The Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship in Writing was designed to foster the talent of diverse and promising writers who lack the financial resources to study their craft formally in a supportive environment. Funded by the late Phyllis Gebauer, a beloved Writers’ Program instructor of many years, the scholarship is awarded to six students annually who are given the opportunity to enroll in three full-length Writers’ Program courses.
We’re delighted to introduce you to our scholars for 2018-19, who have diverse goals but are united by a passion for creating and sharing the best writing possible. Here they share experiences with the Program and what receiving the scholarship means for their short and long term goals.

Christina Berke
Everyone I’ve been in contact with has been very helpful. All of the instructors are experts in their field and seem to be generous with their time. It’s motivating me to hit the ground running. I am so grateful for the generosity of this scholarship.
The Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship is a huge validation for me as a writer. To have someone investing in my education as writer is such an honor. It’s granting me access to a community of writers and mentors as well as building confidence in my voice. This is helping me focus on completing my writing projects and to ultimately get a manuscript published.

 

Jade Parks
This will be my first year in the Writer’s Program and I truly count it a blessing to be here. I am extremely grateful to have been awarded the Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship in Writing and will not take it for granted. I am a working single mother who is proud to be a part of such a stellar program.
I plan on improving my skills as a screenwriter and even a playwright. I can’t wait to learn from the best as I know this experience will be life-changing. Thank you for this amazing opportunity. It allows me to show my child and anyone else who may have counted themselves out that it’s never too late to follow your dreams! Write on!

Kayla Parker
I was aware that UCLA had a wonderful film undergraduate and graduate program, but I wasn’t aware of the UCLA Extension until I began doing research. Boy, am I glad I got on my laptop that day!
I’ve been writing creatively since I was young. But until now, I was a self-taught screenwriter. This scholarship will give me formal training from the best in the industry, something that usually would cost thousands of dollars. I am immensely thankful to have the opportunity to build my writing skills for free! I credit this program with giving me a head start in the industry of my dreams. I’m certain this program will take my writing to the next level and hopefully that level will help get my work produced. But for now, my goal is to soak up all the information I can.

Janki Parekh
My experience with the Writers’ Program has been really positive. So far, I have had program representatives listen to my needs and really take the time to see what classes will best fit my writing goals. Getting the guidance from the right people has made the process a lot easier.
I feel blessed for receiving The Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship. Coming to America as a teenager and having parents worked minimum wage jobs, I always felt limited financially. This scholarship gave me the boost to move to California and pursue writing at UCLA. The most appealing thing about the Writers’ Program is that I will get the opportunity to learn the craft from instructors who have top-level TV industry experience. My goals are to learn how to incorporate my diverse voice into my writing and learn the necessary tools needed to be successful in a highly competitive industry. My ultimate dream is to be a staff writer for a major network and see my work on TV.

Walter Finnie
As far as experience with the Writers’ Program I don’t have any because this is my first time participating, but I can say I know friends who were in the program in the past and I’ve heard nothing but great things.
This opportunity is HUGE for me personally because life wasn’t always a walk in the park for me. I’ve survived traumas no one in this world should face; including drug addicted households, living hand in hand with gang life, and even losing numerous family members to the violent streets of Watts, CA. Although I represent my city proudly, it is a rough place to grow and thrive especially when one is lacking everything that is essential to growing and evolving.
This program will benefit my life and career in VAST proportions; it will help my short term goals by helping me move up from a Story Consultant to a Staff Writer on the best new breakout TV show, and Netflix original “On My Block” which I am a part of the writers team for, and in the long term it will give me the fundamentals and tools I need to provide the world with my truths and inspiration. I am eternally grateful, and can’t be more excited.

Rhonda Gibson
Setting these goals have been the most terrifying and exhilarating start to my writing process. To face myself as a writer: it’s hard but I’m ready! I write for television. I’m obsessed with relationships that reveal the complexities of human nature in the dramatic form. Show me yourself in all its flawed, imperfect, delicious glory. Twist me in knots, untwist me and tie me again. Drive me to the edge of my seat with your secrets and hidden strengths. I want to discover you with you. That’s what I love to see and what I’m striving to weave into my current work.
I am honored to face these challenges in the TV Writer’s Fellowship Prep Specialization at UCLA Extension. My goal is to become a staff writer and eventually a showrunner at a major studio. I’m using the courses awarded to me through the Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship in Writing to fuel this path. The courses I’ve selected will be a guide as I develop a series of spec scripts and original pilots. From there I will be submitting my work to six major studios with their own TV writer’s fellowship programs. For the aspiring professional television writer, it is challenging but noble work. I’m excited to go through this process. The foundation I’m building at UCLA Extension is the start to a lasting career as a staff writer. I’m grateful to the committee who selected me for this outstanding scholarship program!

Other recipients of the scholarship are Kyland Turner and Michelle Ang. Congratulations to all the awardees!

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