmes, NAD Education Policy Counsel, on various projects to study the needs of diverse students and their families. Some of her responsibilities included social media posts and policy projects related to the language and communication needs of deaf and hard of hearing mainstreamed students.

The recipient for the Summer of 2017, Nida Din just started her second-year attending the University of Houston Law Center in Houston, Texas. After finishing law school in the next two years, Nida plans to advocate to promote a fully accessible world for deaf people.

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.

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:

  • Tuesday, January 23, 2018 – Applications are screened for completeness and satisfaction of criteria by the NAD, and eligible applicants’ documentation are shared electronically with the Scholarship Committee;
  • Friday, February 9, 2018 – Top applicants are selected by the Scholarship Committee, and interviews are scheduled within 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, February 23, 2018 – Conclusion of interviews; the NAD conveys final recommendations to Scholarship Committee;
  • Monday, February 26, 2018 – Committee selects scholarship recipient/s;
  • Tuesday, February 27, 2018 – the NAD informs scholarship recipient/s

About the Nancy J. Bloch Leadership & Advocacy Scholarship

Established by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) at its 50th Biennial Conference in Philadelphia, PA, the 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 J. 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 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, the scholarship fund relies on individual, organizational, corporate and foundation support to further its goals.  Donate online or via mail/fax, and select the “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, Bobbie Beth Scoggins, and Chris Wagner, with President Melissa Draganac-Hawk and Chief Executive Officer Howard A. Rosenblum as ex officio members on behalf of the NAD.