Every year, talented students from across the United States look to MJSA for help in realizing a shared dream: to have a successful career in designing and making jewelry. And thanks to the MJSA Education Foundation Scholarship Group, the association can provide the financial support they need.
The Scholarship Group consists of five permanent endowment funds managed by the Rhode Island Foundation on behalf of MJSA and the Foundation. Money generated by these funds provides support to U.S. students enrolled in jewelry design, jewelry making, or other jewelry-related degree programs at colleges, universities, and technical schools. Several awards of $500 to $3,000 are given every year. Since 1997, the Foundation has awarded over $210,000 to students interested in pursuing professional careers.
In addition to MJSA’s annual scholarships, students enrolled in jewelry design, jewelry making, or other jewelry-related degree programs at colleges, universities, and technical schools in the state of Rhode Island were eligible for a special grant, in the amount of $2,500, donated by the Providence Jewelers Club Foundation for the second year in a row.
Any student enrolled in a jewelry program, who intends to pursue a career in the jewelry industry and can demonstrate financial need, is eligible to apply. Applicants are assessed on the basis of course of study, academics, career plans, recommendations, and industry experience. Students must be U.S. citizens.
For application eligibility and content inquiries, contact:
Donor Services Administrator
1-401-427-4028 or E-mail
Entering the two-year degree program at the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology (TIJT) at Paris Junior College in Paris, Texas. Expected graduation: April 2020.
Over five years ago, when he was still in the eighth grade, Nicholas Bates began helping out at a jewelry store in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. When he wasn’t sweeping, vacuuming, and otherwise cleaning up the shop, Bates enjoyed watching the store’s owner, Chuck Koehler, repair pieces brought in by customers. That interest soon turned into a passion, as Koehler taught him first basic repair steps and then casting, CAD/CAM, filing and polishing, and equipment maintenance. After only a few years, Bates was handling all manufacturing for the store’s Touched Impression line of personalized imprint jewelry, which can feature fingerprints, footprints, paw prints, and other impressions. "Nic is a very hard worker and can perfect a skill quickly. Plus, he has a natural talent at the jeweler’s bench," says Koehler, who provided a recommendation for Bates’s scholarship application. Koehler also noted how "Nic works hard in and out of the shop, helping neighbors with home remodeling projects, baling hay, and landscaping projects." Bates will now take that passion and work ethic to study jewelry technology and gemology at TIJT. He envisions a future as a "successful bench jeweler and gemologist" and intends to run his own shop.
About the jewelry pictured: TriStack birthstone rings in sterling silver, by Nicholas Bates.
Pursuing a graduate jeweler diploma at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) campus in Carlsbad, California. Expected graduation: February 2019.
When he was growing up, Quinn Davis says, he loved epic adventure tales, devouring books within days. "I now realize why I did this," he wrote in his scholarship application. "The hero starts as an average individual ... [then] undergoes a transformation fueled by hard work and dedication." This story of potential and fulfillment has, he says, been a driving force in his life, and it has fueled his desire to "master the ancient art of metalwork and be a professional goldsmith." A recent graduate of New Vista High School in Boulder, Colorado, Davis has already exhibited promise, as witnessed by a recommendation from Jamie Mclandsborough, a nearby jeweler. Mclandsborough was a major influence on Davis’s career path: He led a work-study where Davis learned some of the intricacies of jewelry making, including how to repair, refurbish, and inventory tools. "Organizing and counting small tools and burs can be tedious work, but Mr. Davis was not distracted, nor did his work suffer as the tasks became harder and more complicated," Mclandsborough said. "His dedication to the task at hand will serve him well in his studies and eventually in his career."
About the jewelry pictured: Peridot wrapped in silver, by Quinn Davis.
$2,500 Providence Jewelers Club Foundation grant
Pursuing a graduate degree in jewelry and metals at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, Rhode Island. Expected graduation: May 2019.
Cathryn Jasterzbski seems to have a knack not just for making jewelry, but also for helping others. Just before she graduated from the metals program at State University of New York at New Paltz, she became the first employee at a local custom jeweler, Hudson Valley Goldsmith. There, in addition to sharing her expertise in metal fabrication and design, she helped to create a collaborative atmosphere as the staff grew. "She consistently utilized her skill set to improve and uplift our business," said store owner David Walton in a recommendation. "She is a team player, and always managed to foster positive discussions and bring the best out of our employees." Around that same time, Jasterzbski began teaching at crafts schools in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. As she put it in her application, "This confirmed my love for teaching metal and jewelry, and has led me to the MFA program .. at Rhode Island School of Design." After graduation from RISD, she plans to pursue teaching as a career. However, she isn’t going to give up on her own jewelry making, since even in that area she’s managing to help people. She recently launched a jewelry line, UTERO, designed to provide financial support to women without health insurance in developing countries.
About the jewelry pictured: Expanded Volume Pendant in copper, silver, and hemp, by Cathryn Jasterzbski.