Apply for a JGS Fellowship

The IA/JGS Fellows Program provides an opportunity for publicly engaged undergraduate students who attend an IA member higher education institution, or who are sponsored by an IA member cultural institution, and who work with photography and/or digital media to participate in a year-long learning exchange that includes tuition support, project support, and opportunities for professional development.

Program Outline

During the fellowship year, each Fellow will: 

Receive a $2,000 tuition scholarship.
 Receive mentorship and financial support for a community project.
Attend the Imagining America National Gathering in October. Complimentary registration and travel awards are included.
 Participate in regular, virtual learning exchanges.
 Be connected to the consortium’s national network of scholars, artists, and community organizers.

The application period for the 2020-2021 IA/JGS Fellows Program is now open. Apply by July 17, 2020 to be considered for next year’s cohort.

2020-2021 Program Timeline

June – July 2020 Application Period

July 2020 Selection and notification of fellows

August – September 2020 Program Orientation and virtual exchanges

October 2020 Participation of fellows in national creative project, with support provided for fellows to attend the 2021 in-person Imagining America National Gathering

November 2020 – May 2021 Fellows work on community projects and continue virtual mentorship and learning exchanges

May – June 2021 Fellows submit summary of accomplishments

Application Criteria and Process

Based on funding availability, each year six to eight undergraduate students enrolled at, or sponsored by, an IA member institution are selected for the IA/JGS Fellows Program. The selection process involves a consideration of the following based on review of submitted application materials:

Demonstration of artistic merit;
Demonstration of an existing community engaged practice;
Demonstration of financial need according to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA) and the Student Aid Report (SAR), or by documentation from a verifiable institutional or governmental entity; and
First-generation college student status. While the IA/JGS Fellows Program is not limited to first-generation college students, students with this background are highly encouraged to apply.

Students of all majors/areas of study are welcome to apply. 

To apply for the JGS Fellows Program, students must submit the following:

 A completed application form, which includes an essay response (see prompts below) of no more than 500 words;
Three work samples representative of your creative practice and demonstrating your skills in photography and/or digital media;
Proof of financial need with a federal, state, or school financial aid report for the 2020-21 academic year (see FAQ, below, for additional information); and
A letter of recommendation from a faculty or staff member at your undergraduate institution or a community organization with which you are affiliated. Recommenders should send email letters directly to Trina Van Schyndel at

Essay Prompt

To be submitted as part of the application form, please address at least one of the questions listed below for your essay response. Responses should reflect your creative process, personal experiences and skills you have with a community organization, and outcomes you hope to achieve by connecting your photography and/or digital media skills with your community work. (500 word limit)

What motivates you to use photography or digital media in your community or public engagement?
What was a pivotal moment that occurred for you while doing this work?
What obstacles have you encountered in realizing your community or public work, and how have you continued through them?

Click HERE to access the application form and begin the application process.

Applicants will be notified of decisions in July 2020. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I need to be a student majoring in photography or digital media to be eligible?

No. Undergraduate students in any major or area of study are encouraged to apply.

Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to be eligible?

No. Students are encouraged to apply regardless of their citizenship status.

Do I need to be an undergraduate student to be eligible?

Yes. The IA/JGS Fellows Program is designed to provide peer learning, mentoring, and professional development support to undergraduate students enrolled at an IA member higher education institution or sponsored by an IA member cultural institution. If you are a graduate student from an IA member institution, we encourage you to apply to the PAGE (Publicly Active Graduate Education) Fellowship Program, IA’s peer network for graduate students with a demonstrated interest in public scholarship or artist practice. 

How do I know if my institution is an IA member?

Please click here to find out if your institution is a member of IA. 

How do I provide proof of financial need?

You can demonstrate need by providing a verifiable document usually by a student aid report. You can provide one of the following:

Federal: 2020-21 Student Aid Report (SAR)* from your Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA)
State: a copy of a report from your state’s 2020-21 financial aid application that summarizes your estimated financial need.
School: a copy of a summary from your school’s 2020-21 financial aid package that indicates your estimated financial need.

*For purposes of the JGS Fellows Program, the SAR includes your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which is used to determine financial need.

When are the tuition scholarships dispersed?

Tuition scholarships will be dispersed in two parts, half at the beginning of the fall semester, and the second half at the beginning of the spring semester. Please contact Imagining America at with any remaining questions.