Ackerman-Nicholson Fund

The Ackerman-Nicholson Fund assists Earlham College graduates who desire and merit advanced study in journalism or public affairs.

This award was established by a bequest from Carl W. Ackerman, class of 1911. Carl Ackerman, a charter member of the Earlham Press Club, served as a war correspondent during World War I and was dean of Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Ralph W. Nicholson class of 1920, also a member of the Earlham Press Club, served as Alumni Trustee 1948-1951, and was owner and publisher of the New Orleans Item.

The Ackerman-Nicholson Fund Committee administers this award, available only to Earlham graduates.

Who May Apply

Seniors and graduates of Earlham College who desire and merit advanced study in journalism or public affairs. Public affairs, for the purpose of the Ackerman-Nicholson award, is defined as work in the public sphere to develop and influence public policy, including government relations, information and communications, public administration, and issue management. Degrees that might be sought include public policy, public administration, public health, international relations, political science, economics, urban planning, or law. Subfields of study may include non-profit management, public finance and budgeting, city management and urban policy, information and technology management, and policy management.

Eligibility Limitations

Seriousness of purpose, qualifications, academic record and recommendations. Any Earlham College senior or graduate of the last seven years is eligible.

Award Description and Duration

The award typically ranges from $5,000 to $15,000. Funds are to be used within two years for graduate study tuition, fees and books.

Application Requirements and Deadline

Applicants should submit:

  • cover letter detailing your graduate school plans, including programs you are considering, financial resources and your professional goals. (1-2 pages.)
  • writing sample related to your planned area of graduate study. (3 news articles or a 5– to 10-page paper.)
  • resume or curriculum vita.
  • Your undergraduate transcript. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable. These can be accessed through TheHeart.
  • A list of three references who can speak to your character and scholarship. If your reference is a current Earlham faculty or staff member, we only need their name and contact information. Anyone not currently employed at Earlham should submit a letter of recommendation to or the following address:
    Center for Global and Career Education
    ATTN: Ackerman-Nicholson
    Earlham College
    801 National Road West
    Richmond, IN 47374

Please prepare and submit all of this information in the following way:

  1. Log in to Handshake and search for Ackerman Nicholson (application opens in November).
  2. In Handshake, click “Apply” to get started. Submit all documents via Handshake (except for any letters of recommendation). Please make sure to include a list of your references in your application. Applications that do not include all the requested components may not be considered.

If you do not have an account in Handshake, please contact the CGCE at

Applications for the Ackerman-Nicholson Fund open in Handshake in early November and the deadline is Sunday February 4, 2024. 



Awardees will be notified in April, shortly before Earlham’s annual Awards Convocation.

On-Campus Contact

Lea Staedtler, Associate Director of Career Education and Student Employment


  • 2022 Olivia Daigle ’19, Edita Danielyan ’20, Victoria Maras ’20, and Maleeeka Shrestha ’19
  • 2021 Yazid Barhoush ’21, Srija Banerjee ’20, Dennis Vera ’19, Ruthvin Gardiner ’21, Olivia Tienin ’21, Hashem Abushama ’17
  • 2020 Xhilda Prifti ’19, Cianna Morales ’18, Hanh Le ’20, Grace Mulamba ’20, Megan Bennett ’20
  • 2019 Esther Abodunrin ’17, Nhi Dinh ’16, Elsa Haag ’14
  • 2018 Elsa Haag ’14, Grace Makhoul ’18, Johnnie Fitzpatrick ’16, Sunghee Tark ’16, Tyrian Robertson ’17
  • 2017 Eli Richman ’14, Gerylaine Campos ’16, David Schutt ’14, Soe Yu Naing ’16
  • 2016 Chanese Hamilton ’16, Qianyi Luo ’15
  • 2015 Jihan Abdalla ’08, Gerald Sowah ’14, Rosalyn Endlich ’12, Bunyodjon Tusmatov ’13
  • 2014 Yasas Wickramasinghe, Silviano Valdez ’14, Nicole Vargas ’13
  • 2013 Charlotte-Anne Malischewski ’11, Shanoz Aqnazarbekova ’12, Liyuan Wang
  • 2012 Pablo Hernandez-Romero ’12, Amanda Penrod ’09, Nyantara Wickramasekera ’11, Anna McCormally ’12
  • 2011 Maria Alex Vaikath ’11, Chelsea Smith ’11, Jesus Jimenez ’11
  • 2010 Nadira Khudayberdieva ’10
  • 2008 Christopher Richmond ’08
  • 2007 Katie Carter ’07 – English and Politics
  • 2005 Brian Bennett ’05 – English
  • 2003 Ranjit Jose ’03 – Sociology/Anthropology
  • 2002 Sarah Hampton ’02 – Photography
  • 2002 Liv Leader ’02 – Peace and Global Studies
  • 2002 Shuruq Harb ’02 – Philosophy