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Six Brooklyn College M.F.A. students — three women from the Television and Radio department and three from the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema — were awarded scholarships by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts this fall.

“This achievement should leave little doubt about the quality of education aspiring video and film professionals receive at our institution,” said Maria Conelli, dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts.

The scholarships recipients from TV & Radio were Julia Fitzgerald, who got the BBC America award; Karina Robledo, who got the Dreamworks Animation Scholar scholarship; and Erika Gregorio, who garnered the DLT Entertainment Scholar award. The Feirstein students were Khaula Malik, who received the John Grist Documentary Scholar; and Shannan Shaugnessy and Shannon Ryan, each of whom received a ‘Woman of Her Word Disabilities Scholar’ award.

“The generous scholarship provided by BBC America will enable me to experiment with innovative storytelling tools as I prepare to shoot my first 360-degree short film soon,” said Fitzgerald who is in the second year of her MFA program. She is trying to balance her long- standing interest in documentaries and visual storytelling with her interest in current events and global affairs. Prior to enrolling at Brooklyn College’s Feirstein, she completed her bachelor’s degree in international relations at City College.

For Ryan, a second year M.F.A. student at Feirstein who is currently working on her thesis, receiving the Woman of Her Word Disabilities Scholar award, “has lightened my financial burden and will contribute to my limited budget with productions and research costs.”

A Columbia College Chicago graduate who did several internships and freelance assignments before enrolling at Feirstein, Ryan hopes to have the opportunity to “someday use film to give a voice and empower minorities and individuals with disabilities.” Robledo, an education specialist for Sunnyside Community Service in Queens who runs an afterschool program and a summer camp, is also completing her thesis short.

“It will explore the effects of drugs in both adults and children and the negative toll they take when they are misused,” said Robledo.

Gregorio, currently shooting her thesis project in her native Peru, wants to focus on television production and telling stories of people who are usually overlooked. Her project focuses on the lives of children who have to work for a living.

Malik, a Pakistani-American filmmaker who studied anthropology and economics as an undergraduate student, already had experience directing and producing shows for Pakistani television. She is currently in the post-production stages of a documentary about the third- gender community in Pakistan.


Lastly, with a background in theater and scenery construction, Shaughnessy, an aspiring screenwriter, plans to develop a project about the challenge of living with disabilities and the alarming increase of young people in the country who have fallen victim of a stroke over the last decade.

“They are a well-rounded group of women who have made us all proud,” said Professor Katherine Fry, the chair of TV & Radio who attended the ceremony along with Associate Professor Miguel Macías, the director of the Brooklyn College radio station.

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