Despite Pandemic, Union’s Scholarship Winners Embrace Challenge

August 11, 2020
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The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown higher education into a state of disarray, but the 20 men and women who will be receiving Local 600 scholarships for the 2020-2021 year are poised to meet the challenges. These 20 scholars are underclassmen and graduate students spread out across universities across the country. Meet them below.

Solange Acosta 
Environmental Science and Engineering
Dartmouth College
Daughter of Gustavo Acosta

When I heard about the scholarship, I cried. Knowing that the union was able to lift this burden a little bit for my parents was really impactful. I’m very grateful. I’m supposed to head to campus in the fall, but there’s only 50% of students. Dartmouth is a really community-centered school which I absolutely love. So I’ve been Zooming with people every night since this started back in May.

Marguerite Andrich
Art History and Anthropology
University of Florida
Daughter of Stephen Andrich

I will be living on campus, but all classes will be online. I have a research position this fall with a professor who curates old books so it’s going to be very difficult to work in person with him and hands on especially in a closed library setting. The transition from in-person research to online research will be difficult, but I still think it will be really exciting and really useful for my education.

Alina Rose Armstrong 
Interdisciplinary Major – Acting, Writing and History
New York University (NYU)
Daughter of John Armstrong

I’ve been wanting to move to New York City my whole life. Fortunately, I’m able to take in-person classes. In terms of opportunities in the entertainment industry, I was hoping I could spend my freshman year auditioning whether that be for theater in New York or for film or TV. However, I see that will be very difficult given the circumstances with COVID-19.

Sierra Brady
Public Relations and Religion
Daughter of Paul Brady

The scholarship means the world to me. It just takes off such a big stress of attending the university. Classes are going to be online, but I’m going to be living at USC. For public relations, it will be a little more difficult because a lot of the classes are speaking in front of your peers and presenting yourself well which is not really applicable to Zoom.

Cecilia Cabiya
Computer Science
Daughter of Sarah Cawley

Despite everything that’s going on, I’m quite excited, although nervous. I’m incredibly grateful for the scholarship because it’s taking a lot of stress off me and I can focus more on academics. On top of all the challenges of making new friends and getting a new social support group, it’s going to be exacerbated because of COVID, but SUNY-Albany is planning a lot of digital events and they have a pretty good structure for handling that.

Griffin DiNardo
Berklee College of Music
Music and Media Education
Son of Karie DiNardo

I appreciate this scholarship opportunity so much. Everything helps! Originally, my school was set on being a combination of in-person and online classes, but we will be fully online. I’m moving back to Boston. I got an apartment with some friends, so luckily we’ll still be able to play music together, but I know for a lot of people in my department, it will be hard trying to find people to rehearse with.

Payton DiNardo
Music Industry
Daughter of Karie DiNardo

My school announced fully online courses, and considering the pandemic, I chose classes that were less hands-on. Since all in person events are canceled, not having the ability to network at music and entertainment events will be challenging. Thankfully, with this scholarship, I can continue my path towards working in live production, collaborating and networking.

Maxine Fletcher
Art Center College of Design
Daughter of Brenton Fletcher

I guess if there’s an upside to online classes, it’s learning how to work alone in my own space especially because that’s what a lot of freelance people do. I want to go into storyboarding, so I’m trying to use Art Center not just as a place to learn but also as a place to make meaningful connections with people that I actually care about and want to collaborate with. Hopefully, we can help each other in the workplace and studios.

Hannah Hart
Kansas Wesleyan University 
Daughter of Randy Hart

I feel so incredibly blessed to have received this scholarship, especially since we had to make a lot of things happen for me to be able to afford college. We still have our labs open and our classes will be held as normal. Academically, we’re pretty lucky since my school still gets to meet in person, but socially we will be set back. This will be my first time playing college golf.

