Al D. Scholarships


Association of Professional Piercer’s

Al D. Scholarship Application

Al D. Sowers

The Al D. Scholarship program will begin accepting applications for the 2020 Conference & Expo later this year.


Before he passed away in February of 2001, Al D. Sowers devoted much of his piercing career to the education of piercers.  It is only fitting that this scholarship be named for him.

This is funding for approximately 8 piercers in need of financial assistance to attend the APP Conference. Accommodations and conference registration are included in the Scholarship. Winners are required to share a room with other recipients and work more than 30 hours during the Conference. In addition, they must provide their own transportation to and from the conference.

Applications will be open from November 6-February 6 for the 2020 Conference & Exposition. Find link below in instructions.

Eligibility for Application:

1. Must be 21 or older by the time Conference happens.

2. Must have never attended Conference; have only attended one Conference (cannot be previous year as an Attendee); or it has been 5 years or more since attending the Conference.

3. Must be working as a piercer in a studio; have at least 6 months piercing experience by the time Conference starts.  Apprentices can be still under the guidance of their mentor but must have actual piercing experience for 6 months by Conference.  Apprentices who will not have ample piercing experience by Conference are not eligible.   If an applicant loses his/her position during the application process they must regain employment within a reasonable amount of time or they will be disqualified.  


4. Applicants/Applications will be judged on the following:

  • Financial Need - this scholarship is for piercers who cannot attend without this assistance. If you are able to attend without financial help, please do not apply for financial assistance through this program.

  • Participation in the industry outside of their own studio

  • Demonstrated interest in bettering their piercing skills/circumstances

  • Excitement/enthusiasm for the opportunity

  • Spirit of volunteering/giving back

  • Demonstrated work ethic

  • Humility/openness to learn

 Jezebel Voule & Loreia B?rgen - Past Al D. Scholars

5. Recipients must be available in Las Vegas from 11am on the Saturday prior to Conference (time may be adjusted to later requirement) and attend Mandatory Volunteer Training & Meeting on Saturday & Sunday.   Recipients must be at Conference until approximately 10pm on the last day of Conference.  Scholars will be provided training in advance of Conference via email/internet and onsite.  Scholars will potentially be working at any time during the week of Conference.  They will be provided a schedule in advance of Conference of their classes and work responsibilities.  Scholars will be given an opportunity to block out time should they have specific plans while at Conference, but this is limited and must be arranged in advance. Scholar applicants should NOT book their flights until the Administration has confirmed when they need to arrive/depart.

6. Applicants must provide the information requested on the Application for the Scholarship.  All information must be as complete as possible. Applications can be rejected for incomplete and/or untruthful information.  Applicants must participate in the entire application process. Recipients of this scholarship are expected to work long hours, represent the APP in a professional manner for the duration of the Conference, and make of the most of the opportunity being afforded them.

If the APP becomes aware of an applicant behaving in an unprofessional manner in any public forum (Facebook, tattoo convention, etc.), after having submitted their application to the scholarship program; the APP reserves the right to discontinue processing of said application.  Once connected to the program, the APP expects the applicant to be aware their actions reflect on the Association and the Event.

7. International Applicants: You must provide confirmation that you have a VISA or other necessary traveling documents along with your application. If you will have a problem doing this please contact the APP office to discuss your options.  ALL references supplied MUST have an email address provided. While English does not have to be your first language, you should be able to read, speak, and understand English as our Conference and classes are run in English.

8. Recipients are required to write about their experiences for possible publication in the post-Conference Point or other APP use.


Zane Nichols & Andru Rogge - Past Al D. ScholarsWhat Scholars receive:

  • Shared Hotel from (Fri/Sat TBD) before Conference to Sat (check out Sat 11am) after Conference. Scholars will have their own bed in a room with one other Scholar or Volunteer.
  • Conference Pass which allows you to take classes, and enter into the Expo free of charge.
  • Closing Party Ticket - Scholars may be  required to work at the event (non-food service).
  • While every effort will be made to allow Scholarship recipients to attend at least their top 10 classes – scholars will be working in many of the classes they attend.

If you have questions or concerns about the specifics of the workload, class attendance, and benefits of the scholarship experience; please do not hesitate to contact Caitlin in the APP Office.



1. Fill out Initial Application Form Online (Opens November 6). Link to application.

  • Select your two references before filling out the form.  They need to be other professionals in the piercing industry (Shop owners, piercers, mentors, co-workers.)  These should come from people outside of your studio. Your references should answer the three following questions:
    How do you know the candidate? What is your relationship to them?
    Why does this candidate require/deserve financial assistance?
    What about this candidate separates them out from every other piercer?

  1. You can, but are not required to, submit a letter of support from another person who can be anyone (family, friend, coworker.)  If you want to do this, have the person selected and their contact info available.


2. Applicants are asked to present a 5-10 min video.   These videos are their chance to show their personality and let us get to know them a bit better.  Applicants are encouraged to be “themselves” as much as possible.  





VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS: We encourage applicants to prepare this carefully and send in something creative, yet polished for review by the committee.  We prefer if you don't just sit in front of the computer and talk to the camera - we want to get to know you and your personality.

If you need any assistance with this process, feel free to reach a committee member.

  1. The entire video should be 5-8 min.  An absolute maximum of 10 min.
  2. Each year candidates are turned down and have to stay at home, tell us why you believe you are deserving of a scholarship spot. This should also address your financial need. Why can't you financially make it to Conference without the Scholarship?
  3. You must also answer the items below and include them in your video:
    Tell us what you find most challenging about learning and expanding your skills as a body piercer.
    Tell us about yourself as a person - separate from your body piercing career.
    Tell us where you are at now vs. a few years ago, and where you hope to be in the near future.

We suggest choosing one of the following options for handling your videos:

After viewing it we should have a sense of who you are,  what kind of financial need you have, why you might deserve the scholarship, and be interested enough to want to interview you.

Jane Absinth & Angie DogspotExtra Option: Applicants are allowed to send in a one page essay in addition to their video if they feel like it would be helpful for the Committee in their evaluation of the applicant.  


The first cut will take place by March 6, 2020. 
Applicants who are cut will receive an email notification. Cut applicants are encouraged to apply for other piercer-sponsored scholarships.


Interviews will be held March 8-21. You will interview with 2-3 members on the committee.  Final Decisions will be made as early as possible no later than March 31.  

Notification of Scholarships will be done by March 31, 2020.


Please note:  Due to the number of applications and the small window to review them – email is the preferred method of communication.  As an applicant, you should check your email frequently.