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Recent Student Awards and Accomplishments

The creative accomplishments of Arts Division students are recognized each year through prominent awards, scholarships, internships, grants, and opportunities. A selection of the more distinguished honors is listed below by year. 

UC Santa Cruz Arts Division Student Successes
2017-2018 Academic Year

Art Department:
Accepted into the Yale MFA Program: Jose Rodriguez

Social Documentary Film Program (SocDoc):

Susannah Smith (SocDoc 2012) has been named a National MediaMaker fellow by the Bay Area Video Coalition this year; two years ago, the prestigious award went to Bridgette Auger (SocDoc 2011). Smith is in production on We Belong, a documentary about the closing of the Lexington Club, the last lesbian bar in San Francisco.

Tadashi Nakamura (SocDoc 2008) was recently awarded the Visionary Award from the Watsonville Film Festival and was selected to mentor young Asian American filmmakers by the national public broadcasting system's minority consortia. He has completed two documentary features since graduating.

Joanna Sokolowski (SocDoc 2012) and Kate Trumbull-Lavalle (SocDoc 2011) completed a feature documentary Ovarian Psycos since graduating; it is distributed by Women Make Movies. They finished a one hour documentary, Artist and Mother, for Los Angeles public television station KCET.

Juan Mejia (SocDoc 2007) co-directed the award-winning feature documentary, Death By A Thousand Cuts, and has made a number of short documentaries for Bryan Stevenson's Equal Justice Initiative. He is currently in pre-production on a new project linking Ferguson to a town in Colombia.

Brenda Avila-Hanna (SocDoc 2013) was in production on a new documentary about a translatina health care worker in Santa Cruz County. Her thesis film Vida Diferida about the impact of being undocumented on a Latina teenager was expanded with an update and is now distributed by New Day Films.

Film and Digital Media Department:
Fulbright-Hays Fellow 2018-19/PhD Candidate: Daniel Rudin

SCMS Grad Student Writing Prize
Benjamín Schultz-Figueroa won this year’s Society for Cinema and Media Studies Graduate Student Writing Prize for his essay “B.F. Skinner’s Project Pigeon: Rendering the War Animal Through Optical Technology.” This is one of most prestigious graduate student writing prizes in this field. A formal announcement was made at the SCMS conference in Toronto this March.

2018 Berlinale Film Screening
UC Santa Cruz alumnus Alex Johnston (Ph.D. Film & Digital Media, 2017) screened a film at the 2018 Berlinale. Evidence of the Evidence is about the 1971 Attica prison uprising. Utilizing rarely seen video recordings (produced by a New York State Trooper), the film offers a visceral ground level account of the events at Attica.

Music Department:

"Nilu" Nilufar Madadi's manager is Randy Jackson (of American Idol) and several of her arrangements have been played on Grey's Anatomy.

Adam Kabota is the bassist for the internationally know jazz groups "Postmodern Jukebox" (which is well known due to their major media presence and impressive covers of songs which circulate YouTube widely).

"Frankie" Francesca Miller's pop tune New Obsession was featured on Taylor Swift's Favorite New Songs list of 2015.

2018-2019 - Arts Division - Dissertation Fellowship Awards

2017-2018 - Distinguished Honors:

Graduate Students:

Lorraine Affourit, HAVC PhD 
     • 2017-18 Visiting Fellow at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies (USMEX) 
     • 2018  Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) fellowship

Gaby Greenlee, HAVC PhD: Linda S. Cordell Memorial Research Award

Alex Johnston, F&DM PhD ('18): Berlinale screening "Evidence of the Evidence"

Kiki Loveday, F&DM PhD: 2017 WCCW residency with /five at The Huntington Library

Michael Lindsey, Music PhD:  2017 Asian Cultural Council - Afghanistan Award 

Daniel Rubin, F&DM PhD: Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program - Philippines

Raed El Rafei, F&DM PhD: UC Berkeley Law School 2018 Human Rights Center Fellowship

Tatiane Santa Rosa, HAVC PhD: Whitney Independent Study Program 2018-201

Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa, F&DM PhD: 2018 SCMS Student Writing Award

Mavis Siu, SocDoc MFA: UC Berkeley Law School 2018 Human Rights Center Fellowship

Kara StoneF&DM PhD: Canada Council & Toronto Council for the Arts Residency Grants



Graduate Students:

Sara Blaylock, HAVC PhD: College Art Association Professional Development Fellowship in Art History

Michael Lindsey, Music PhD: 2016-17 US Fulbright-Nehru Student Research Award

Isabelle Carbonell,  F&DM PhD: 2017 Human Rights Center Fellow at UC Berkeley Law


Gaby GreenleeHAVC PhD: Betty J. Meggers Grant for South America (Americas Research Network) Fellowship

Marc Francis, F&DM PhD: Annette Kuhn Essay Award from SCREEN

Rebecca Ora,  F&DM PhD: 2016-17 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Citizenship Fellow

Daniel Rudin & Abram Stern, F&DM PhD:  2016 Big Ideas @ Berkeley Contest 

Undergraduate Students:

