Scholarship and Leadership Program
The Foundation is leaving our mark in this region with the Niswonger Scholars. We know of no other Scholarship and Leadership program like ours in the United States. Niswonger Scholars are selected through a nomination process that seeks to identify the region’s best and brightest future leaders. They are given the opportunity to attend the college or university that will best prepare them for success in their field of study, while participating in our four-year leadership program. Through an emphasis on leadership, business management, community service and ethical decision making, the Scholars are provided travel, training, internships, and personalized support to become model leaders and citizens of the world. Scholarships are currently offered in the following seventeen school districts: Bristol, Elizabethton, Greeneville, Johnson City, Kingsport, Carter County, Cocke County, Greene County, Hamblen County, Hancock County, Hawkins County, Jefferson County, Johnson County, Sevier County, Sullivan County, Unicoi County, and Washington County. There are currently 21 Niswonger Scholars and 61 Alumni.
What makes our program unique to all other scholarships is that the goal is to identify and develop leaders for Northeast Tennessee. These students commit to returning, within seven years, to Northeast Tennessee to work in their chosen career one year for each year they receive our scholarship. The plan is that by enabling these students to pursue their academic passion and by cultivating their leadership abilities, they will be committed to returning to their "roots" and being catalysts for the growth and improvement of their communities.
While we instill the belief that one person's life can have a great impact, the strength of our Alumni Network is rapidly growing. These Alumni Scholars are seeing, firsthand, what happens when greater challenges are faced together. Examples of Alumni involvement include formal and informal alumni meetings, serving as mentors to undergraduate Scholars, assisting with internship and research placements, and presentations at Scholars training. Importantly, the majority of the final selection committee for new Scholars is made up of Alumni. This ensures their support for the success of the new Scholars and the commitment to select those who will bring more strength to the network. This year, one of our newest Scholars was nominated by an Alumni Scholar...and the circle continues!
Learn More About the Scholar Nomination Process