NIF History and Selection Process
The NIF scholarship program was the brainchild of RADM (Ret.) Sumner Shapiro (DNI, 1978-1982), who believed strongly in providing some sort of financial assistance to college-bound children of active duty officer and enlisted intelligence professionals. The program initially consisted of one scholarship of $500. In the ensuing years, as the NIF grew in size, additional scholarships were added and the stipend was gradually increased to the 2008 award level of $1,500 per scholarship. Eligibility was also expanded to reflect the realities of the “total force” concept to include children of sponsors in the Naval Intelligence Reserve Program and in 2006, to enlisted personnel pursuing higher education.
As of 2010, there are four scholarships. Two of them are funded by NIF and are named, respectively, after VADM Donald E. Engen (a renowned Naval Aviator, Director of the National Air and Space Museum until his death in 1999, and a great friend of the Navy Intelligence community) and CAPT Anthony D. Sesow, a retired Navy Intelligence Officer. The Sesow scholarship is reserved for enlisted personnel. The other two scholarships are endowed by the families of deceased intelligence professionals: CAPT Richard Ward Bates, who served on active duty from 1948 to 1979, with most of it in Naval Intelligence; and CDR Dan F. Shanower, who was killed during the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.
The NIF Scholarship cycle starts with issuance of program eligibility requirements and submission procedures, disseminated via NIPMail and the NIP Quarterly, typically at least six months in advance of the 15 April deadline each year. Submissions are reviewed by a panel of NIP members, who use a scoring sheet to grade each candidate on the announced criteria of academic and athletic achievement, extracurricular activities and community service (enlisted candidates are evaluated on service performance as well).
Following the panel’s selection of the winners, ADM William Studeman (NIF Chairman) sends a congratulatory letter to each winner. Scholarship Chairman CAPT Dave McMunn then mails the checks and sends a press release to each media outlet designated by the respective scholarship recipients. Letters are also sent to those who were not selected to thank them for their interest and to encourage submission in subsequent years. Finally, an article summarizing the scholarship results is provided to the NIP Quarterly editor and NIPMail.