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Last year, for the first time, I got to attend Netroots Nation. Arriving in lit-up Minneapolis late at night to a hotel lobby filled with folks catching up after a year or more apart, I was filled with anticipation -- and for the next four days I was never once let down. I loved every minute of NN11 -- from the panels, to the speeches, and of course the parties, which were filled with meaningful conversations. But my favorite part of Netroots Nation wasn’t meeting Van Jones, or being retweeted by Dan Choi -- it was walking into the DFA Scholarship lunch and meeting the 50 AMAZING activists and bloggers who I had previously only read about.

If you haven’t already heard about it, Democracy for America’s Netroots Nation Scholarship program sends 40 or 50 outstanding bloggers and activists to Netroots Nation every year. Why? Because there are so many incredible progressives who should be at the conference, but would not be able to attend without a scholarship.

The first round of the competition ended Wednesday. After reading all 163 applications, and hours upon hours of deliberation, we’ve selected the first round of scholars. It is always difficult to pick the scholarship recipients because so many applicants bring crucially important perspectives to the table, but I’m thrilled to announce the first fifteen NN12 scholars.

Some of them like Bob Sloan, whose work around exposing ALEC and protecting voting rights is critical to protecting our democracy, are already members of the Kos community. Others, like Susan Bruce, who has been a peace activist since 1986, manage their own blogs or are active on local progressive blogs. There are online activists like Hivster, who is editor of an online magazine giving a voice to anyone living with or affected by HIV. In addition to the bloggers and writers, we’ve selected grassroots activists, like William Anderson, who was actually on his way to a protest when I called him yesterday to let him know about the scholarship. You can find out more about all fifteen of these fantastic scholars here.

And if you, like me, want to meet them in person, apply for a scholarship!

Round two launches today and goes through April 15th. If you know someone who should win a scholarship nominate them -- or if they’re already in the running, be sure to show your support by voting for their application. The input of the Kos community -- and of the netroots more broadly -- will continue to play a big role in the selection process and ultimately contribute to the growth of the netroots community. Thanks for helping make the Netroots Nation Scholarship Competition a success.

Hope to see you in Providence!

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