BIPOC Equity in School Psychology Training Scholarship (BEST Scholarship)

Annual Deadline: Spring (Exact Dates To Be Announced via SASP Listserv)


SASP and Division 16 support students from under-represented cultural backgrounds as they endeavour 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.


Incoming Student BEST Scholarships

Two (2) annual awards of $500 are given to master’s/specialist or doctoral students who will be entering their first or second year of graduate training to help defer some of the costs acquired through graduate study. This is a one-time award; individuals granted the award may not reapply in subsequent years (i.e., for the Incoming nor Advanced Student award). For students who will be starting their first year in the fall, proof of an offer of acceptance into a school psychology program will be required.

Advanced Student BEST Scholarship

Two (2) annual awards of $1,000 are given to an advanced master’s/specialist or doctoral student who will be entering their third or above year of graduate training to help defer some of the costs acquired through graduate study or in preparation for internship. 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 required to present their research at the Annual SASP Student Research Forum (SRF) at the APA Convention. Travel funding is NOT part of the scholarship.

How to Apply

The following materials must be included with your application:

  • Completed online application
  • A purpose statement of professional goals (maximum 1,000 words)
    • Incoming applicants: In your statement, please discuss your background, what you hope to accomplish and/or experience throughout your time in graduate school, and your future involvement with the field at large (e.g., running for APA SASP board, getting involved in NASP).
    • Advanced applicants: In your statement, please discuss your background, personal/professional goals, how they relate to your work as a future School Psychologist, and your involvement or plans for future involvement with the field at large (e.g., APA Division 16, SASP, state organizations).
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation (LOR) typed on official letterhead.
    • Ensure letter writers know you well and can highlight your capacity to promote diversity. Letters should go beyond a generic template.
    • LORs should explain how the applicant has, would bring, or would enhance diversity within their school psychology program and the field
    • Incoming student applicants: Both LOR for first year students can be from undergraduate faculty; however, second year students should include at least one LOR from a current graduate faculty member
  • Advanced Student Applicants: Current resume/curriculum vitae (3 page limit)
    • Organize and cater CV for activities related to and promoting diversity. Highlight any campus/community activities with which you are involved, as well as any honors, awards, and scholarships you have received.
    • Incoming student applicants do not need to submit a CV.
  • For further information on application procedures, visit this link.

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


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