The Nancy Engebretson Memorial Scholarship Fund

The Nancy Engebretson Memorial Scholarship Fund

The Nancy Engebretson Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established in memory of veteran newspaper photographer and Phoenix native Nancy Engebretson. The award is given to a student in at least his or her third semester of coursework in photojournalism who is preparing for a career in newspapers and who shares the adventurous spirit and humanistic values embodied in Nancy Engebretson’s 24 year professional career. She passed away in August 1999 at the age of 45 after a battle with cancer.

Nancy was known for her ready smile and caring heart. She was a wonderful individual who had empathy for her fellow human beings. To Nancy, photography was an avocation and not simply a job. She had a passion and talent for spot news photography and particularly loved documenting the activities of the Valley’s firefighting and emergency crews. At one time, she drove a Camaro that sported police/fire radio antennae and the personalized license plate SCOOP. She was a licensed pilot who loved aviation and was known to have flown small planes while taking pictures on assignment.

Nancy was a people’s photojournalist. She worked tirelessly to give back to the community she photographed, particularly to those in need whose circumstances she so eloquently chronicled in her pictures. Whether professionally, such as volunteering to make photo prints for the Phoenix Historical Society and shooting promotional pictures for animal rescue, or personally by cutting and donating her long blond hair for cancer patients, Nancy always looked for ways to help.

Impact

As one of her closest friends said of Nancy:
“She was a friend to everyone she met … and she met nearly everyone within a few feet of her at any given moment. She was unselfish and generous. She was street-wise, yet trusting. She tirelessly championed underdogs of both the human and animal variety. In spite of a profession that calls for skepticism, she still looked at the world with the wonder of a child. After 21 years in the newspaper business, she still believed a newspaper’s function was to serve its community.”