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Alicea Sperstad Rural Writer Scholarship

1 winner$500
Application Deadline
Apr 18, 2024
Winners Announced
May 18, 2024
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior, 2/4-year undergraduate, or graduate student
Field of Interest:

Alicea Sperstad was a beloved sister and a budding writer who passed away too soon.

Alicea faced many barriers to fulfilling her writing potential, including being a young mother from a rural town with a history of trauma. A history of gender bias in the publishing industry and a lack of mentors in the field add to the obstacles that women face when pursuing careers as writers.

This scholarship aims to support women who are interested in becoming writers so they have the financial resources necessary to achieve their dreams.

Any female high school senior, two or four-year undergraduate, or graduate student who is interested in becoming a writer may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, tell us why writing is important to you.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published November 17, 2023
Essay Topic

Why is writing important for you personally?

400–600 words

Winners and Finalists

May 2023

Lilly Slipher
Dianna Scott
Zoya Beeman
Audrey Bergen
Alyssa Luoma
Tiffany Rogers
Ashley Skinaway
Sophia Jimenez
Avril Mapps
Jessica Clark
Ismahan Ahmed
Kae Mahnke
Danika Rejuste
Kenzie Avalos
Katelynne Russell
Tyana Cheeks-Huntley

Winning Application

Sophia Escajeda
San Francisco State UniversityPittsburg, CA
Writing is my lifeline. It brings me so much joy. It's an escape. A tool. A power. I have been writing since I was a child, basing my short stories on whatever TV show I watched that day. It wasn't until my eighth-grade year that I realized it was what I wanted to do. With writing you can tell the stories of the worlds in your head, tell stories of the characters, and write the happy endings you've always wanted. I throw myself into my work and I can't stop. My stories always play in my head. My fingers always itch to hit the keys because I cannot live without writing. I can't imagine my life without writing. When I couldn't tell my family the problems I was dealing with, and when I couldn't find the words to express the slip in my mental health. I wrote. I wrote poems, I wrote my feelings out through my characters. After one of the darkest moments of my life, I wrote it into a play to cope. No one knew what I went through, but they said my peer reviewers said it was a moving play. Realistic. Something that needed to be said. A peer said they related to it as well. When my own words fail to speak for me, I can write them out in my story and finally process what I'm going through. I don't know where I would be if it wasn't for writing. I've found new confidence through writing and even more with the support I've received from my friends and family. My parents take such an interest in the stories I'm writing and even bought my books. It seems so simple to others, but with such a risky dream that some consider unrealistic and idiotic, I'm so happy to have supporters behind my back. It was with their support that I was able to publish my debut novel last year. I was able to keep going despite all of the doubt in my mind. When my book was released, my family posted all about it on Facebook and so many people I didn't know ordered my book online. Just recently, my sister sent a quote from my book just out of the blue. No warning, no reason, just because she liked it. It made me want to cry. My dad ordered his copy without telling me and opened it in front of me and I nearly burst into tears. It's the support that helps me keep going, and I'm forever grateful for that. No matter what I face or who doubts me, I won't stop writing. It doesn't matter if my books don't sell. I want to write and tell the stories that live in my head, and I'm going to do it one way or another.
Alicia jarrett
University of Washington-Bothell CampusRenton, WA
I wrote a children's book called Tooties Tutus. Is inspired by my daughter who has very eccentric style of clothing. Her father didn't know he's understand her style and tried to get her to change her ways. I could see that his forceful attempts really made her feel like she couldn't be herself. So I wrote a book that rhymes for children to understand that even if the people around you who love you don't understand you and your ways that it's okay to still stay true to yourself. I love writing and I've always been told I've been good at it. I never thought of it as being a career for me until I got inspired to write that book. I now want to make a whole series of different lessons that each one of my children teach me about life. I have six children so that's a lot of lessons lol. Well I haven't got my book published yet I am actively seeking a writing agent. I also recently got accepted to the University of Washington where I will be obtaining my degree in psychology I already have my AA so I'm going for my bachelor's so that I can be a counselor. Early on an experienced a lot of trauma and I live dealing with it was very unhealthy. Unfortunately I passed down a lot of my negative traits to my children until I noticed that they were being affected by it and then instead of blaming children which is unfortunately done I took a hard look at myself. From there it started a whole journey of healing which initially was only about me and what I needed to work on. But once I reached a certain point I realized that these valuable lessons that I was learning I could use to help others that have been through the same things that I have been through. Unfortunately, I wasn't alone when it comes to dealing with trauma and a negative way. It is common for people to numb the pain by using substances or other addictions. It's also easy to suppress these feelings having it turn into passive aggression which ends up becoming explosive. But the reality is it's so much harder to deal with that pain from the past and day to day than it is to heal from it and move on and let it go. It's a scary thing when you first start but it's so worth it! So I hope that my writing and my career allows me to show people the beauty and healing and discover their worth!


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 18, 2024. Winners will be announced on May 18, 2024.

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