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Scholarship Spotlight: Jennifer Marie Stramaglia Memorial Friends of the Arts Scholarship in Creative Writing
Dr. Marilyn N. Silva established the Jennifer Marie Stramaglia Memorial Friends of the Arts Scholarship in Creative Writing this year to recognize and support outstanding creative writing students.
“I came from a working class family and was the first in my family to go to college,” said Dr. Silva. “I wouldn’t have been able to attend college without scholarships provided by generous donors so that students like me could have opportunities that otherwise would not have been available to them. This scholarship is my way of paying it forward.”
Dr. Silva was a professor in the departments of Human Development and English at Cal State East Bay, specializing in language and linguistics, from 1986 until her retirement in 2007. During this time, she served as Chair of the Department of Human Development, Chair of the Department of English, and Chair of the Department of Art, as well as Associate Dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences. She taught undergraduate courses in human development and undergraduate and graduate courses in English. A member of the Friends of the Arts since 2007, she served as secretary and then president of the board.
Friends of the Arts (FOA) at Cal State East Bay is an organization of current and former faculty, staff, alumni, and supporters. Its mission is to encourage student artists by providing annual scholarships in creative writing, fine arts, music, and theatre arts and by working to increase audiences at campus performances and presentations.
“As a board member of FOA, I lobbied for creative writing to be made a permanent beneficiary of its scholarships,” Dr. Silva said. “Prior to the establishment of the creative writing endowment, FOA had two other endowments, one in theatre arts and one in music, and I wanted to add a third. FOA’s hope is that the endowments will allow FOA to provide scholarships in perpetuity.”
The Jennifer Marie Stramaglia Memorial Friends of the Arts Scholarship in Creative Writing was named by Dr. Silva in honor of the memory of one of her former students. Ms. Stragmalia (1964-2000) graduated from Cal State East Bay in 1987 with a B.A. in English and a minor in Italian. Subsequently, she completed a master’s in Linguistics at San Jose State University.
“Jennifer was excited by the act of learning and by scholarship itself. What I remember most about her was how her eyes lit up when she discussed her hard work and the joy she found in accomplishment,” Dr. Silva said. “When I learned she had passed away, I wanted to do something to keep her memory alive.”