Scholarship America & Ancestry: Partnering to Help Students Make History - Scholarship America

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Scholarship America & Ancestry: Partnering to Help Students Make History

By Matt Konrad

For Ancestry, the world’s largest family history company, sponsoring a scholarship means much more than just helping students afford college—it means investing in future leaders, building equity in the STEM workforce and ensuring the next generation can write their own history.

Ancestry's Ashlee Davis

Scholarship America is proud to work with Ancestry as the administrators of the HistoryMakers Scholarship, using our decades of expertise to help them meet their scholarship goals. To learn more about Ancestry’s HistoryMakers initiative and how their scholarship fits in, we spoke with Ashlee Davis, Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Ancestry.

Ashlee brings 15 years of diversity and civil rights experience to lead Ancestry’s global end-to-end Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) strategy, and her professional experience spans the industries of private, nonprofit, and the Executive branch of the federal government, where she held roles in agriculture, finance, banking, and social services. She is a native of Nashville, TN, a proud graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Howard University School of Law, an avid sports fan, and someone with wanderlust who is always planning her next adventure with her life partner.

Scholarship America: How does your work at Ancestry connect with the HistoryMakers scholarship program?

Ashlee Davis: As the Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Ancestry, I lead policies and programs to foster an inclusive and equitable work environment where there are diverse voices and backgrounds at the table. This includes partnering with community organizations as well as colleges and universities to empower future business leaders to reach their full potential.

SA: How does the scholarship program fit with the broader HistoryMakers tour initiative?

AD: Ancestry is committed to investing in the next generation of history makers and providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed. In 2023 we embarked on our second annual HistoryMakers College Tour with Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Tribal Colleges & Universities (TCUs).

Over the course of two weeks, Ancestry employees visited the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Florida International University, Bowie State University, and Tennessee State University for on-campus interviews, resume review workshops, interactive product demonstrations, and an Ancestry Internship 101 session.

As part of the tour, we announced and granted a total of eight $2,500 HistoryMakers scholarships across the four schools we visited. These scholarships are awarded to applicants who share how they plan to make history and the impact they hope to have on their local community.

SA: Why does Ancestry feel it’s so important to invest in scholarships?

AD: For more than 40 years, Ancestry® has enabled family history discoveries through digitized historical records and AncestryDNA®. We aim to help everyone discover, craft, and connect around their family story.

Ancestry is committed to empowering the next generation of history makers and we believe that scholarships are an important lever for equitable outcomes. For centuries, inspiring figures throughout history have graduated and gone on to accomplish amazing things, whether that be in their STEM career, volunteering in the community or in the military and we feel honored to have an opportunity to support these innovators.

This is why we’re proud to sponsor the HistoryMakers Scholarship Fund. These are the STEM leaders of tomorrow, and we will keep doing our part to help enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

SA: How did you choose to partner with the colleges you’re working with?

AD: The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Florida International University, Bowie State University, and Tennessee State University are all highly respected academic institutions that share Ancestry’s commitment to empowering the next generation of history makers.

We were inspired by each of the students, faculty, administrators and alumni we met during our HistoryMakers National Tour visit, all of whom had a bold curiosity for STEM and a commitment to serving their communities.

SA: How do you think the HistoryMakers initiative is impacting Ancestry’s future workforce?

AD: At Ancestry, we are committed to fostering a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. We believe that success requires hard work, curiosity, and an innovative mindset, and that a lack of these qualities should be the only inhibitors to success within our global company.

We’re eager to meet with and support underrepresented talent who are interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering, data and computer science, business, marketing, product, UX, legal, finance, product analytics, and human resources.

For students to succeed, we believe they need support outside of the classroom as well to meet their basic needs and build the confidence they need to reach for their BIG goals.

SA: Are you in touch with past scholarship recipients? What have they gone on to do that’s stood out?

AD: One story I like to share is that of Alexander Delgado, a computer science scholar and community leader at Florida International University. He applied for the HistoryMakers Scholarship while Ancestry was visiting his school as part of our HistoryMakers Campus Tour.

He shared, “The Ancestry HistoryMakers Scholarship allowed me to afford books while paying rent and buying food in such an expensive city.” Beyond financial assistance, Alexander credits this experience with giving him the confidence to pursue his dreams. “In my one big life, I want to make history by combining technology with creative ideas. Receiving the HistoryMakers Scholarship has inspired me.”

SA: What advice would you give to future applicants?

AD: We want to hear from you and know how YOU plan to make history. Whether it’s through community service, extracurriculars, academic studies, we want to know the causes and topics that energize you to make an impact.

If you’re a student interested in learning more about the Ancestry HistoryMakers Scholarship, visit their website; applications will be opening again for students at select schools in Fall 2024.

If you or your company want to work with Scholarship America to support the history makers of the future, fill out the form below and someone will be in touch to discuss your goals and how we can help.