The Writers’ program is thrilled to announce the latest recipients of the Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship in Writing. This year was one of our strongest years for qualified applicants, and we are very excited for these passionate students to embark on a writing journey with us that might not have otherwise been possible. Here they share experiences with the Program and what receiving the scholarship means for their goals.

amy hu?nh
ahmy (they/she) is a young southeast Asian writer with roots in Vietnam. As a young Teochew Vietnamese writer, they were not encouraged to pursue the path of arts and weren’t able to nurture this side of her. They are grateful to the WP for allowing them a space to grow and experiment with her writing where they explore ancestral narratives, healing and the environment.

Kathy Pinyerd
As a UCLA Alumni, I am truly grateful and excited to be a recipient of the 2020 Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship in Writing. Thanks to her generosity, I am confident, from taking prior UCLA film and TV courses, that I will receive a world-class education in both film and novel writing.
As a Native American writer, my passion is to represent Native American culture and its diverse voices in film and novel writing. During my undergraduate study in Sociology at UCLA, I was honored to win a one-year research stipend, studying Native American history, culture, and Alaskan Indian land and water rights under the Chair of Sociology, Dr. Duane Champagne. The experience further opened my eyes to the plight of Native Americans and gave me the passion to tell their stories.
My short-term goal is to continue research on Native American studies and develop Novel Writing skills. My dream, visions and long-term goal is to write compelling Native American stories for the screen and in novels. I want to bring awareness, change, hope, and diversity in films for the unheard voices of our Native Americans, who have endured racism and the disruption of their culture.

Andy Tu
I’m extremely excited to receive this award. As someone who has taken courses at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program before, I know how valuable three full-length classes will be for me. I’ve already met many wonderful instructors who are dedicated and insightful in providing guidance and creating stimulating workshops, so I’m looking forward to meeting more. The students are great as well, with a wide range of styles and backgrounds while showing high talent and dedication to the craft.
The scholarship means very much to me. It will allow me to finish my Fiction Certificate program within a year, prepare me for my upcoming MFA applications, provide insight on my work-in-progress novel, and most importantly, continue to grow my writing ability. Thank you very much for this opportunity!

Silvia Vasquez-Lavado
First and foremost, I am incredibly grateful to the generous Phyllis Gebauer and to the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program staff for their unwavering support in helping me pursue my dream of obtaining my Certificate in Creative Writing. The team has been tremendous in helping me answer so many doubts about the right path to pursue my writing aspirations.
The Phyllis Gebauer scholarship will support me with the appropriate classes to strengthen my writing abilities and helping me complete my memoir, In The Shadow of The Mountain, a powerful story of overcoming addiction and adversity while healing in community.
In addition, I am looking forward to developing a stronger writer’s confidence to launch short essays and opinion pieces about the ongoing challenges many of us are enduring during these extraordinary times. Words are more powerful than ever before and to use them with the right amount of empathy and compassion can help bring so much awareness and justice to so many ongoing pressing issues.

Rachel Watkins
So grateful and excited for this opportunity to cultivate story ideas! I’ve been working on a manuscript for a few years now, and hope participating in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program will allow me to complete it in a structured, mentoring environment. In addition to finishing my book, I’m also interested in learning to write for film and for the stage. Ultimately, I intend to use my time as a Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship awardee to effectively execute a wide array of POC characters, their unique conflicts and journeys, in mediums as equally varied and diverse.
This will be my first year in the Writers’ Program.

Sana Hussein
This is my first year in the Writers’ Program and it has been a phenomenal experience. The entire Writers’ Program team has been helpful and kind. From general questions to needing advice about how to succeed in a course – the Writers’ Program team has been there to answer them all. Their guidance helped me select my first course. This particular course will help me rewrite a story that I’ve been working on for months. None of this would be possible without the Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship which will allow me to work on my craft without worry. I am beyond grateful for the Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship and the opportunities it has given me. I can’t wait to one day pay-it-forward.

Sharmin Rahman
I learned about the Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship after a conversation with Program Director Charlie Jenson about incorporating voices of writers of color during the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement two months ago. The Phyllis Gebauer Scholarship allows me to spend more time advancing my craft in short fiction and screenwriting, under the guidance of UCLA instructors who have displayed immense interest and care in my work.
Using an anti-Capitalist lens, my fiction and screenwriting work focuses on the intersection of economic, racial, and political injustices of the western world.  In the long term, I plan to publish a book of short stories and have my TV show produced. I hope that my career in writing will also allow me to mentor and financially support students of color, who want to pursue their own careers in the arts. I was born in Bangladesh and raised in Brooklyn, and I am currently a model and freelance writer based in Los Angeles.

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 2021-22 scholarship should open in March of 2021.





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