JGS Fellows Program

Website: Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life


Thanks to a generous grant from the Joy of Giving Something, Inc., (JGS), Imagining America (IA) invites publicly engaged students who work with photography and/or digital media from our member institutions to apply for the JOY OF GIVING SOMETHING (JGS) FELLOWSHIP. Selected fellows will commit to a year-long learning exchange that includes tuition support, project support, and opportunities for professional development.

The goal of the JGS Fellows Program is to elevate photography and digital media as pathways for students to pursue their careers and to make a difference in their communities. The program specifically aims to support students for whom economic and family circumstances render such career pathways particularly challenging.

Over the course of the fellowship year, each fellow will:

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

Program Timeline (for specific information, visit: https://imaginingamerica.org/what-we-do/fellowships/jgs-fellows/)

March – June  Call for applications is open
June – July  Selection and notification of fellows
Aug. – Sept.  Begin virtual exchanges among fellows, alumni, and professionals; initiation of fellows’ community projects
Oct.  Participation of fellows in the IA National Gathering
Nov.  – May  Continuation of virtual exchanges among fellows, alumni, and professionals and of fellows’ community projects
June  Close of cohort year and evaluation of program



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. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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

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.

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


To be considered, students must include the following in their application:

  • A completed application form, which includes an essay response 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 academic year (See FAQ for additional info);
  • A letter of recommendation from a faculty or staff member at your undergraduate institution, or a community organization member. Recommenders should send email letters directly to jgtruong@ucdavis.edu.


Essay Prompt

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 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 doing this work?

• What obstacles have you faced in realizing your community or public work, and how have you continued through them?

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


Contact Information