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Stryker Buoncristiano Scholarship

Stryker Buoncristiano Scholarship

The American Marketing Association Foundation (AMAF) is pleased to offer a brand new scholarship opportunity this year, open to all marketing undergraduate students! AMAF acquired the Dr. Charles Stryker Scholarship Fund and Mike Buoncristiano Memorial Scholarship Fund from Marketing Edge, a former non-profit organization focused on preparing next generation talent for thriving careers in marketing.

AMAF is thrilled to further the legacy of Dr. Stryker and Mr. Buoncristiano by continuing to offer the newly established “Stryker Buoncristiano Scholarship Fund.” This scholarship aims to support talented undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds and with broad skill sets who have a common desire to pursue a career in marketing.

Am I eligible?

You are eligible if you match the following criteria:

  1. You must be a full-time undergraduate student who plans to return to full-time status in the upcoming Fall 2024 semester (Spring/Summer semester 2024 graduates are not eligible).
  2. You must maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and must have completed at least one full semester of school.
  3. You have a passion for marketing!

AMA collegiate membership is not required to qualify for this scholarship.

What do I need to apply?

Here are the materials you need for your application:

  • Your scholarship story (shared as a personal statement or video submission)
  • Your current academic transcript
  • Your current resume
  • Letter of recommendation from a faculty member at your University (Optional)

When is it due?

This application is closed. The submission deadline was January 8, 2024.

Please email with any questions.

How are winners selected?

The Stryker Buoncristiano Scholarship committee, made up of select AMA collegiate council members and chapter advisors, reviews the pool of completed applications to determine the scholarship award winners. Winners will be announced at the International Collegiate Conference Awards Banquet. Once approved, scholarship funds are sent to the winner’s university to be applied to tuition expenses.


The Dr. Charles Stryker Scholarship Fund, Mike Buoncristiano Memorial Scholarship Fund and Jake Weisbarth Scholarship Fund were all established by Marketing Edge and acquired by the AMA in 2022. AMA combined these three funds to develop a new fund named “Stryker Buoncristiano Scholarship Fund.” The purpose of this scholarship is to support talented undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds and with broad skill sets who have a common desire to pursue a career in marketing. The AMA is pleased to continue to honor Dr. Charles Stryker and Mike Buoncristiano. Learn more about them and their incredible work below.

Dr. Charles Stryker

Dr. Charles Stryker — “Charlie” — was a prominent entrepreneur in the data industry who died unexpectedly following an accident. His late career, through the company he founded, helped give rise to ad tech and mar tech startups and companies that help brands and organizations capitalize on “Big Data” and data-driven customer engagement across online and offline channels.

Dr. Stryker received a B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in computer science in 1975 from New York University. Yet his dedication to advancing marketing practice, and professional development in our field, was lifelong.

He worked at AT&T within its Bell Labs unit, developing application of technology to address large-scale business marketing problems. His interest in complex statistics models led him to form Trinet in the mid70s, a Parsippany-based consulting firm providing data-driven analytics to large corporations.

Dr. Stryker was a president of InfoGroup, was on the faculty of the Wharton School, and served on many boards of both public and private information companies. In 2014, he was recognized as the Data Innovator of the Year by the direct marketing field and presented at a TED conference where he described the future of “Big Data.”

In 1996, Dr. Stryker founded Venture Development Center, LLC, where he served as chairman and chief executive officer. VDC is a preeminent advisory firm for the information services industry and the leading provider of data strategy, data monetization and custom data sourcing initiatives, supporting many of the major information services providers and representing over 120 other lesser known but highly valuable sources of unique and transformative data.

Michael Buoncristiano

Michael Buoncristiano was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was a New Jersey resident for most of his life and spent the last 14 years of his life living in Hoboken, NJ with a view of the New York City skyline — the city he considered the greatest in the world. He was a Rutgers University Alumni with a degree in Economics and Business Administration and a U.S. Army veteran that specialized in foreign languages and spent several years overseas, including Germany and Hungary.

Michael was an industry leader in the field of Database Marketing in which he spent over 35 years. Buoncristiano spent much of his career at database services firm Wiland Services Inc. in Boulder, CO, Virginia, and New York as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. He served on the board of directors of Wiland Services and catalog firm Concepts Direct in Boulder where he lived for 5 years in the early 1990s. Industry peers considered him “one of the pioneers of database marketing on the services side of the business.” He was surely one of the most innovative direct marketers serving clients in the Financial Services, Retail/Consumer Goods, Publishing and Fundraising arenas. His experience included the management of analytical services and the development and use of multivariate scoring systems to enable marketers to maximize sales and profits, spending over a quarter of a century perfecting database marketing from a technical standpoint. Mike joined Wiland as its first sales representative and went on to lead all marketing functions including strategic planning, product development, sales, advertising, client services and analytical systems. He opened Wiland offices all over the country. He and his nationwide sales staff built a huge clientele for Wiland. Later in his career, he launched his own business, Avanti! Direct Marketing, a database and information service company.

Very active in the Direct Marketing Industry, he was a member and officer of several industry trade groups including past President of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Buoncristiano received the club’s Silver Apple Award in 1995 – which he considered a great honor. Educating others in the industry was a high priority for him. He was a frequent keynote speaker, published often, mentor to many and an active Board Member of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation and active in their Collegiate Institute. He recollected entering the Direct Marketing industry accidentally but emphasized that given the opportunity, he would choose the same path. He remarked in accepting his Silver Apple Award that “we are in the people business and must focus our efforts on humanizing our everyday work-world with a ‘golden rule’ approach”.

Michael’s family includes four daughters, one of which is an executive in database marketing, five grandsons and two granddaughters. His other passions included baseball, travel, cooking and his family and friends.

The AMA collegiate scholarships were established by the American Marketing Association Foundation to recognize student leaders who are using their marketing skills for the greater good. The scholarships were first awarded in Fall 2016. As the philanthropic arm of the AMA, the AMA Foundation champions individual marketers who are making an impact in our profession and communities. We recognize marketing visionaries who have elevated the field, and we support the next generation of marketers who will transform the profession.