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Scholarship recognizes performers

Freshman Sierra Taylor of Covina and sophomore Jordan Randall of Upland relax in Dailey Theatre. They share the distinction of being selected as the 2011 Performance Scholarship Theater Art recipients. Both aspire to be successful actors in the film industry. / photo by David Bess

Karlie Bettencourt
Associate Arts Editor

While waiting in line for the theater performance scholarship audition last year, freshman theater arts major Sierra Taylor realized that she hadn’t prepared the two contrasting monologues needed for the audition.

Fortunately, her impressive cold reading and improv skills were good enough to get her one of the theater scholarships.

The University of La Verne offers a total of 12 full-tuition scholarships in six areas of performance: art, communications, music, photography, speech and theater. The scholarships are available to incoming freshman and are renewable for up to four years.

To win the scholarship, the student must major or minor in the area they are auditioning for. Each department has specific audition criteria.

Photography and art requires showing a portfolio of your best work. The theater and communications departments require a 10-minute DVD reel.

Music requires a performance of two contrasting pieces for either voice or instrument, and speech requires the participant to audition by participating in at least two rounds of debate on Performance Scholarship Day, which is the day when all the applicants come to audition.

The scholarships award full academic tuition, which was estimated at $29,800 this year.

“La Verne has a high reputation for their theater department and I wanted to come here,” said Taylor. “If I didn’t get the scholarship, I wouldn’t be coming here.”

“I am overly blessed,” said Brittney Slater-Shew, freshman photography major and scholarship recipient.

“I would not be able to come to such a nice school without the scholarship.”

The communications scholarships went to Kyle Deeley and Anthony Troli for video production.

The photography scholarships were awarded to Mitchell Aleman and Slater-Shew. The theater scholarships were awarded to Taylor and Jordan Randall.

The performance scholarships not only help those students who receive it, but also help each department.

“It is a real important part of the recruitment,” said Gary Colby, professor of photography.

“The idea is to find students with unique and worthwhile talents that you don’t see every day. We want to draw them here.”

“It is a recruiting tool to make people aware of the department,” said David Flaten, professor of theatre arts. “A number of people who applied and did not receive the scholarship are still here.”

Recipients need to be willing to be challenged academically, Flaten said.

By coming to La Verne students can be involved in their field as well as others, which allow for well-rounded students.

The demanding portfolios and auditions allow the professors of each department to see the abilities of each applicant.

“In the application pool we have really extraordinary individuals,” Colby said. “By this evidence, you have a group of various serious students.”

Karlie Bettencourt can be reached at

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