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 2017-18, 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.

Michael Anthony Reyes

I come into the Writers’ Program with immense gratitude. This Scholarship for me is a symbol of appreciation, celebration, and understanding. I’m proud to be here. And excited to invite new people, experiences, and genres into my poetics. I’ll be working towards the development of pieces about my obsessive-compulsive disorder, childhood, and competitive sports upbringing.

Catherine Hammons

This will be my first contact with the Writers’ Program but I have heard so many good things about it. I am excited to learn from working writers in the heart of the entertainment capital. I believe that what I will be learning is industry level best practices while at the same time expanding my creativity and developing the work ethic than can make or break a writing career. So far, everyone has been incredibly kind and supportive in helping me get enrolled and answering any of my questions.

I have wanted to write since I was child and yet, there was always something that got in the way of fulfilling this dream: demanding jobs, family obligations and just plain doubt. Thanks to the Writers’ Program, I now have the structure I need to take myself and my dreams seriously. My ultimate goal is to see my work produced, of course, but for now my goal is to develop a strong enough writing practice that can withstand writer’s block, doubt and the temptation to shop Today’s Deals on Amazon.

Lisa Ann Williams

I discovered and began my formal studies in writing at UCLA Extension twenty years ago. I have fond memories and truly enjoyed every instructor and class. I took classes in many different styles of writing and I experimented, learned and formed friendships with other writers – including meeting my husband there! When I think of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, I think: excellence. When I think of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program teachers, I think: generous and supportive.

Now, after many years of raising a family, I am thrilled to return to commit to my chosen genre in Creative Non-Fiction. The Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship provides me with the artistic encouragement and financial support I need to come back to myself, own my Creativity, and take my writing to the next level, with the support and accountability of UCLA Extension instructors and fellow students. I’m so excited and appreciative!  My goals are to deepen the particular craft of the personal essay and to develop a collection of personal essays for publication.

Matt Buga

The Writers’ Program has been a boon for my writing. Besides what you learn from the lesson plans, the instructors provided guidance and motivation for my work that has sustained me beyond the courses. The instructor feedback I received helped me hone and expand my pieces in a way I wouldn’t have been able to do just by myself. The workshop setting has also been very useful. There is no other scenario in which I would have heard so many unique perspectives on my work. I was pleasantly surprised by what they found funny, what character they loved, of what they wanted more — and of what they wanted less! I left work-shopping sessions with a clear idea of what I needed to do to improve my stories, and what to keep in mind for future pieces.

The scholarship means that I can take a sequence of classes without gaps or worrying about the financials of re-committing myself each upcoming quarter. I can focus on my writing, knowing that I’ll be continuing the same learning path in the following terms. In the short term, it will help me lay the groundwork for a novel and move it towards completion. In the long term, I aim to have a publishable novel and be able to use the same tools to continue writing another one!

Brenda L. Hernandez

My journey with the Writers’ Program is only about to begin this fall, and I can’t wait to get started! I am an aspiring screenwriter and I’ve signed up to take “Writing the First Screenplay I” for my first quarter. Given the great things I’ve heard about the Program, I know it will open my eyes to a whole new world of writing!

Ever since I was a child, I dreamed of becoming a writer and now with my becoming a recipient of the Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship in Writing, it appears that dream may have a stronger chance of coming true. Money is tight, so to me receiving the scholarship meant everything. With its help, I have a guaranteed chance at taking the first few classes I need to start building the future I want. In the short run it’s a starting point, but in the long run, I hope it will help me reach my dream of becoming a staff writer and a showrunner in the future.

Camila Lacques-Zapien

This scholarship is my gateway to truly starting my journey as a creative writer. Previously, I have only taken one formal creative writing course and I am enthusiastically seeking a challenging learning environment to dive deeper into different forms of expression, including poetry and screenwriting.

I look forward to the top notch instructors, community of creatives, and empowering writing culture provided by UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. I set out to develop my craft, voice, and most of all, my confidence in my identity as a writer. I choose this program as the home, the starting point of my studies of what I hope to be many, many creative writing experiences to come. I see myself building inspiration and work across several styles of storytelling in the future, ultimately sharing narratives that are often overlooked or disregarded.

We offer congratulations to this year’s scholarship recipients! Information about the 2018-19 Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship in Writing will be available on our website in late March 2018.

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