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MJSA Education Foundation Awards $12,500 in Scholarships

The MJSA Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to advancing professional skills in jewelry making and design, recently awarded five students scholarships totaling $12,500. That amount includes, for the first time, a $2,500 scholarship provided by the Providence Jewelers Club Foundation for students enrolled in an eligible Rhode Island program.

The following five students received funding:

Rebecca Richards ($5,000 scholarship) is studying for a bachelor of fine arts degree in jewelry/metalsmithing at Maine College of Art (MECA) in Portland, Maine.Richards makes her jewelry from such diverse materials as yarn, brass, and mother of pearl, and her inspirations range from historical styles to various flora and fauna. Although she’s only entering her sophomore year, “her fabrication skills are impeccable; she has an eye of a jeweler,” writes Sharon Portelance, chair of the Metalsmithing and Jewelry Program at MECA. Richards expects to graduate in spring 2020.

Emily Fout ($2,000 scholarship) is pursuing a graduate gemologist diploma at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) campus in Carlsbad, California. Fout currently runs her own company, Fizzy Love Jewelry, which emphasizes designs showcasing gemstones and beads. Through her GIA classes, Fout hopes to enhance her artistic expression. She expects to graduate in May 2018, after which she wants to begin GIA’s graduate jeweler program.

Jaclyn Bush ($1,500 scholarship) is also pursuing a graduate gemologist diploma at the GIA’s Carlsbad campus. In addition to completing her GIA studies, Bush works full time in the repair shop at Jared the Galleria of Jewelry in Houston; assists Designer Jewelers, an independent retailer also in Houston; and does custom jewelry work for her own small business. She is scheduled to graduate in April 2019.

Katelyn Butler ($1,500 scholarship) is working toward her Masters of Fine Arts degree at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) in Edwardsville, Illinois. Following undergraduate studies that emphasized technical mastery of materials, Butler entered the master’s program “to give meaning to my work by developing and discovering the philosophies behind it.” Since 2011 she’s appeared in more than two dozen curated or juried exhibitions (winning six juror’s awards) and earned nine previous scholarships. Butler is scheduled to graduate in 2020, and she plans to pursue careers as both a jewelry maker and a teacher.

Valerie James ($2,500 scholarship through the Providence Jewelers Club Foundation) is pursuing a graduate jeweler diploma in jewelry and metalsmithing at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, Rhode Island. After studying for a bachelor’s degree at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, she entered the master’s program at RISD to refine her knowledge of traditional jewelry-making techniques and 3-D modeling. A 2017 Saul Bell Award finalist in the Emerging Jewelry Artist category, James expects to graduate in May 2019. 

A 501(c)(3) non-profit subsidiary of MJSA (the trade association dedicated to professional jewelry making and design), the MJSA Education Foundation develops and supports programs that help to ensure the jewelry industry maintains a qualified, competitive workforce. To date, it has given over $200,000 in scholarship funding since 1997. Funds for the scholarships are generated through the Foundation’s Scholarship Group, which consists of six permanent endowment funds managed by the Rhode Island Community Foundation on behalf of MJSA and the Foundation.

Any student enrolled in a jewelry program, whether through a university or trade school, who intends to pursue a career in the jewelry industry, and who can demonstrate financial need, is eligible to apply for an MJSA Education Foundation scholarship. Applicants are assessed on the basis of course of study, academics, career plans, recommendations, and industry experience. Students must be U.S. citizens.

To learn more about the MJSA Education Foundation and various educational and professional opportunities, click here

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