Reyna Grande Scholarship

Reyna Grande

The Reyna Grande Scholarship is awarded annually to an enrolled student at Kresge College who proposes a creative project—involving arts, writing, or other creative media work—intended to advance the standing and visibility of Latino/a culture and history. The scholarship recipient’s proposed work might promote positive outcomes for communities identifying as Latin American or Chicana/o American, or challenge established narratives about, or otherwise strengthen dialogue about or around Latina/o/x identity. Up to two scholarships, ranging from $250 to $500, are awarded annually.

Directions for Applicants

Interested students should submit, to, by March 6, 2023:

— a brief (200-400 word) personal statement of purpose that outlines a plan for a new creative work with intentions matching the award description.

—a work sample of previous creative work in any medium or genre, demonstrating the applicant’s readiness to produce the proposed work. Examples include but are not limited to: a short story, a brief (5-10 page) collection of poetry or other writing; a short film; a collection of images or documented artworks; recordings, or other documentation of creative work.

We recommend that applicants describe, in their statement of purpose, an intention to participate in the creative community at UC Santa Cruz, either through participation in writing or arts curricula, or through their involvement in student groups associated with writing or creative work. Applicants may be at any stage in their degrees, and do not need to be active or declared majors in the arts or literature / creative writing. The work sample need not specifically meet the criteria for the award, but it should demonstrate commitment to some creative practice. Undocumented students are highly encouraged to apply.

The selected scholarship awardees will be asked to work with campus resources to exhibit, perform, and/or publish their completed work: and the Kresge Provost’s Office will help them in communications with the Latin American and Latino Studies Department, Research Center for the Americas, and/or other campus units where appropriate, to determine ways of exhibiting, performing, and/or publishing their finished work. 

Reyna Grande is a first-generation alumnus of Kresge College and UCSC’s Literature / Creative Writing major, and the author of the bestselling memoir, The Distance Between Us (Atria, 2012), where she writes about her life before and after she arrived in the United States from Mexico as an undocumented child immigrant. The much-anticipated sequel, A Dream Called Home (Atria), was released in 2018. Her other works include the novels, Across a Hundred Mountains, (Atria, 2006) and Dancing with Butterflies (Washington Square Press, 2009) which were published to critical acclaim. The Distance Between Us is also available as a young readers edition from Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Division–Aladdin. Her books have been adopted as the common read selection by schools, colleges and cities across the country. 

Reyna has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the International Latino Book Award. In 2012, she was a finalist for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Awards, and in 2015 she was honored with a Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature. The young reader’s version of The Distance Between Us received a 2017 Honor Book Award for the Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature and a 2016 Eureka! Honor Awards from the California Reading Association, and an International Literacy Association Children’s Book Award 2017. Reyna is a proud member of the Macondo Writer’s Workshop founded by Sandra Cisneros, where she has also served as faculty. 

Writing about immigration, family separation, language trauma, the price of the American Dream, and her writing journey, Reyna’s work has appeared in The New York Times, the Dallas Morning News, CNN, The Lily at The Washington Post, and Buzzfeed, among others.

To donate to the Reyna Grande Scholarship Fund, please click here.