The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation announced the winners of its Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship Monday night at the Fred Forward Conference in Pittsburgh.
The scholarship program is dedicated to the legacy of Fred Rogers, whose influence on children’s media through his long-running “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” is unparalleled.
Christina Zagarino, Rachel Schechter and Xavier Raphael Vanegas each were recognized with $10,000 Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarships for their innovative ideas and dedication to the education and development of children through media. In addition to the monetary award, they will be assigned a mentor from the TV Academy’s Children’s Programming Group who will work with them during the academic year.
Fred Rogers’ wife, Joanne Rogers, TV Academy Foundation executive director Terri Clark and Ernst & Young partner Lynette Horrell presented the awards at a reception honoring the students.
“The recipients of the Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarships represent the future of children’s media,” Clark said in a statement. “The Television Academy Foundation is proud to honor these students, who will be torchbearers of the Fred Rogers legacy by improving the quality of educational programming for children.”
This is the sixth year the Television Academy Foundation has awarded Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarships to deserving college students. The monetary award is underwritten by Ernst & Young.
Zagarino is earning a master’s in child development at Tufts University and plans to use the scholarship to produce 3- to 5-minute interstitials to encourage viewers to participate in physical activity and address childhood obesity during media breaks.
Schechter, who is working toward a Ph.D. in child development at Tufts, plans to research the relationship between children’s use of media and learning.
Vanegas, who is at the University of Southern California earning a master’s in motion picture production, plans to develop “Fink Forest Friends,” an animated children’s program.
The Fred Forward Conference, put together by the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College, brings together national leaders in education, research, technology, policy and children’s media to explore how they can work together to use emerging technologies and new media in developmentally appropriate and educational ways. It was held March 22-23 in Pittsburgh.