Graduate students Jasmine Games and Yasmin Zacaria Mikhaiel have been selected as the two recipients of the 2020 Texas Educational Theatre Association's Founders' Scholarship for Upper Division/Graduate Theatre Students.
The Founders' Scholarship for Upper Division/Graduate Theatre Students offers funds of $4,000 to two students each year who are in the process of completing their undergraduate degrees or pursuing their master's in theatre. These funds are dedicated to encouraging and providing young artists at Texas colleges/universities the means to finish their degrees. This year, both recipients come from The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance. Assistant Professor of Instruction and member of the TETA Board of Directors Michael Ávila shared his excitement "to see UT so well represented," by Games and Mikhaiel, whose detailed and ambitious applications set them apart from other applicants.
Both students were honored and empowered after receiving these funds as they pursue their degrees. Games, a M.F.A. in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities candidate, shared that this news came "at a time [when] I needed it the most, earning this scholarship means I can comfortably pursue my education and invigorate my career. I know that the theatre for me is valid, beautiful, critical, enriching—made with spirit. I am extremely grateful that TETA has invested in not just me, but an accomplishable dream to improve underrepresented youths’ access recreationally, academically and professionally to theatre."
Mikhaiel, a M.A. in Performance as Public Practice candidate, expressed similar sentiments: "Although we sit in the midst of a pandemic and uprising, the necessity of the arts and the artist is still inarguable. Don't look to federal funding to confirm this, but rather to the labor of artists, especially those on the front lines of justice, fighting racism and exacerbated inequities. With the TETA scholarship, I'm able to continue laboring on these fronts with a bit more breathing room. At a time when our field has been put in a 'hold please' state, TETA is fueling the transferability of my skills as a dramaturg, journalist and oral hxstorian, in the classroom and in the world."
Games and Mikhaiel have made wonderful contributions to our department and the world of theatre, and we can't wait to see what else they'll achieve with the help of funding from the Texas Educational Theatre Association.