WJA awards $20,000 in student scholarships

The Women’s Jewelry Association awarded $20,000 in student scholarships to eleven budding jewelry designers in 2006. The annual awards are based on slides of three finished pieces submitted by each student, who must be enrolled in a jewelry or watch design study program in the United States. Two references also were required from either teachers or gallery/store owners who are familiar with the student and her work.

In addition to the monetary award, the top three scholarship recipients will receive a bonus scholarship contributed by the Bell Group/Rio Grande to attend the Clasp Conference in Nashville, Tenn. (Sept. 15-17).

WJA’s top student scholarship—the $5000 June Herman Scholarship—was awarded to Yuchun Cheng, a student at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She is working on her Masters in Fine Arts, specializing in Metal Art Sculpture. The Taiwan native’s entry was titled, “Birth, Waiting, Growth, and The End.”

The second place scholarship of $3,000 was awarded to MJ Oref. Oref is pursing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in jewelry and metal smithing at Savannah College of Arts and Design. After a 25-year professional career, Oref decided that her life needed a creative change, and she is planning to work as a designer/jeweler when she completes her program.

The third place scholarship of $2,500 was awarded to Sim Luttin of Indiana University.

In addition, $1,500 scholarships were also awarded to Induk Ellis Kim, Indiana University, Alexia Cohen of Mass College of Art, and Moira Lime of Indiana University. $1,000 Scholarships were awarded to Maggie Wood, Tyler Art School at Temple University, Lisa Wilson, Indiana University, Cheryleve Acosta Guelu, New Mexico State University, Davinvia Miraval, University of Texas El Paso, and Tara Magboo, San Diego State University.

Scholarship funds were raised from the proceeds of WJA’s Silent Auction held during its annual Awards for Excellence celebration in July, 2005, as well as from the contributions from companies and individuals who support WJA’s mission. Sponsors include the June Herman Fund; David B Rosenberg Scholarship Fund; Gumuchian Fils Ltd. Fund; Helene Fortunoff Fund; Kaiser-Time Jewelry Fund: M. Markman-Suberi Bros. Fund; Phyllis & Ira Bergman Fund; Samuel Aaron Co. Scholarship Fund, and Billie Sutter Fund, I B Goodman Fund.

The Scholarship committee is also responsible for the WJA Member Grants, a program offered by WJA to encourage and assist members with their continuing education.