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Announcing the Winners of Project Voice 2020 Rising Voices Scholarship!

As tough of a decision it was to choose among the many talented & hard-working applicants who submitted to our scholarship program, we have come to our final conclusion. Over the course of one and a half month, we received a total of 27 applications from individuals and teams and 40+ worth of audio file submissions to review. As a result, we’ve had many talented applicants who scored very high on their submissions. The number of overqualified applicants was astoundingly more than we expected.

For that reason, though, something that the mentors and I had to remind ourselves while tuning into many of these impressive submissions are some of the following big questions: who would gain the most value from participating in our mentorship program? Who do we think will learn and benefit the most as a Rising Voices Scholar participant? How do we determine who has the potential as well as the passion to launch a podcast of their own?

We believe that a holistic review requires us to take a step back and consider the fact that not all applicants are equipped with the same knowledge, skills, and resources. We weren’t looking for the best submission or the most well-executed content per se (oftentimes, we had to pause and ask, “Do these amazing, high-scoring applicants really need us to launch a podcast?”). As judges, we paused and discussed about the importance and validity of taking an individual’s need into account.

The Project Voice mentors are very proud to announce our selected 2020 Rising Voices Scholars: Nisha Patel, Shania Ambros, Karishma Kasad, and Juliette Lin. Our mentorship program officially starts in early July and the Rising Voices Scholars are expected to launch their own podcast in the fall of 2020. Scroll down to read more about each of our scholars and their topic proposals (subject to change)!

Nisha Patel | $1000
Karishma Kasad | $1000
Shania Louise Sagra Ambros | $1000
Juliette Lin | $300

Congratulations to the winners of Project Voice 2020 Rising Voices Scholarship! Read and get to know each of the winners.

NISHA PATEL (she/her/hers) is an award-winning queer Gujarati poet & artist. She is the City of Edmonton’s Poet Laureate, and the Canadian Individual Slam Champion 2019. She is a recipient of the Edmonton Artists’ Trust Fund Award. She is also the Executive Director of the Edmonton Poetry Festival. Her debut collection is forthcoming with Newest Press. Nisha works to further her goal of building a stronger artistic community through living in her truth. 

📍 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Why are you the best candidate for our scholarship program?
I have been in several public-facing roles, often speaking on behalf of the arts, poets, women, mentally-ill, and POC bodies. This has given me a platform that can be utilized to spread awareness and new understandings of justice, empathy, and love, to audiences of Asian women and diaspora. In my practice, the one regret I have is that I do not have enough opportunities to create for and interact with Asian women, my closest comrades and comfort when it comes to building resilience. 

Please share with us your dream podcast.
The story of poetry in the consciousness of the people has always been that poets themselves were hated or admired, cast upon, and cast out, if they weren’t white. But as long as Black, Indigenous, POC poets have always been creating, we’ve known that traditional, moneyed, academic poetry books were not made for us. Em-Dash Poetry is a celebration and exploration of the voices that are at the forefront of the upsurgence of new poets who tell the truth and live their lives despite backlash, and our place in shaping craft and furthering the art form itself.

Facebook: @anothernisha
Instagram: @anothernisha
Twitter: @anothernisha
Patreon: @anothernisha

KARISHMA KASAD (she/her/hers) is an asexual, Asian American aquarius aiming to acquire astounding audio programme abilities. Alliteration aside, Karishma has simultaneously lived the Asian parent’s dream (by being accepted into a top 10 medical school) AND nightmare (by realizing it wasn’t her calling and leaving without an MD trailing her last name). She has since been accepted into a PhD program; thus once again putting herself on the track to become a doctor: just not the kind her family would brag about. Karishma has a soft spot for comedy and loves to make people laugh as much as she loves to learn.

📍 Detroit, Michigan, USA

Why are you the best candidate for our scholarship program?
Being a minority is nothing new to me, but it has inspired me to educate others about what these experiences can entail. In medical school, I routinely spoke to my peers about LGBT inclusion with the intense passion this topic generates in me. This resonated with my professors, and I was asked to host presentations about LGBT awareness. I have a unique communication style that allows me to connect with people. Being open and sharing opinions is the first step toward making social change, which I hope to do with my podcast content.

Please share with us your dream podcast.
Welcome to Love In The Time of Corona! Where we discuss passion during the plague. I'm your not-yet-VIRAL host Karishma Kasad. Join me as I interview guests about popular depictions of romance in media and their larger effects on the public consciousness. 

Twitter: @IsticuffsF

SHANIA LOUISE SAGRA AMBROS (she/her/hers) is a 20 year old Igorot-American residing in Boston, Massachusetts. Despite immigrating to the States at a young age, the Philippines has always had a place in her heart. However, the limited media representation of Filipino and Filipino-Americans skewed her understanding of her own identity. Shania aims to produce multimedia work encompassing Igorot cultural education and appreciation, so that the Filipino narrative can recognize its diverse Indigenous identities.  

📍 Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Why are you the best candidate for our scholarship program?
I was forced to thrive in an environment that didn’t want my ideas, but needed me as a statistic. I didn’t know how to face my problems because I lacked a support system that could help me navigate conscious discussions about Southeast race, migration, and identity traumas. After taking a radio and podcast performance course, I realized there was a potential for me to open up about these topics through this budding platform. 

Please share with us your dream podcast.
Uprooted shares the stories of separation, sacrifices, and community of Cordillera families during COVID-19 in order to be a source of reflection, visibility, and healing. This lifestyle podcast shares the stories that we are too proud to share. Each episode will be about 10-12 minutes long and will be told through narratives. My dream podcast asks my New England Igorot community how we can be resilient despite the several hardships we are confronted with, in order to find out how we are staying connected while apart.

Instagram: @ainahsamit

JULIETTE LIN (she/her/hers). I am a twenty-four year old Asian American woman, whose parents are first generation immigrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan. I went to school at the University of Southern California and worked at a start-up doing strategy, sales, and operations for 2.5 years. I quit my job back in December 2019 to re-examine my life and my values and figure out how to lead a life that contributes more greatly to moving society forward, beyond my own needs. I started my own YouTube channel, started my own podcast interviewing people who have taken leaps of faith, and am currently doing a lot of work to incorporate more self-love as a way to heal myself and help others as well.

📍 Los Angeles, California, USA

Why are you the best candidate for our scholarship program?
I believe I would be a good candidate for this scholarship because I want to use my podcast to shed a light on the privileges that people have and create a space for people to share and learn openly. I think it is important work that needs to be done in order to move conversations forward and allow people to recognize that their privileges come at the expense of other people's disadvantages and oppressions and help people understand their role in fighting for justice.

Please share with us your dream podcast.
The podcast that I envision is called Privileged. Each episode explores one facet of "privilege" whether that's white male privilege, cis-gender privilege, East Asian privilege, etc. and provides historical context and statistics to paint a larger picture of how systems of privilege advantage certain groups of people over others, through nothing more than characteristics that were assigned at birth. Each episode will also discuss how each group of people can use their privileges to help disadvantaged communities and re-evaluate their own judgments of others. It will be a way for audiences to acquire a language and the tools they need to examine their own privilege and start to work towards a better society.

Facebook: @heyyyjuliette
Instagram: @juliettetlin

Wish us luck,

The Project Voice Team