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Students benefit from new graduate fellowship

February 28, 2005

Photo of Marina ShterenebergA new University fellowship program is helping Marina Shterenberg, a second-year master of fine arts student, share her passion for art with Bay Area children.

For the first time, SFSU is offering annual fellowship awards of $3,000 to promising graduate students continuing their studies. Shterenberg, creator of San Francisco's Star Mountain Art education program for children, and Michael Trujillo, a graduate student in the Department of Kinesiology, are the first two SF State students to receive the award.

"Too many [academic] departments felt they were losing excellent candidates because they were unable to offer any monetary award," says Linda Wanek, a member of the University's Graduate Council and associate professor and director of the SFSU/UCSF graduate program in physical therapy. "Without aid, graduate students cannot afford to pursue their education in a city with one of the highest costs of living in the U.S."

Photo of Michael TrujilloAn executive board of the University's Graduate Council, made up of graduate school faculty and alumni, selected Shterenberg and Trujillo as the award's first recipients for being "outstanding examples of the quality of graduate student who comes to study at SFSU," Wanek says.

Both students are receiving $1,500 each semester, totaling $3,000 each for the year. The funding is provided by University donors.

"It supports both my studio work and my work with children," says Shterenberg. "The recognition that is an essential part of this award also reinforces my passion about creative art and its social importance for young people. And it inspires me to continue with my pursuits."

Shterenberg moved to the United States from the Ukraine at age 15. Two years later she completed a summer high school arts program at Pratt Institute. She went on to study at the Parsons School of Design and was an artist-in-residence in low-income New York City schools before opening Star Mountain Art in San Francisco and starting her graduate work at SFSU. The fellowship allowed Shterenberg to begin the after-school program at Star Mountain Art.

Trujillo is a graduate student and lab technician in the Department of Kinesiology and chair of the graduate student advisory board. He plans to graduate in May. His thesis work focuses on advances in prosthetic limb technology.

"The fellowship has been instrumental in helping to counter some of the costs associated with being a grad student in the Bay Area," Trujillo says. "The award has also given me extra incentive to excel. When my studies, work and research get hectic, I take refuge in the fact that I want to honor all who made this award possible, especially the donors. I feel that I can honor them via [my] continued success."

The Graduate Fellowship Awards are available only to continuing graduate students, and applicants must be classified in a master's degree program and enrolled in at least seven units each semester of the award year.

The deadline for 2005-06 fellowship awards is June 1. Interested students must provide a statement of financial need, two reference letters from professionals, their undergraduate transcripts and a typed personal statement.

For more information, call (415) 338-2232 or visit the Graduate Studies Web site.

-- Student Writer Gary Moskowitz with Adrianne Bee
Photos: William Morris



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