Friday at the 2020 BRIC Talent and Innovation Summit, Women in Animation President Marge Dean proudly announced the recipients of this year’s WIA Scholarships. The WIA Scholarship is an annual award committed to furthering deserving animation students who demonstrate artistic talent, a passion for animation, a financial need and a promising future in the field of animation. Student members of WIA are encouraged to apply, no matter in what region of the world they are academically pursuing their animation career interests.
Out of 83 applicants from 44 schools across 17 U.S. states as well as Canada, Cyprus and the U.K. this year, the WIA scholarship committee selected eight students as most deserving of scholarships:
- Daria Burkut from Cyprus Academy of Art in partnership with the University for the Creative Arts. Born in a small town in Siberia, Burkut loves to pursue traditional animation as well as explore other techniques. (Website)
- Clarisse Chua from California Institute of the Arts. Originally from Singapore, Chua previously attended Tama Art University (Tokyo). In addition to creating animated films inspired by both Eastern and Western myths and legends, she also enjoys making miniatures out of felt. (Website)
- Elizabeth Dettmann from Rochester Institute of Technology. Born and raised in New York City and currently living in Maryland, Dettmann hopes to enter the animation industry as a storyboard artist or character designer. Her dream is to tell empathetic, impactful stories that bring joy and change perceptions of animation. (Website)
- Jenny Duong from California State University Fullerton. Duong has been inspired by animation since childhood, which has fueled her passion to one day work as an art director for animated TV series. (Website)
- Tabitha Kitchen from Ringling College of Art and Design. Kitchen is currently finishing her thesis film, Granny’s Gamble, about a feisty grandma pulling off a casino heist. Her animation internship at Blue Sky this past summer has strengthened Kitchen’s lifelong love of art and its power to bring people together. (Vimeo)
- Minh-Chau Nguyen from Santa Monica College. Nguyen previously studied design and worked in fashion production before redirecting her career into animation. She is looking forward to sharing her own unique narrative as a story artist someday. (Website)
- Marion Parajes from California Institute of the Arts. Parajes is a story artist with an emphasis on visual development. They seek to create films that voice underrepresented experiences in order to bring animation to a broader range of audiences. (Website)
- Kaylan Peattie from School of Visual Arts. Peattie is a character animator and artist whose passion lies in achieving new ways to express life through animation and filmmaking. (Website)
“It is my greatest honor to lead this amazing program and to work with the committee in offering opportunities to rising talent. The quality of our application pool was outstanding, and I am incredibly inspired by every one of the applicants. I sincerely hope this scholarship motivates them to move forward with their careers and helps our industry to reach our WIA goal of 50/50 gender balance in creative leadership roles by 2025,” said Hsiang Chin Moe, WIA’s Chair of Education.
Winner Minh-Chau Nguyen said, “I am so thrilled and grateful to be a recipient of a 2019-2020 Women in Animation scholarship. Two years ago, I moved to L.A. to return to school to change my career from fashion to animation. I hardly knew anyone, but once I joined Women in Animation, I found my community and sense of belonging. Thank you, Women in Animation, for your continuous support of higher education and empowerment of women in the field of animation.”
The scholarship pool totals $15,000 and also features one program award from Animation Mentor and three from Toon Boom.
Animation Mentor offers one WIA Animation Scholarship winner a six-week workshop (a $699-$899 value) and allows that awardee the choice of several courses. Considering an array of classes such as Maya Workshop/Animation Basics for Beginners to Game Animation Fundamentals to Intermediate Storyboarding to Pre-Viz Basics for Animators as just a few examples, the student winner will have options to best personalize this educational opportunity.
“Animation Mentor is excited and honored to be partnering with Women in Animation to bring our two great communities together,” said Bobby Beck, Co-founder of Animation Mentor. “We share so many of the same values, and the talent of our global student base reminds us how important it is to have diverse storytellers in our industry. Because WIA has so many great resources, and such a worthy mission, we see this partnership as an opportunity for our amazing students to connect and grow in different ways, adding to the solid foundation they receive from us. Any chance to bring artists together to imagine and create, we’re all in!”
Toon Boom supported this year’s winners with giveaways and scholarship funds totaling over $16,000: one-year bundled licenses of Storyboard Pro and Harmony Premium were awarded to each of the finalists, and Toon Boom award winners received the base licenses package as well as one-on-one remote training.
“Toon Boom Animation is excited to be working with WIA on yet another project to further promote and support a female presence in animation arts, science and business. Projects such as WIA Vancouver’s B.C.’s Five in Focus: Animation and now this WIA scholarship are truly helping to shape the future of animation, and continues our focus on the creative community worldwide,” said Stephanie Quinn, Director Marketing, Toon Boom.