Les Whitt Memorial Scholarship

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The Les Whitt Memorial Scholarship is sponsored by the Friends of the Alexandria Zoo with support from Jack Hanna, and managed by Zoo Conservation Outreach Group (ZCOG). The award may be applied towards any of the general zookeeper professional training courses.

 The Les Whitt Memorial Award was created to honor the memory of Robert Leslie “Les” Whitt, former director of the Alexandria Zoological Park in Alexandria, Louisiana. The Award promotes professional training in advances in animal keeping for zoo and aquarium colleagues from countries in Latin America and the Caribbean Basin. Employees or associates of Latin American zoological institutions or related facilities may apply.

Scholarship Application

CLICK HERE to download the 2013-2014 scholarship application. Applications are due July 15, 2013. Full submission information is included in the applicationOnly one scholarship application may be submitted per individual per year. Applications are evaluated and recipients are chosen by the AZA Professional Development Committee.


Please note: If you do not receive the award and plan to take the course anyway, the scholarship application does not represent a reserved space in an AZA course. To secure a space in a course you must submit a completed registration form, and pay the tuition in full. If you receive the award, your full tuition payment will be refunded.

Detailed Award Coverage: 

ZCOG awards cover the following AZA training course related expenses:  

  • Course registration (full); 
  • Round-trip airfare from the award recipient’s point of origin to the destination city hosting the workshop (full); 
  • Round-trip airport shuttle ground transportation within the continental United States (full); 
  • Hotel/lodging throughout the duration of the course (based on double occupancy rate);


  • Course registration: ZCOG will arrange payment of the award recipient’s course registration.
  • Airfare: The award recipient shall forward a preferred travel itinerary, including 
    departure and return dates, to ZCOG. ZCOG will arrange the award recipient’s airfare. The group will not reimburse award recipients for airfares purchased without first consulting ZCOG. Travel will be limited to dates surrounding the course.
  • Ground Transport: ZCOG will arrange payment of the award recipient’s ground transportation.
  • Hotel/Lodging: ZCOG will cover hotel/lodging expenses for the award recipient via direct payment to the hotel. Lodging arrangements will be made by the AZA Professional Development Department.
  • Meals: Breakfast and lunch are provided as part of the accommodations or courses. Dinners are mostly on your own.
  • Travel VISA: ZCOG will, if necessary, draft a letter of support that the award recipient can use for their US Travel VISA interview. 

For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Department or call (301) 562-0777.