Jeff Swanagan Memorial Scholarship

The Jeff Swanagan Memorial Scholarship is sponsored by Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This award may be applied to any of the AZA Professional Training Courses.

The late Jeff Swanagan was the executive director of the Columbus Zoo. His career was shaped by his experience as an educator, when he saw how deeply people were affected when they connected to the wonders of nature. Jeff had an unwavering belief that zoos and aquariums are about people as much as they are about animals. He knew that people visit zoos not just to see animals, but to spend time together. Jeff saw endless potential-both to touch the lives of people and to save the lives of animals. To capture this idea he coined the phrase, "touch the heart to teach the mind." Simply getting people into the Zoo wasn't enough; he wanted to inspire and engage them, to get them invested in each other, animals, and conservation. Jeff knew that without inspiring people, without touching their hearts, you cannot teach their minds nor hope to make the world a better place.

This scholarship is offered in memory of Jeff and promotes his philosophy "touch the heart to teach the mind."

Scholarship Application

Click here for the 2016 application. Applications are due July 15, 2016. Full submission information is included in the application. Only 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 complete registration, and pay the tuition in full. If you receive the award, your full tuition payment will be refunded.  

Detailed Award Coverage

  • Course registration (full)
  • Round-trip airfare from the award recipient’s point of origin to the destination city (up to $550)
  • Round-trip airport shuttle ground transportation (full)
  • Hotel/lodging throughout the duration of the course (based on double occupancy rate)
  • A stipend to cover meals and incidentals.

Any questions, contact the Professional Development Program Manager at scholarships@aza.org or call 301-562-0777 ext 251


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