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American Experience Foundation - Scholarships and Internships

American Experience Foundation Scholarships & Internships

By leveraging Destination DC’s reach, resources, and its members’ expertise, AEF provides students with unforgettable educational enrichment support, bringing their curricula to life and supporting career paths in hospitality through scholarships, internships, and classroom experiences.

Established in 2014, Academies of Hospitality and Tourism are located within Ballou HS, Bell Multicultural HS at Columbia Heights Educational Campus, Woodrow Wilson HS, and Maya Angelou Public Charter School. Students in grades 9-12 follow the NAF  program and emphasize strong college and industry partnerships, work-based learning experiences and rigorous curricula that culminate in industry-recognized certification at graduation.


Annually, AEF offers a $2,500 scholarship to each of Washington, DC’s four high school hospitality academies, as well as alumni currently enrolled in higher education to continue their studies. Awards are based upon demonstrated need of the applicant, solid academic background and interest in a career in hospitality. One of these recipients is recognized as the Gregory McCarthy Scholar for their exemplary leadership both in and out of the classroom. Gregory McCarthy is the Vice President of Community Engagement for the Washington Nationals and former Destination DC Board Chair.

Scholarship applications are open to current academy students. Scholarships are also available to past scholarship recipients seeking continued financial support for his or her education. Students are encouraged to reapply annually as scholarships are not automatically renewed.

Gregory McCarthy Leadership Scholarship Winners

  • 2021 Tenielle Parker (CHEC)

  • 2020: Makayla Cruz (CHEC)

  • 2019: Zoe Roberts (George Mason University; Wilson HS) 

  • 2018: Daren Dorsey (Ballou HS)

  • 2017: Johana Romero-Valdez (CHEC)

  • 2016: Deranique Graydon (Ballou HS)

  • 2015: Robsa Mideksa (Hospitality HS)

  • 2014: Amanda Burnham (Hospitality HS)

David Iselin Scholarship for Community Service

  • 2021: Jean-Pierre Roberts (Wilson High School)

  • 2019: Adame Temsen (University of Rochester;CHEC)

  • 2020: Adame Temsen (University of Rochester;CHEC)

AEF Scholarship Winners

  • 2021: Jazzmen Morant (Ballou HS) 

  • 2021: Anura Sharma (CHEC)

  • 2020: Jermaine Evans (Wilson HS)

  • 2019: Deranique Graydon (University of the District of Columbia; Ballou HS) 

  • 2019: Diamond Hunter (Temple University; Wilson HS) 

  • 2019: Andre Jones (Maya Angelou PCHS)

  • 2019: Jose Martinez (CHEC)

  • 2019: Amya McKoy (Ballou HS)

  • 2019: Britney Rivera- Martinez (Wilson HS)

  • 2019: Loriel Taylor (Maya Angelou PCHS)

  • 2018: Perpetua Nkem (CHEC)

  • 2018: Sharnae Niblet (Maya Angelou PCHS)

  • 2018: Lauren Bryana Brown (Wilson HS)

  • 2018: Diamond Hunter (Wilson HS)

  • 2017: Deranique Graydon (Ballou HS)

  • 2017: Andre Jones (Maya Angelou PCHS)

  • 2017: Zoe Michele Roberts (Wilson HS)

  • 2016: D'andre Jones (Ballou HS)

  • 2016: Natalie Webb (CHEC)

  • 2016: Solijala Jones Morris (Wilson HS)

  • 2015: Tyrell Keys (Hospitality HS)

AEF Alumni Scholarship Winners

  • 2021: Pepetua Nkem (Morgan State University)

  • 2021: Britney Rivera (Cornell University)

  • 2020: Deranique Graydon (University of the District of Columbia; Ballou HS)

  • 2019: Deranique Graydon (University of the District of Columbia; Ballou HS)

  • 2018: Deranique Graydon (University of the District of Columbia; Ballou HS)

AEF Honorariums

  • 2021: Cenaria Fells-Watson (CHEC)

  • 2021: Yeshetuwef Mulugeta (Wilson HS)

  • 2020: Lauren Brown, Howard University (Wilson HS)

  • 2020: Jose Martinez, Marymount University (CHEC)​

  • 2020: Amya McKoy, Bowie State (Ballou HS)

  • 2020: Zoe Roberts, George Mason University (Wilson HS)


AEF partners and Destination DC members provide valuable work experience and exposure to career paths and professionals by hosting interns free of charge through DCPS’ Career Ready Internship program. This initiative matches highly qualified DC students with exceptional summer employment opportunities.

In 2019, 75 students were placed for meaningful "career ready" summer internships.

To learn more about the program, including how you can host an intern, at


Destination DC members are also featured in Academy classes or host site visits to share their stories, experiences, career paths and skills with students. AEF is working with our Hospitality Academy partners to expand these programs for the 2021-2022 school year. 

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