Each year, the Writers’ Program awards up to 10 needs-based 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, applicants are required to answer two essay questions and to submit two letters of recommendation. We love reading essays of students who have set well thought-out goals, can clearly articulate them, and can demonstrate how the scholarship will help them get there.
Our 2015-16 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, 9 of this year’s 10 recipients share what the scholarship means to them and their writing:
Rachel Aquino, Elk Grove, CA
“As a caregiver for my mom, a stroke survivor, and working full-time to help support her, it became difficult to see my future as a writer. This scholarship gives me the confidence to pursue my dreams of writing a novel. I am excited to be a part of the program and learn from the experienced instructors and my classmates.”
Angela Benitez- Getz, Sherman Oaks, CA
“In the next months, I look forward to editing my original pilot and finishing two pending screenplays. A few years from now, I hope to have my screenplays in production and eventually secure a spot on a television show.”
Mary DeDanan, Cazadero, CA
“My short and long term writing goals are to complete a historical novel cum memoir, a slightly unusual and quite challenging project. I have at least two more novels waiting their turn. Long term? To die with all my books written.”
Lisa Gomez, Los Angeles, CA
“Receiving this scholarship is proof that if you work hard, never give up, and hold your head up high, dreams do and can come true. I am confident this scholarship will give me the tools that I need to not only become a better writer, but most importantly, a better storyteller.”
Sherry Perkins, DeRidder, LA
“My short-term goals include: 1) to stop jumping up and down over being selected for this program, 2) to breathe, and 3) to take full advantage of these professional classes and learn how to produce quality, powerful, and poignant work. My long-term goal is to write the best screenplay I can and option it.”
Kendra Ryan, Valley Village, CA
“My short term writing goal is to use these classes to have my first screenplay and my first YA novel structured and outlined by the end of the year. My long term goals include working in a sitcom writers’ room, writing and directing my own screenplay, and eventually recording the audiobook version of my own book.”
Kristine Shuffler, Huntington Beach, CA
“Writing has been my passion for as long as I can remember. This scholarship gives me the means to receive the instruction, tools and guidance needed to polish and complete my story. The teachers in this program are the best of the best!
Genesis Tuyuc, Queens, NY
“This scholarship is a huge encouragement for me to keep on writing and an opportunity to keep learning about this art. I am excited to embark on this writing journey at the Writers’ Program and begin developing the writing career I envision for myself.”
Jacqueline Whatley, Sherman Oaks, CA
“Receiving this scholarship means access to training that will best equip me to realize my goals as a novelist. My short term goal is to complete the novella and short story compilation I’m currently writing, and my long term goals are to teach creative writing at the university level and churn out a slew of page-turning young adult and middle-grade novels for a large publisher.”
Our 10th recipient is Delia Gomez from Sylmar, California.
A huge congratulations to this year’s scholarship recipients! Information about the 2016-2017 Writers’ Program Scholarship will be available on our website in late March 2016.
Katy Flaherty is the Program Representative for Creative Writing (Onsite).