We’re delighted to introduce our scholars for 2019-2020, who are united by a passion for developing their craft and fulfilling their ambitions as writers and creators. Here they share experiences with the Program and what receiving the scholarship means for their goals.

Mona Hassan

As a 2019 Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship Awardee, I plan to study television and feature film writing. While I have no previous experience with the Program, I look forward to creating lasting relationships with my future peers and mentors. Winning the Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship grants me an opportunity to advance my craft in a meaningful way that would not otherwise be possible. I am extremely honored to be a part of the 2019 cohort and to have the chance to continue building the skills necessary to accomplish my professional and creative goals as a screenwriter. I am an Egyptian American writer, comedian, and freelance podcast manager based in Los Angeles.

Sheila Vatan

I learned about the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program from a phenomenal professor who was also a graduate of the program. Although this is my first year participating in the program myself, I am certain there is no better route for me to develop my fiction writing skills. With a breadth and variety of courses unparalleled at other writing centers and a masterful teaching staff committed to the practice of writing, the Writers’ Program seems to offer the support and community necessary to any budding writer, along with flexibility needed to write and live.
My fiction has centered on the Middle East and its emigres, on unresolved trauma, both personal and political. In the short term, I hope to develop a series of short stories centered on these themes. In the long term, I aim to write a novel. I look forward to sharing these experiences with my husband, partner, and soulmate, with whom I collaborate on his remarkable film projects and share a vision of art as both a form of social archaeology and a tool of humanism.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate in the Writers’ Program. I can’t wait to get started!

Sylvia Eneriz

I have always been impressed with the caliber of instructors at UCLA Extension, all seasoned professionals in their fields who can speak to the craft and business of writing. This, along with the structured novel writing series and the one-on-one manuscript consultation, are the reasons why I took the excited leap to join the UCLA Writers’ Certificate Program. I knew that I would flourish within the structure, mentoring, and deadlines of the program, allowing me to fulfill my life long, long term goal of writing and illustrating my own novels “some day.” I have decided to kick to the curb the “some day” and start today. I am extremely grateful for the Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship which will give me the financial freedom to complete the first draft of my novel within the two-year program. I cannot wait to have the one-on-one manuscript consultation upon completion of the program, to present to them the novel that I birthed and to speak to them about next steps.
I want to thank the late Phyllis Gebauer for helping to make this dream possible and to congratulate my fellow scholarship recipients.

Misha Bernier

This will be my first year in the Writers’ Program and I am truly honored and grateful to be a recipient of the Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship in Writing. I am a first generation Haitian-Filipino American and storytelling has been a huge part of my upbringing. I believe that storytelling is the cultural tapestry we all share as a human race and that it has the power to transcend boundaries, make us laugh, expand consciousness, and heal. This scholarship will help me hone my TV writing skills through developing a spec and my own original pilot. I am currently working on a comedy pilot loosely based off of my upbringing growing up first generation Haitian-Filipino American and will continue to craft my pilot through this program. I also plan to take screenwriting into my volunteer efforts and to teach others what I have learned. My long terms goals include getting my pilot picked up where I will also star in it as well as having my own production company where I will collaborate with other diverse voices to create and distribute unique compelling stories.

Angel Carreras

The Writers’ Program has been nothing but helpful thus far. Any and all questions, big and small, have been answered immediately and with nuance. It’s been great! The staff’s helpfulness has me confident going into the program, a program I’m excited to participate in thanks to the Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship. It means a lot to me, a poor kid raised in Bakersfield, to even have the chance to attend and learn from their industry-veteran faculty.
I plan to sharpen my writing skills and dive into the writer community here and I hope this launches a TV/Film writing career. I’m grateful for this scholarship forever!

Other recipients of the scholarship are Brittany Turner and Anna Calloway. Congratulations to all the awardees!

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 several students annually who are given the opportunity to enroll in three full-length Writers’ Program courses. Applications for the 2020-21 scholarship should open in March of 2020.

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