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A Special Congrats to 2013 AKC Junior Scholarship Recipients

Every year for the past 14 years, the AKC has awarded scholarships to the future of our sport – junior handlers. Recipients have used the scholarship monies to further their success in their college educations.

In order to be chosen as a recipient, each junior must first apply by submitting their current school transcripts along with an essay that gives a brief description of their experiences and interests in the sport of purebred dogs. Most candidates include references to their time spent in the Junior Showmanship ring, assisting handlers, learning from breeders and learning from friends, family or mentors. They must also include what they wish to pursue in the fancy in the future.


This year, a total of 19 juniors received AKC Junior Scholarships, eight of whom were second-year repeats. How cool is that?

Let’s all take a moment to applaud these young handlers who wish to pursue their college education while they continue their involvement in the fancy!

First-Time Recipients

  • • Katherine Eldredge of New York
  • • Lauren Hay-Lavitt of California
  • • Allison Kirk of New Mexico
  • • Amanda Lofthus of Idaho
  • • Lauren Moore of Oklahoma
  • • Melinda Pope of Texas
  • • Cali Shattuck of Florida
  • • Kylie Soafer of Georgia
  • • William Swanson of New York
  • • Emma Thomason of California
  • • Kali Young of Michigan

Repeat Recipients from 2012

  • • Taylor Ault of Tennessee
  • • Sarah Broom of Washington for her third year
  • • Lauren Duckworth of Alabama
  • • Samantha Parsons of Ohio
  • • Haley Pemble of Washington
  • • Amanda Prince of California
  • • Bridget Ratcliffe of Maryland
  • • Victoria Self of Florida, also for her third year

I had the chance to catch up with a few of this year’s recipients. This is what they had to share with us:

Sarah Broom: “I’m very excited to have received an AKC Junior Showmanship scholarship. The money is very helpful due to the increase in the price of tuition. I am currently attending Washington State University in Vancouver, Wash., as a biology major, and will be starting my junior year in the fall. My goal is to attend Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and eventually work in a practice, or have my own practice, in western Washington.”

Lauren Lavitt: “I’m very fortunate to have received an AKC Junior Showmanship scholarship this year! I am currently in my junior year at California State University, Fullerton, so this scholarship will help a lot toward my success in college. As well as attending college, I also go to shows every weekend. The best of both worlds!

Allison Kirk: “Dog shows have really been my life for the past six years. I have had quite an amazing adventure in the fancy! So, I was unbelievably delighted to find out that I’d received an AKC Junior Showmanship scholarship because not only did I feel like it validated all my years of hard work, but I also love that my years in dogs are making some contribution to my education even as I have to take a bit of a break from the sport.”

Taylor Ault: “I was very honored to be awarded for another scholarship from the AKC. Although being awarded in the show ring is exciting and pays off from your hard work, it’s definitely awesome to feel that all your work from over the years is being rewarded for more than just that one time in the show ring. Every amount of money is beneficial toward my education, and this will especially help this coming year because I am moving into apartments on campus. Thank you very much to the AKC for this award and everyone who has helped get me here!”

Lauren Moore: “I will put the scholarship towards college tuition where I will be studying business and film. Winning the scholarship felt wonderful. It is an honor to be awarded the scholarship among such talented, intelligent and dedicated young handlers.”

Another big congrats to this year’s recipients. If you are currently attending or wish to attend college soon, don’t forget to go here for more info!

The future of our sport and Dogs Freakin’ Rule!

Written by

Kayla Bertagnolli is a 23-year-old from Ogden, UT, who's been involved in the dog show world her whole life. A former junior handler who learned about breeding Beagles from her mother Leah, she assisted several professional handlers and is currently working to become a Junior Showmanship judge. Kayla is passionate about photography and writes the twice-weekly blog, DFR. She plans to continue breeding and showing, and expects to stay involved in dogs "for life!"
  • Dana April 25, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    An FYI… the Rapid City Kennel Club will be offering $500 scholarships to the winners of the Open and Master classes as well as $500 to the Best Junior on October 19, 2013 during our shows. :-)

  • Susan Chaney
    Susan Chaney April 26, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    I just love reading about young people in the sport who are building their non-dog careers while continuing to hone their handling skills. It’s always inspiring to me.

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