Writing scholarship offers thousands to high schoolers

December 19, 2011

By Darla Martin Tucker

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) Hae Lim Lee could not believe it when she heard she’d won a first place $10,000 writing scholarship from La Sierra University’s English department. A La Sierra Academy senior at the time, Lee’s award helped narrow her university considerations and her career choices.

“This scholarship concreted my decision to attend La Sierra University and made me choose an English major,” Lee said.

Lee is among five winners in as many years of a $10,000 competitive writing scholarship awarded annually by La Sierra University’s English and Communication Department. The Writing Scholarship Competition, open to high school seniors, also offers a second place $5,000 award and a $2,000 third place award. Students may submit a short story of 800 to 2,500 words, an essay of 800 to 2,500 that is either academic or personal, a poem or a script. Since the inception of the scholarship in 2006, five second place and four third place winners have also been selected.

The Writing Scholarship Competition is open again for entries and is accepting applications through December 31. Rules and an application form are available at this site: www.lasierra.edu/index.php?id=7985. Scholarship money is distributed over four years. Eligible recipients must graduate from high school with a 3.0 grade point average and enroll at La Sierra University by Fall 2012. Prize winners will be notified by mail by January 31, 2012.

The scholarship is one of the university’s largest awards and is funded by the office of Recruitment. Prior to the establishment of the scholarship, the English department awarded small cash prizes to winning writers. In 2006, the department teamed up with recruitment to create the scholarship.

The English department promotes the program to Seventh-day Adventist academies around the country and covers associated costs. For the first time this year, the department is also offering the competition to local public high schools. In the past, most entries arrived from La Sierra Academy with substantial contributions from Sacramento Adventist Academy, said Sari Fordham, assistant English professor. “In the 2008-2009 academic year, we had as many as 20 submissions. I would really like to see the competition grow,” she said.

“Our goal with the contest is to support excellent young writers and to attract them to La Sierra University,” Fordham continued. “We have a growing creative writing program. In fact, because more of our students were choosing to be writing emphasis majors, I was hired in 2007. Since then, we’ve begun several new classes, such as Introduction to Creative Writing, Humor Writing, and The Long Project” involving a book-length project, and classes in Writing for Publication.

Justyne Marin, an English/graphic design double major, received a $5,000 second place scholarship in 2009 for her creative writing/essay piece “arguing the irony of the symbolism within the color white,” she said. She was attending Loma Linda Academy at the time. Marin has her sights set on becoming a book editor one day, she said.

During the 2007 scholarship competition Lee submitted a short story about an overweight girl on a diet. “It was based on my experience and I put some funny moments in it,” she said. For Lee, her studies as an English major at La Sierra are also tied to a dream. “Eventually, I want to be a world famous, bestselling writer,” she said.


PR Contact: Larry Becker

Executive Director of University Relations

La Sierra University

Riverside, California

951.785.2460 (voice)

  • Last update on  January 10, 2012