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    Posted June 27, 2008

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Actors' Equity Members Win Union Plus Scholarships

Actors' Equity Association member Cornelius Jones Jr., and Hannah Sherman, daughter of two Equity Members, have been awarded AFL-CIO Union Plus Scholarships. Cornelius and Hannah are among 108 students representing 40 unions awarded a total of $150,000 in Scholarships. The awards are granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school or a recognized technical or trade school. Since 1992, Union Plus has awarded more than $2.4 million in scholarships to union families.

"We're delighted that our members have won these scholarships," said Equity President Mark Zimmerman. "Their essays show that they understand the importance of unions in America, and in particular, the ways that Actors' Equity has had a positive effect on the working conditions for our members."

Cornelius Jones Jr. was ecstatic when he received the official acceptance letter. "It also took a lot of financial pressure off of me as well. Funding my graduate education has not been cheap and every scholarship and grant helps tremendously. Out of thousands of applicants, Union Plus chose me, and that just proves that I am on that right path to bettering my future as an artist and educator. It also means a lot that I am representing AEA."

Cornelius Jones Jr.

Cornelius Jones Jr.

Cornelius Jones Jr. is a native of Richmond, VA. He graduated from The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC where he was actively involved with The Duke Ellington Show Choir, Concert Choir, and the Teen Musical Theater Company.

He then went to pursue higher education in theater and music at Syracuse University and the University of The Arts in Philadelphia, PA.

In 1999, Cornelius landed his first post college gig with The National tour of SMOKEY JOE'S CAFÉ, which he would later tour to Seoul, Korea alongside Broadway stars BJ Crosby and Ken Ard. After his yearlong stint with SMOKEY JOE'S CAFÉ he toured regionally with shows such as A CHORUS LINE, THE WIZ, and BIG RIVER.

In 2001, he landed his first Broadway show under the direction of Broadway's famed director/choreographer Susan Stroman and native New Orleans's jazz music icon Harry Connick, Jr. The show was called THOU SHALT NOT. Shortly before the closing of THOU SHALT NOT, Cornelius was offered a position on the First National tour of DISNEY'S THE LION KING.

After touring the country for 2 ˝ years, Cornelius was invited to join the Broadway Company of DISNEY'S THE LION KING. Cornelius can currently be seen on Broadway in THE LION KING where he has had the opportunity of performing the role of adult Simba at various performances while also stepping into other roles in the show.

"Equity...not only a union that supports my artistic career and well being as an individual, but a union that supports my educational career as well. A union you can honestly trust and count on!"

Hannah Sherman

Hannah's parents, Howard Sherman and Donna Bullock, are both union actors. This has created many misconceptions on the part of Hannah's friends, who assume the family must be rich. In fact, like many other actors, they are middle class, and very grateful for the fair pay and benefits their union membership guarantees them. Hannah enjoyed a taste of her parents' life by participating in stage productions throughout high school, but she sees herself on a different career path. She's looking forward to college and a major in environmental science.

All Equity members (as well as their spouses and dependent children) are eligible to apply for scholarships. The scholarships are offered through the Union Plus Education Foundation, with funding from HSBC, the issuer of the Union Plus Credit Card. Winners were selected by a panel of education experts affiliated with the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the United Negro College Fund.

For more information about Union Plus Scholarships, visit:

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