Aubrey Lynn Isaacman, Undergraduate Student, Art and Design: Games and Playable Media: Chancellor's Award for Trash Talk

Stephanie Ethel Howe, Undergraduate Student, HAVC: Chancellor's Award for Blasting Through the City: Combating Feminicide Through Public Art in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Janet Noguera Sanchez, Undergraduate Student, Music, Bachelor of Music Senior Recital, Guitar


Graduate Students:

Samuel Contreras, Graduate Student, Music: Summer Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (UC Berkeley)

Sam Cushman, Graduate Student, Social Documentary: 2016 UCSC Human Right Fellowship, Presenter at the Human Rights Center Conference (UC Berkeley)

Timothy Furstnau, Graduate Student, Digital Arts and New Media: Left Tilt Award

Michael Lindsey, Graduate Student, Music: Fulbright U.S. Student Program (Delhi and Kolkata, India)

Andrea Steves, Graduate Student, Digital Arts and New Media: Left Tilt Award

Undergraduates Students:

Lior Ayalon, Undergraduate Student, Film and Digital Media: Presenter at the Society for Cinema and Studies Undergraduate Conference (University of Colorado)

Jairo Banuelos, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Haley Belenis, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Marisol I. Medina-Cadena, Undergraduate, Film & Digital Media: Arts Dean’s and Chancellor's Award

Jasmine Lee Ehrhardt, Undergraduate Student, Flim and Digital Media: Presenter at the Society for Cinema and Studies Undergraduate Conference (University of Colorado), Arts Dean's Award

Saeli Eshelman, Undergraduate, HAVC: Arts Dean’s Award

Thomas Fallis, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Andrea Furtado, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Emily Graily, Undergraduate, Theater Arts: Arts Dean’s Award

Jesse Huynh, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Jordan Krauss, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Erick Medel, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Jessica Owens, Undergraduate, HAVC: Arts Dean’s and Chancellor's Award

Alexandra Willis-Paulsen, Undergraduate, Film & Digital Media: Arts Dean’s Award

Sarah Ploenzke, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Rachel Smith, Undergraduate Student, Art: Arts Dean’s and Chancellor's  Award, Irwin Scholar

Caetano Santos, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Britany Valdez, Undergraduate, HAVC: Arts Dean’s Award

Luigi Villanueva, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Chloe Yantis, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Jared Scott Zabel, Undergraduate, Film & Digital Media: Arts Dean’s Award

Quest Sky Zeidler, Undergraduate, HAVC: Arts Dean’s Award

2014 - 2015

Seth Andrews, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Haley Bott, Undergraduate, HAVC: Arts Dean’s Award

Austin Carlson, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Nesho Dimov, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Rachel Finn, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Naja Le Fevre Grundtmann, Undergraduate, HAVC: Arts Dean’s Award

Melanya Hamasyan, Undergraduate Student, Art: Arts Dean’s Award, Irwin Scholar

Karina Hernandez, Undergraduate Student, Art: Arts Dean’s Award

Haley Jensen, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Alex Khah, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Cedar Kirwin, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Krystal Ledesma, Undergraduate Student, Film and Digital Media, Arts Dean’s and Chancellor's Award

Karina Monroy, Undergraduate Student, Art: Arts Dean’s and Chancellor's  Award

Regina Ortanez, Undergraduate Student, Film and Digital Media, Arts Dean’s Award

Edward Ramirez, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Dominic Romano, Undergraduate Student, Film and Digital Media: Arts Dean’s and Chancellor's Award

Lily Sorenson, Undergraduate, Theater Arts: Arts Dean’s Award

Maria Montes Tapia, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Anthony Torrano, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Grant Wells, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

2013 - 2014

David Berry, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Will Brady, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar 

Karina Chavarin, Undergraduate, Theater Arts: Arts Dean’s Award

Sam Clevenger, Undergraduate Student, Film and Digital Media: Arts Dean’s Award

Seth Martin Crumrine, Undergraduate Student, Film and Digital Media: Arts Dean’s Award

Maytal Gotesman, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Courtney Hanson, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Eric Harrod, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Jessica Claire Sandler Hersh, Undergraduate,Theater Arts: Arts Dean’s Award

 Sonja Holopainen, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar 

Joshua Hurwitz, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar 

Atara Jaffe, Undergraduate, HAVC: Arts Dean’s Award

Althea James, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Shawheen Keyani, Undergraduate, Arts: Arts Dean’s Award

Jasen Levoy, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar 

Aiden Michael Betts Mckee, Undergraduate, Music: Arts Dean’s Award

Alejandro Santana, Undergraduate Student, Film and Digital Media: Arts Dean’s Award

Lauren Tomicich, Undergraduate, HAVC: Arts Dean’s Award

Amanda Newsum, Undergraduate, Theater Arts: Arts Dean’s Award

Amelia Nommensen, Undergraduate, Theater Arts: Arts Dean’s Award

Elliott Taylor, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar 

Stephanie Toro, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar

Cary Wander, Undergraduate Student, Art: Irwin Scholar