Elias Henriksen
Design/Media Arts
Son of Scott Henriksen

I created an organization with some friends called DISRUPT at UCLA and we’re creating a mentorship program. For the incoming students in the program, it’s unfortunate to come to school during the pandemic, so we’re trying to figure out the best way to introduce new people in this situation. I don’t mind learning digitally. Last quarter, I got involved with an English professor who helped mentor me to write a paper which I’ve published.

Eleanor Lindsey
Film Major, Music Minor
Texas State
Daughter of Jimmy Lindsey

The scholarship means a lot to me and not just that ICG chose me, but financially. I recently had a liver transplant and that had a huge impact on not just me and my college experience but having to put a hold on everything. My father stayed home and didn’t work for awhile and it just means a lot that I can continue to go to film school.

Lewis McGehee
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Son of Stephen McGehee

I’m really looking forward to my future. I don’t know how it’s going to play out with COVID but I think all will go well if I just keep a positive attitude. I really wanted to have a couple of people and go out and meet a bunch of people and that’s not going to happen in my classes at least. So meeting people is going to be harder.

Nicholas Mitchell
Brigham Young University
Son of Andrew Mitchell

I’m super grateful for the scholarship especially because a lot of union work in the industry is down. I’ve been working almost full time this summer to help save up for school so I’m really thankful not having to worry about tuition and can focus on paying for my own housing. I learn better in-person so learning online will definitely be a challenge, but I kind of got used to it the last half of last year.

Dylan Nese
Global Studies
Oxnard College
Grandson of Robert Nese

I’ll be transferring to Cal State Channel Islands in the spring. I’m taking my foreign language classes and getting them out of the way because I’m planning on doing a semester abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. I can’t take any in-person classes, and I didn’t want to take my science requirement online. I want to actually be able to go down to the beach and take samples.

Angenie Pelletier
Media Studies and Legal Studies
UC Berkeley
Daughter of Angelica Giangregorio

With all the budget cuts for the UCs and a lot less funding and everything, I was worried about my financial aid package. So receiving the ICG scholarship was such a light amidst the darkness of the COVID pandemic. I am going back to Berkeley. I finished all my GE requirements. My roommates are going to be there, and hopefully that will help with staying on track and being motivated.

Christopher Reilly
Boston University
Son of Mark Reilly

I feel like the years I’ve had leading up to this and my previous experiences will push me through and help me not only learn in this way but figure out new ways to learn. We won’t have public performances for the first semester, but I think learning online and learning how to navigate Zoom and doing Zoom theater is interesting to me too.

Eric Wang Schwager
Local 600 Camera Assistant

AFI’s curriculum is so hands-on, and I think they are doing their best to maintain that. We’re going to have a hybrid of some classes being remote and some classes both, and then we make three short films the first year. It’s pretty exciting because AFI’s class size is so small that they’re able to pivot more readily. The fact that the union is able to help me with the scholarship program in such a tangible way is incredible.

Lucy Speers
Political Science and Spanish
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Daughter of Steve Speers

I thrive on collaborating with my peers and it has been key to my education. Classes will be in-person and online, and I will be in the dorms. A challenge I face is thinking of new ways to study given my mostly online schedule. I’m looking forward to the next chapter in life and the fact that ICG Local 600 was able to award me this scholarship makes me realize my efforts have come full circle.

Byron Stratos
Music Composition
University of Michigan (Deferring)
Son of Toby Oliver

It’s always been my dream to go to a music school and do composition, and it’s amazing that I can do that with the help of Local 600. But for my major, online school just doesn’t translate very well to what I need to accomplish. It’s very difficult to do lessons or performance over a Zoom call. My plan is to try to save up some money to help finance college in the future.

Emma Weeks
Film Studies
Columbia University
Daughter of David Weeks

I’m beginning my research for my masters, and I bought 20 books to read before school begins in September! I’m looking forward to being able to choose my thesis advisor. This scholarship couldn’t have come at a better time as I can really use this semester to dedicate to my school work instead of looking for jobs. That this opportunity is from ICG Local 600, I feel like I made myself and my dad very proud!

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