Race for the Prize: The Durwood Scholarships

U-News Staff

Scholarships are bestowed to only the best and the most hardworking. A significant effort and dedication is needed to earn a scholarship. Some people, even on campus, might think of scholarships as being mainly of the athletic variety, but there are other types.

Scholarships can be politically controversial and even unusual. In reaction to the police incident in Ferguson, Mo., a new scholarship has been created to honor the slain Michael Brown, “who graduated from the high school just days before he was fatally shot by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer,” according to Education Week (www.edweek.org).

Mr. Jason Elliott, of the Advancement Department at UMKC, said that the Durwood scholarships work as “great advocates for the Creative Writing program” and he appreciates the “impact that their gift makes.” He said that the Durwood scholarship program was part of why UMKC was able to attract “the best and brightest writers.” The Durwood scholarship program has helped “talented writers come to this campus.”

What exactly does the Durwood scholarship acquisition process entail? Christie Hodgen of the English department said those students that have also applied to the graduate Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program have their work cut out for them.

“Our MFA application requires a 30 page writing sample, and it is from these samples that we determine who shall be offered an award,” she said.

Hodgen said Emily Geminder has done well.

“One of our recent fellows, Emily Germinder, has received the first runner-up prize this year in two national contests – Prairie Schooner’s Creative Nonfiction Contest, and the Mississippi Review’s Short Fiction contest; Emily’s work will be published in both magazines later this year,” Hodgen said.

What do the students think of the Durwood scholarship? Sabrina Veroczi said that the Durwood tends to be co-terminus with the MFA program.

“It’s offered to students as part of their admission offer, which means that the only process recipients go through is the normal MFA application,” she said.

What kind of role did UMKC’s faculty play in such an award?

“The faculty assisted me by selecting me to receive the fellowship, after reading my writing submission and reviewing all of my materials,” Veroczi said.

She praised the roles of English professors Hodgen and Whitney Terrell, and said she’d had courses with each of them.