BIPOC Equity in School Psychology Training Scholarship (BEST Scholarship)


SASP and Division 16 support students from under-represented cultural backgrounds as they endeavor to become a part of the inspiring profession of School Psychology. SASP and Division 16 are aware of the pressures that graduate students experience and thus, through generous support from Division 16, the BEST Scholarship (Previously known as the Diversity Scholarship) Program was created to provide monetary support to aid students from diverse cultural backgrounds entering the field. While we understand and acknowledge that diversity encompasses many factors such as disability status, age, gender, location, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status; SASP’s mission is to recruit and retain students from racially and ethnically marginalized and historically excluded backgrounds. Students who discuss their background and how their ethnic-racial identity has impacted their studies and professional goals will thus be prioritized for the awards. SASP offers the following four awards each year for student support: two incoming student awards in the amount of $500 each and two advanced student awards in the amount of $1,000. Applicants must be members of Division 16 and SASP in order to be eligible for the award; for more information on membership, click here. Recipients of the awards will be recognized for their award at the APA Convention during SASP’s Student Research Forum (SRF).

For the purposes of this scholarship, diversity is defined as any student who is marginalized and identifies as part of a historically excluded group on the basis of race, ethnicity, and/or national origin. International students who meet this criteria are also encouraged to apply.


Early Student Scholarships

Two (2) awards of $500 and free D16 membership for one year are given to master’s/specialist or doctoral students who will be entering their first, second, or third* year of graduate training to help defer some of the costs acquired through graduate study. This is a one-time award; individuals granted the awards may not reapply in subsequent years. For students who will be starting their first year in the fall, proof of an offer of admittance and acceptance into a school psychology program will be required. Only Incoming applicants will receive free D16 membership for one year.

Advanced Student & Internship-level Scholarship

Two annual awards of $1,000 is given to two (2) advanced masters/specialist or doctoral students who will be entering their internship year AND/OR fourth year and beyond graduate training to help defer some of the costs acquired through graduate study or in preparation for internship. Applicants must be students enrolled in their program in the fall of the application year; students on internship are encouraged to apply (so if your degree is conferred in October, you will not be eligible). Post-doctoral fellows are not eligible for this award. This is a one-time award; individuals granted the award may not reapply in subsequent years. Please note that the individual who wins this award is encouraged to present a poster highlighting their research at the Annual SASP Student Research Forum (SRF) at the APA convention.

How to Apply

Applicants are instructed to provide the following materials in their application (and this list is provided on both APA Division 16 and SASP’s websites): 


  • Current SASP membership for only advanced student candidates (provide your APA membership ID number); Incoming student applicants do not need to have D16 membership to APPLY. 
  • Completed the one-page scholarship application (Google Form)
  • Current resume/curriculum vitae catered to the application (1-page max?)
  • A purpose statement of professional goals (maximum 1,000 words)
    • This statement is different for incoming vs. advanced applicants
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation on official letterhead
    • Both recommendation letters for incoming applicants can be from undergraduate faculty members, however, advanced applicants must provide letters of recommendations from graduate faculty members. Letters of recommendation should explain how the applicant has, would bring, or would enhance diversity within their school psychology program.
    • One LOR can be from peers or a previous employer/non-faculty supervisor

Preferred qualities and application components:

  • Activities go above and beyond what is typically expected of a graduate student at their level
    • Consider also certain privileges the applicant may have, such as Ph.D. students having more opportunities for research in comparison to masters-level or Psy.D. student
  • Consider how the applicant will utilize the funding (but don’t base decision on this only)

To apply for either award, complete this application form.

Submission Instructions

    • Please click here for the most up-to-date application procedures
    • The application package must be submitted via Google Forms (link above)
    • Late applications will not be accepted.
    • Save all documents (including signed recommendation letters, if possible) as ONE (1) PDF file with a file name formatted as: lastname_typeofaward_application2021. The only exception is for LORs that can be sent directly to the Diversity Affairs Chair. It is your responsibility to make sure they have received both letters to complete your application.

If you have any questions or concerns about your application, please feel free to email

Past Recipients


Brandi Hilliard – University of Florida  (Incoming Student Award)
Marketta (Kita) Adams – Louisiana State University (Incoming Student Award)
Yuna Seong – University of Wisconsin-Madison (Advanced Student Award)
Elaine Luo – Berkley School of Education (Advanced Student Award)


Lamia Bagasrawala, Michigan State University (Incoming Student Award)
Queenie Dong, University of California, Berkeley (Incoming Student Award)
Stephanie Campbell, University of Wisconsin – Madison (Advanced Student Award)
Erica Hobbs, North Carolina State University (Advanced Student Award) 


Charlisse Navaro, Florida State University (Incoming Student Award)
Danya Soto, University of Wisconsin – Madison (Incoming Student Award)
Jerica Knox, North Carolina State University (Advanced Student Award)
Monica Romero, University of Missouri (Advanced Student Award)


Monica Johnson, Texas Tech University (Incoming Student Award)
LaDena Eames, Towson University (Incoming Student Award)
Mayra Gaona, Loyola University Chicago (Advanced Student Award)


Alexandra Barber, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Incoming Student Award)
Melissa Wheeler, Northern Arizona University (Incoming Student Award)
Marisa Solé, Lehigh University (Advanced Student Award)


Sarah DeMarchena, University of Missouri (Incoming Student Award)
Marie Tanaka, University of South Florida (Incoming Student Award)
Oscar Widales-Benitez, Texas A&M University (Advanced Student Award)


Joseph Armendarez, University of Rhode Island (Advanced Student Award)
Suchun Dong, Pace University (Incoming Student Award)
Dylan Okechukwu Barton, University of Arizona (Incoming Student Award)


Chathuri Illapperuma, Mississippi State University (Incoming Student Award)
Melanie Nelson, University of British Columbia (Advanced Student Award)
Raul Palacios, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Incoming Student Award)


Leslie Jenkins, Indiana University (Advanced Student Award)
Tamique Ridgard, Lehigh University (Incoming Student Award)


Sierra Brown, Duquesne University (Incoming Student Award)
Imad Zaheer, Lehigh University (Advanced Student Award)


Giselle Colorado
Stacy White


Lillie Huddleston, Georgia State University
Ya Zhang, Michigan State University