Since the Bess W. Scott Scholarship Fund's first scholarship in 1991, $72,800 has been granted to sixty promising reporters, writers, and authors. The three $2,000 scholarships awarded for 2017 are:
Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers
Scott Scribes Scholarship
“This is the nicest thing that's ever happened to me,” said Cecille Marcato, 70, an Austin-based poet and teacher. She will graduate in January 2019 with an MFA in writing at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina, which boasts Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning faculty and students.
Marcato has attended Austin Community College and taken poetry workshops at the University of Texas at Austin. She also has studied in Mexico City, Paris, Vienna and at the University of Iowa.
After receiving her MFA, she plans to “teach creative writing at the community or four-year college level and resume my volunteer work,” which, in the past, has led her to soup kitchens, Habitat for Humanity and public schools. She has offered free help in preparing college essays for low-income, college-bound students, and plans to continue that work.
“Being part of and fostering a community of writers is wonderful for the individual soul and the world,” Marcato says.
Mary O. Parker
Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference
Scott Scribes Scholarship
“I need guidance in making the leap from being really good at nature writing to being really good at serious environmental writing,” said Mary Parker, 51, in her application. She used her award money to attend the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference in Middlebury College, Vermont, this summer and reported: “What a great learning experience. I honestly believe this pushed my writing ahead more than anything else I have ever done.”
A Smithville resident, Parker works as a full-time freelance writer and instructor and has been published in dozens of magazines and literary journals.
Texas A&M University Press recently published her book, Explore Texas, a Nature Travel Guide, and there are two sequels to come, one for those with accessibility needs and the other for kids. When we checked in with her in December, she was in South America gathering material for a nature travel book about the Amazon Basin.
Parker says the BWS scholarship "made my year" and was a huge morale boost, pushing her to take more chances with her writing.
BWS Journalism Scholarship
Corrie Coleman, a 21-year-old Baylor University senior, is a New Media Journalism major with a passion for shining light on some of the dark corners of the world.
During the fall 2018 semester, she was editor-in-chief of Focus Magazine, a biannual student publication at Baylor. Using the theme “Fearless,” the magazine featured topics such as local entrepreneurs, Waco activists, and students fighting cancer.
She also has written for the Baylor Lariat student newspaper. During the semester before graduation in May 2019 she will continue her internship at 360 Solutions, a nonprofit marketing company which provides photography services to Waco nonprofits. After graduation, she plans to work as communications director at Graffiti Church in New York City.
“It’s such an honor to receive a scholarship in the name of Bess Whitehead Scott,” said Coleman. “Her passion for writing and pursuit of truth inspires me as a woman, a student, and a journalist.” The scholarship's namesake graduated from Baylor in 1912.
The 2018 scholarship applications open on February 1, 2019 and close on April 1, 2019. The online applications and guidelines are available at austincf.academicworks.com.
Donations to the fund may be made at www.austincf.org/Donors-Fundholders/Give-Now.