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The African American Leadership Award Scholarship

The African American Leadership Award Scholarship is for African American students who will be incoming freshmen at Utah State University in the Fall 2021. One $1500 scholarship will be awarded. The scholarship recipient will be notified by the end of June. Award will be paid in one lump sum and must be used for the Fall 2021 semester. 

Application open: March 31, 2021. Deadline for application: May 10, 2021 at 11:59pm.

Who can apply:

The African American Leadership Award is for African American students who are graduating high school seniors, with preference given to students who are from the state of Utah. Applicants need to have demonstrated leadership in their high schools and in their communities and show special talent and potential for continued leadership.

How to apply:

Please submit the following:

1. Application Cover Sheet and Certification 

2. Responses - two essay responses (300 - 500 words each) on the following topics.

  • Paul and Sylvia Jones demonstrated and valued leadership throughout their lives (see short bios). In an essay of 300 - 500 words, describe a time you were in a leadership role, what you learned, and how you expect this experience to help you in your future education and chosen career.

  • Think. Discover. Create. The Jones family established a scholarship in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHaSS – where students gain new perspectives on human society and their place in it and learn to apply those insights to help solve some of the worlds most pressing challenges. In an essay of 300 – 500 words that offers concrete specifics, tell us how you imagine you will engage, both during your time at USU and during your future career, with the college motto of “Think. Discover. Create.” Does one of these terms apply to your future plans more than the others? If so, explain.

3. Resume - a summary of academic recognition, GPA, ACT/SAT scores, leadership involvement, community service, and any other information relevant to this specific scholarship application.

4. Transcript - a current high school transcript (unofficial transcripts are acceptable) with a record of ACT and SAT scores.


Submit all application requirements online to the 2021 African American Leadership Scholarship folder.

  • Preferred: Combine all requirments into one file and name the file using the following format: "LastName_FirstName_Application" (e.g., Smith_John_Application)
  • Alternate: Upload requirements as seperate files using the following format:
    "LastName_FirstName_Form/Essays/Resume/Transcript" (e.g. Smith_John_Form,  Smith_John_Essays...)

Selection of recipient shall be made by the scholarship committee of the Mountain West Center for Regional Studies in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

For more information, please email or call 435-797-0299. Applications must be received by 11:59pm on May 10, 2021, and the recipient of the scholarship will be notified in June. 


Paul A. and Sylvia M. Jones

Paul A. Jones was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. He attended Utah State from 1981 to 1984 on a football scholarship and also participated in track and field. He earned his bachelor’s degree in speech communications and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies at Utah State. Of his time at Utah State he states, "USU was the best thing that could have happened to me. It took an inner-city kid who was ‘rough around the edges’ and helped develop him personally, spiritually and intellectually.” Paul also earned a doctorate in education and human resource studies with a concentration in educational leadership from Colorado State University. His professional career included time at Utah State as the school relations recruiter where he focused on diversity and recruitment of minority high school students. His career in higher education has been spent in Utah, Maryland, Colorado and Georgia. He joined Georgia College in 2002 and continued to demonstrate his capacity for leadership by taking on more responsibilities when needed, including his willingness to serve as interim president during an important transitional period. In November of 2015, he was named as the President of Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia. Paul has continued to serve in his community through several memberships and leadership positions including the board of directors for Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia. 

Sylvia M. Jones was born in San Antonio, Texas. Coming from a military family, she lived overseas for most of her teenage years. During the middle of her junior year of high school, her father was transferred to Salt Lake City, where she learned of Utah State University. She met Paul at USU and was involved in numerous activities. With support from the administration, they started the USU Voices of Praise Gospel Choir, one of her fondest memories as an Aggie. Sylvia earned a bachelor’s in economics in 1987 from Utah State and an MBA from Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado. Sylvia’s career has been in the financial education industry. She worked on campuses in Colorado and Georgia as financial aid director, before taking a position with Wells Fargo Bank as an assistant vice president-account executive in the Education Financial Services. She is involved with many regional and state higher education organizations. Every year she spends many volunteer hours in her community conducting presentations at high schools, as well as working with several students and parents as they navigate the admissions and financial aid process, which can be daunting and overwhelming for many first generation families.