AMPLIFY Digital Storytellers Scholarship

Funded by
Steph Smith
Learn more about the Donor
2 winners, $675 each
Application Deadline
Apr 1, 2021
Winners Announced
May 3, 2021
Education Level

As of 2019, more than half of the world was online. By 2030, it’s estimated that 90% will be. 

We live in the age of infinite leverage. What does that mean? Today, your efforts can be proliferated through several levers: code, audio, capital, etc. Any one of these is a force multiplier in your ability to impact people.

One of the most time-tested levers is the written word. A compelling message can be disseminated to millions of people.

But the dynamics of writing online have changed dramatically in recent years. In what was previously an environment of information scarcity, we now live in an era of information abundance

Instead of spending our days farming in the field, we spend them as information workers. And the barrier to participate in that online exchange—whether it be creating a video, a tweet, or a blog post—has decreased exponentially. And that’s exactly why the amount of content online has skyrocketed. Information has become a commodity. 

Information is the new “oil” that you can create, refine, and trade… bringing us full swing into the attention economy.

We’re in an era of information overload, meaning it’s harder than ever to find quality information among the sea of soundbites plaguing the web. The ratio of great content online has decreased. The end-user is exposed to more good content, but simultaneously, a lot more bad content. The web’s name has become very fitting—a catch-all tool to capture everything.

I believe that we need to preserve the value of excellent information, by rewarding excellent content creators. In a world where we often seek to be right, instead of seeking to understand, the world’s storytellers are the unsung heroes helping us to see shades of grey.

The AMPLIFY Digital Storytellers Scholarship exists to support digital creators looking to start or grow their own digital footprint, by writing online. The winner(s) of this scholarship will receive the monetary reward, but also receive a free copy of Doing Content Right and quarterly mentorship from Steph Smith

This scholarship is part of a 12-part Amplify Scholarship Series, spanning topics including women in tech, continuous learning, environmental science, and more. These scholarships are announced quarterly and awarded monthly throughout 2021. Follow along here!

Selection Criteria:
Essay Topic

What do you hope to write about and why? How do you hope to differentiate your writing from the sea of information already online? Feel free to showcase any of your existing work!

0–500 words

Winning Applications

Trisney Bocala
Southern Adventist UniversityColumbia, MD
Various forms of media are increasingly competing for our short attention spans and I recognize that fewer and fewer people are willing to commit to reading extensive blocks of text. I am a writer, but I see this as a challenge, not a threat. I live for stories and believe that each person has a unique one to tell. So, I am excited to see thousands of people becoming their own content creators. However, I understand how quickly a person can drown in the sea of information overload and, because of this, I intentionally strive to write only what is worth my readers’ time. In fact, each sentence is guided by a single question. Hibernating in my home due to COVID-19 last summer, I discovered an old list in the Notes app on my phone titled, “Writing Prompts.” I opened a Word document and began to spell out my thoughts on these random topics. Liking what I saw, I spontaneously decided to launch a personal blog. As a multi-passionate girl intimidated by the idea of selecting a niche, the first 12 posts on “Trisney’s Tangents” covered a miscellaneous collection of topics like having an accountability partner or learning to accept compliments. But eventually, I began to notice I was tying everything together in terms of my personal journey to overcome anxiety and depression. While I recommend counseling and professional help, I have also found a form of self-therapy and been able to improve my own mental health through fitness, food, art, writing, and relationships. Out of this discovery arose my purpose-seeking question: “Does my writing bring healing?” Now, I write with clarity, seeking to share the scar in my story that motivates my mission. Finally, I am well aware that influencing is a very saturated market and it takes a lot to stand out and succeed. But again, this is a challenge, not a threat, and I know that if the content I create is truly valuable, inspiring, and worthwhile, my audience will find me. If I can grow my blog now, as a side hustle, I choose to believe that further down the road I might be able to work full-time, writing and creating from my own corner of the world. And if my dream ends up looking different than I imagined, I will be at peace knowing I seized every opportunity to learn the skills that might have been helpful in this pursuit. Read a sample blog post here:
Makayla Machacek
Tarrant County College DistrictFort Worth, TX


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 1, 2021. Winners will be announced on May 3, 2021.

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