Each year, the Writers’ Program awards up to 10 scholarships to aspiring creative writers and screenwriters. The process begins in spring, when we make the application available on our website and submissions start rolling in. By late June, we begin the fun but difficult task of narrowing down the applications. In addition to basic financial and personal information, the application requires the submission of two essay questions and two letters of recommendation. We love reading essays of students who have set goals, can clearly articulate them, and can demonstrate how the scholarship will help them get there.
All 10 of our 2014-15 recipients meet the criteria and then some. A diverse group, they are passionate, goal-oriented, and highly motivated. We are so excited for these talented emerging writers to embark on a new and productive phase in their creative journey. Here, they share what the scholarship means to them and their goals for the coming year.
“Receiving this scholarship means everything to me. Without it, I would not be able to take any of the courses, get exposure to such great teachers, perfect my writing skills, and work toward my long held dream of eventually earning an MFA.”
“Receiving this scholarship means a dream came to pass in my life: I am now part of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, and my life will never again be the same — I am on my way to becoming a better writer! My number one goal as I begin courses is to write from my heart — trusting that what I come up with is raw material at first, and remembering that it can always be shaped later into something worth reading, something beautiful.”
Ha Kiet Chau
“My mother, a survivor of the Vietnam war, has inspired me to write about my culture, women’s issues, and overcoming struggles in difficult times. This scholarship will give me the opportunity to unleash a new voice in my writing, to delve into unique ideas, and to inspire others.”
“I am so grateful to be a recipient of this scholarship. I was waiting in line at a coffee shop when I got the news and I immediately started to cry with joy. This opportunity will catapult me towards my dream career and I could not be more excited.”
“To me, this scholarship is validation that my writing is actually improving. Last fall I applied for this scholarship, but was not selected. Receiving it this year bolsters my determination to continue improving my craft and working on the stories I am compelled to share with the world. But what really brings tears to my eyes is that I am lucky enough to show my kids, by example, the joy of pursuing one’s dreams. I am working on my first memoir—the memoir that has been tugging at my soul for the past decade. The Writers’ Program classes give me tools and feedback I need to tell my story in a way I had only dreamed of before.”
Carrie Lynn Hawthorne
“Receiving this scholarship gives me access to the finest instructors in the field and a network of writers who can help me hone my craft and reach my writing goals. I plan to take the online screenwriting classes, and pursue my dream of becoming a screenwriter.”
“For me, the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program scholarship is like at the end of the film Goonies, when they discover the marble bag of precious jewels in Mikey’s pocket and realize they can save the Goon Docks. My primary goal in this program is to finally complete the screenplay that has been rattling around in my head for over seven years.”
Ivan J. Ngo
“Receiving this scholarship to me has been an affirmation that there is an interest in comedy that is not solely centered on white people. There are larger audiences and ranges of experience that are both meaningful and, most importantly for me, funny. The first class I am taking is Beginning Writing for the Half-Hour Spec Comedy: Building the Story and the Outline,so my first goal is to really understand that medium. It is something that I am strongly interested in and I hope to work in television in the future.”
“This scholarship is the opportunity I’ve been searching for! We need more young, diverse voices telling stories that deserve to be told, and the Writers’ Program is opening doors for writers like me. I’m grateful to receive this scholarship because it’s a huge leap forward in my career as a storyteller.”
“This scholarship offers the support to pursue my passion for writing in the classroom setting. My inspiring professors and inventive classmates drive me to deliver my best work. As I begin courses in the program, I am working to complete a creative writing certificate and to build my writing portfolio for my MA in English application. I will then journey onward to one day stand in the shoes of my writing professors, the ones who taught me the beauty of the written word.”
A huge congratulations to this year’s scholarship recipients! Information about the 2015-2016 Writers’ Program Scholarship will be available on our website in late March 2015.
Katy Flaherty is the Program Representative for Creative Writing (Onsite).