On February 28, The Alexia Foundation announced RIT photojournalism student Sarah Ann Jump has received an Alexia Award of Excellence for her project “New Roots: Refugees Resettling in America.” The project is a photographic documentation of the first year of resettlement for a refugee family settling in Rochester, New York. It was also announced that Sarah Ann is one of two recipients of the Gilka Grant, honoring legendary photographer and picture editor Robert E. Gilka, which will allow her to attend the NPPA’s Kalish Workshop. Read more about all of the winners here.

The announcement was the culmination of a month of activities focused around The Alexia Foundation Student Grant. On Jan. 27, four talented RIT photojournalism students completed applications for the 2014 judging. In addition to Sarah Ann, Zack de Clerck, Joe Philipson and Kelly Jo Smart spent part of January refining their story ideas, writing a proposal, and finalizing an edit of images submitted as part of the process to compete for scholarships and story production grants from the foundation.

On Feb. 22, seven students and three faculty members from RIT attended the The Alexia Foundation Student Grant judging at Syracuse University. The ability to attend the judging was an amazing opportunity for our students. They were able to see the quality of work submitted by their peers and hear thoughtful critique and analysis of that work by some of the most accomplished professionals in the industry.

Finally, on Feb. 24, we hosted a working lunch session for all RIT photojournalism students. The session focused on the work that Zack, Sarah Ann, Joe, and Kelly Jo submitted. We discussed each proposal, looked at their pictures, and heard their feedback on the application and judging process. It was inspiring to see their work and hear their thoughts.

Congratulations to Sarah Ann and all of the student applicants from RIT!


On December 21,1988, Pan Am flight 103 was brought down in a terrorist bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. 270 people were killed, including Alexia Tsairis, 20, a Newhouse School of Public Communications student at Syracuse University. In the wake of this tragedy, the Alexia Foundation was created to promote photojournalism’s ability to give voice to social injustice and celebrate cultural differences.

Through grants, scholarships and special projects, the foundation supports photographers as agents for change. Since 1991, The Alexia Foundation has awarded $700,000 to 110 photography students and 18 professional photojournalists producing 128 funded projects. In return, the Foundation and its photographers have been recognized in a variety of ways, including: World Press awards, Pictures of the Year International awards, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, the Ville de Perpignan Rémi Ochlik Award from the Visa Pour l’Image International Festival of Photojournalism, a Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting, a Pulitzer Prize, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Domestic Photography.