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2023 WIA Scholarship Recipients Announced

Out of 192 worldwide applicants from 74 schools around the world, 15 students were awarded scholarships, with an additional 25 receiving honorable mentions.

Women in Animation has announced this year’s WIA Scholarship recipients as part of this past Saturday’s 2023 BRIC Talent and Innovation Summit. In a special video presentation, WIA’s Chair of Education Hsiang Chin Moe shared news of the 40 scholarship recipients — the largest worldwide group to receive cash awards and honorable mentions from the organization to date.

The WIA Scholarship Program 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 were encouraged to apply regardless of where they are academically pursuing their animation career interests. The scholarship pool totals $24,500 and also features workshops, tutoring opportunities, animation equipment, and software packages for recipients of the 2023 cycle from industry partners Animation Focus, Animation Mentor, ArtStation, Autodesk, Foundry, LAIKA, Toon Boom, Wacom, WIA Bay Area Chapter, WIA Montreal Chapter, and YellowBrick Learning.

"During my time as WIA president, I have been privileged to see how our WIA Scholarship program — thanks to the generous support of our partners — directly and positively affects future generations of women and nonbinary creatives in our industry,” Marge Dean, WIA president said. “I am proud of how much this key program has grown over the years, and this year is no exception as we celebrate our largest number of scholarship applicants and recipients. Congratulations to these artists. I can't wait to see what they will do."

Out of 192 applications from 74 schools across the US and Puerto Rico as well as Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, and Sri Lanka during the 2022-2023 program, the WIA scholarship committee selected these 15 students as most deserving of scholarships, in addition to 25 students as honorable mentions. The scholarship recipients are (in alphabetical order):

  • Hailey Blair from Ringling College of Art and Design
  • Isabella Bajestani from Belmont University
  • Tiffany Book from ArtCenter College of Design
  • Brooke Burnett from School of Visual Arts
  • Michelle Cheng from School of Visual Arts
  • Safia Colbert from Arizona State University
  • Patricia Alyson Deogracias from Ringling College of Art and Design
  • Rui Han from University of Southern California
  • Ejung Hong from University of Pennsylvania
  • Sherry Li from University of Pennsylvania
  • Maggie McKelvey from California Institute of the Arts
  • Taharida Rahman from California State University, Northridge
  • Ruby Saysanasy from Sheridan College
  • Kaylee Tian Lin Tang from Ringling College of Art and Design
  • Fan Zhang from Academy of Art University

The scholarship winners’ full bios and website links can be found on the WIA scholarship page.

WIA also announced 25 Honorable Mention Winners — the largest number to date — who were awarded software and/or workshop packages to boost their animation skills. First-time supporters, ArtStation — who’s provided 25 one-year ArtStation Pro upgrades — and YellowBrick Learning has provided 3 awardees their choice of one Yellowbrick online course for each winner, a $1,000 per class value, totaling $3,000 for the WIA Scholarship program. For yet another year, Toon Boom supported the WIA Scholarship Program with both software and scholarship funds. Twenty one-year bundled licenses of Storyboard Pro and Harmony Premium were awarded to finalists as well as virtual training. In addition to supporting the cash prize pool, Autodesk benefited this year’s recipients with 8 licenses of their 3D modeling and animation software. Winners have the choice between one-year subscriptions of Autodesk Maya or Autodesk 3ds Max. Animation Focus provides online animation tutoring on a 1 to 1 basis with a professional feature film character animator — 1 hour per week for 4 weeks. A WIA scholarship recipient will receive a place in a 2023 Animation Focus class. Scholarship partner Animation Mentor offered one WIA Animation Scholarship winner a six-week workshop and will award the choice of several courses including Maya Workshop: Animation Basics and Cartoony Animation for 3D Animators. Foundry will award $2,000 in scholarship funds together with a permanent Production Collective license to its suite of products, including Nuke Studio, Katana, Mari and Modo. LAIKA will be giving out two cash awards, up to $2,000 to two deserving students who specialize in stop motion. LAIKA hopes to take this opportunity to foster future talent that shares the same passion for stop-motion filmmaking. Wacom is donating 10 Cintiq Pro 16’s because they understand the importance of having professional-level technology as it will set the talent apart for both freelancing work and their creative portfolios making them more hirable in the animation industry.

“This year marks the largest number of sponsors that have contributed to the WIA Scholarship program and I am incredibly grateful for everyone's generosity in providing resources in furthering the future of animation,” Moe said. “As an educator, the WIA Scholarship program is very dear to my heart. Its impact is immediate in providing support to students whether it is software packages, hardware, tutoring, workshops, discount opportunities, or cash prizes. I am confident it will continue to grow and help more and more students from all over the world. Congratulations to the award recipients and honorable mentions!"

WIA also notes a special thanks the following sponsors: Animation Focus, Animation Mentor, ArtStation, Autodesk, Foundry, LAIKA, Toon Boom, Wacom, YellowBrick Learning, and the WIA Bay Area and Montreal chapters for making this year's program possible.

Source: Women in Animation

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.