June 15th, 2020

Special Agent Joe Russ Memorial Scholarship

The $2,500 Special Agent Joe Russ Memorial Scholarship will be given each year toward one (1) recipient’s post-high school education. The scholarship check will be written directly to the university or college by the FBI Cleveland Citizens Academy Alumni Association.


The inaugural recipient, named on October 17, 2014, was Olivia Bartolovic, a Solon High School Senior. Her application embodied the spirit of Joe Russ. Olivia aspires to be an FBI Special Agent.


Joe Russ joined the FBI in 1996 as an Information Technology Specialist. After 9/11, he applied to and was selected to become a Special Agent. His teammates always counted on Joe to volunteer his problem-solving skills when it came to a new challenge. He investigated Internet Crimes Against Children, was a Firearms Instructor, a SWAT Sniper, a long-time Evidence Response Team member, an exceptional leader, and a natural teacher. He was a kind spirit: a gentle soul who led through actions rather than words. When Joe died in October, 2013, he left the FBI a legacy of professional excellence, dignity, humility, and quiet heroism.

Joe Russ

Special Agent Joe Russ Memorial Scholarship Criteria

Each applicant must:
  • Plan to attend a two- or four-year college in 2020-2021 (Current high school seniors can also apply with proof of acceptance to a university for the fall semester). Preference is given to applicants with a Northern Ohio family connection and/or who are studying in Ohio
  • Have an interest in working in law enforcement: as an investigator, agent, detective, or in information technology
  • Obtain one (1) letter of recommendation from an adult non-family member. Do not submit more than one letter.
  • Write up to a 750-word essay expressing experiences you have had that lead you in the direction of working in law enforcement. Discuss your motivations and why you would be a worthy recipient of the Joe Russ Memorial Scholarship. Anecdotal examples of your own self-reliance, initiative, and teamwork skills encouraged.
  • Obtain college proof of enrollment for 2020-2021 (can be a copy of communication from the educational institution).
Applications to be reviewed by the family of Special Agent Joe Russ and the FBI Cleveland Citizens Academy Alumni Association, and scored based upon achievement in the following areas:
  • Strong representation of why you want to work in law enforcement
  • Ability to express yourself in writing
  • Exhibits self-reliance, initiative, teamwork skills, and a commitment to fitness


To apply, submit your information and follow the instructions on the 2020 SA Joe Russ Memorial Scholarship Form.


Contribute to the Special Agent Joe Russ Memorial Scholarship Fund: