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Meet the 2022 Winners of Our Illustrating Awesomeness Scholarship

Title graphic on a mustard yellow background featuring NDA logos; reads 'Meet the 2022 Winners of Our Illustrating Awesomeness Scholarship" and besisde the text is a group of hands holding up a sign together that reads 'Congrats!'

Back in October, we kicked off the sixth iteration of our Illustrating Awesomeness Scholarship. 

Each year since 2017, our animation studio has awarded scholarships to inspiring undergraduate students who are women or gender nonconforming people of color. 

Inspiring, you say?

Absolutely! Our scholarship committee carefully reads through over one hundred incredible essays from students across the country, who share with our studio a glimpse of who they are and how they plan to change the world.

Our values as a studio help us select scholarship recipients who illustrate awesomeness – although, it’s never easy. In fact, it’s one of the hardest projects we tackle all year.

a screenshot from Next Day Animations instagram; features the post in September that announced the illustrating awesmoeness scholarships 6th opening!

We’re thrilled to introduce you to some of our 2022 Scholarship Recipients, who will be applying the awards to the current Spring semester.

Our winners demonstrate exceptional clarity, inventiveness, partnership, and authenticity. Learn more about them and their plans to change the world below!

image of Kiana Armstrong smiling in front of a wooden fence

Kianna Armstrong

Kianna Armstrong is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer studying architecture at the University of Southern California. She is a Co-Founder of the organization Architecture + Advocacy, in which she uses her background in architecture to provide young people with the tools to design grassroots change in their own neighborhoods. Kianna has always been passionate about using architecture to un-design inequities that manifest in the built environment. She plans to use this scholarship to further her education and to continue inspiring young people to be change makers with the power of design.

image of Aja Leatherwood, smiling

Aja Leatherwood

“My Name is Aja and I am a first generation, African American, undergraduate. I am majoring in communication science with minors in childhood studies and art studio. I would like to express my gratitude towards Next Day Animations for supporting my dream with the illustrating awesomeness scholarship. This scholarship helps me focus less on meaningless part time jobs and more on my academics, research, career building, and the American Sign Language club I am the president of. With it, I can continue to do awesome things such as encouraging others to advocate for d/Deaf individuals.”

image of Gabriela Aldridge, smiling

Gabriela Aldridge

“My name is Gabriela Aldridge! I am a sophomore at The University of Alabama studying Fashion Retailing. After completing my degree, I hope to create my own size-inclusive clothing brand that encourages individuals of all shapes and sizes to feel confident and empowered. This scholarship means so much to me since it will help fund my education as I work towards accomplishing my goal of making the fashion industry a more diverse and inclusive environment.”

Our heartfelt congratulations and support goes out to every student who took the time to apply. Each story we received was read and appreciated by our Scholarship Committee, and left us excited for the future you all will build with your plans to change the world.

Learn more about the Illustrating Awesomeness Scholarship here.

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