2022 EDI Conference Travel Award Recipients
Joshua R. Lamont
Early-Career Award Recipient
If you are wondering if applying for the VASTA EDI award, please take this as your sign to do so! I applied under the guidance of my mentor, Leigh Smiley, who spoke nothing but praise and high honors towards the VASTA community. "It's where you will meet all your people!" And it's true. I was pleased to receive the 2022 EDI award for the VASTA conference in Sonoma, CA. This was the first in-person conference since the pandemic. At first, I was skeptical because I thought this was just going to be a stuffy conference full of know-it-alls. My judgments were quickly laid to rest from the start! This truly is a community of voice professionals who are seeking to use our natural instruments for agents of change! From the panels to the exhibitions to the group work and the conversations - everything about this conference was made to help YOU make the meaningful connections to begin, continue, or reflect on your career. The uniqueness of the VASTA community is how many people are doing so many different things. Yes, the voice is the entry point, but the methods and the innovations are remarkable. I truly walked away with a greater sense of pride in this work. A sense of duty for this work. And a belief in the people who are actively working everyday to help. Thank you Leigh! You were right again!! Thank you to the Diversity Committee. Seriously... thank you thank you! Thank you to the organizers. The love, the care and the attention! Thank you. Thank you to the panelists (especially Ms. Nicole Cowans and Mr. Stan Brown!) I cannot wait to come back. And I look forward to hosting a panel one day in the future!!
- Joshua R. Lamont
Graduate Student Scholarship Award Recipient
2018 EDI Award Recipients
Early-Career Award Recipient
"I was very honored to receive the Diversity Committee’s Early Career Scholarship for the 2018 VASTA Conference in Seattle. Firstly, the monetary value of the scholarship made it financially possible for me to attend. More importantly, however, it gave me the opportunity to be further welcomed into VASTA and the Diversity Committee. At both the 2018 conference and my first conference in Chicago in 2016, my biggest take away was the strong sense of community and support within VASTA. What I found truly remarkable about the Seattle conference was the expansion of that community through the partnership with PAVA. It was such a fantastic opportunity to be able to take part in workshops and presentations led by members of PAVA, who brought a more scientific approach to voice work. Bringing in more science, and specifically anatomical underpinnings of voice work, has been something I have been aiming to improve within my own practice, so this was truly a conference tailor-made for my development. Furthermore, in October of 2018, I started the MFA Voice Studies program at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. The 2018 VASTA conference was a perfect introduction to the rigorous and diverse training I am currently receiving. Finally, the conference inspired me to become more actively involved in VASTA. I have joined the Diversity Committee, where I am able to be a voice for disabled practitioners. I hope in the future to be able to take on leadership roles within VASTA and help to continue the growth of this wonderful organization."
- Sammi Grant
International Diversity Scholarship Award Recipient
VASTA Seattle 2018 has been one of my most enriching professional experience where I not only got to interact with like-minded professionals but also got an opportunity to start conversations crossing borders. The entire vibe of the conference was extremely driven and warm. It is not every day that I personally get to learn and interact with global voice community as VASTA due to the geographical constraints. The ideas and innovations presented in the conferences challenged me to widen my perspective and allowed an increased bandwidth to my practice. While I met new faces, got to put faces to the much-known names, I also built new relationships. It brings me immense joy to say that some such connections are being continued beyond the conference and I thank VASTA for making this possible. I returned with an increased sense of thrill to do more and a treasure of new knowledge.
- Hetal Varia
2016 EDI Award Recipients
International Diversity Scholarship Recipient
VASTA Chicago 2016gave the opportunity to exchange experiences and ideas about our profession with dear colleagues.It allowed me to build valuable networks and bridges with other teachers of the voice and speech. I could only define the experience as transforming and inspiring. VASTA's approach to diversity and interculturalism is not merely a matter of being politically correct or complying with an agenda. Rather, it responds to an authentic aim of learning among equals and the spirit of growing not only as professionals but also as human beings.
International Scholarship Recipient
VASTA Chicago 2016 was very inspiring for me to come into contact with many high-level voice professionals from all over the world, to interact with them sharing questions, and to have the opportunity to discover how many different voice methods do exist. I had the chance to come across other theatre methods where the artist’s emotional life is evaluated as a key factor in voice teaching; this made the VASTA Conference an essential experience to me.
2015 EDI Award Recipients
Diversity Scholarship Recipient
VASTA Montreal 2015 gave me the opportunity to engage with voice practitioners from around the world. I reunited with friends, colleagues, and mentors to play, to listen and to ask profound questions about voice pedagogy, practice, cultural inclusivity, and identity. It was an invaluable experience that reinforced my responsibility as a practitioner and educator.
- Sayda Trujillo
VASTA International Scholarship Recipient
Would I suggest others apply for future VASTA scholarships? Yes! Did I feel included, yes!Would I enthuse over the outstanding opportunities to share practice and network with other voice and speech professionals? Yes!VASTA’s pluralistic approach to inclusivity was not a sign of fashionable tokenism; there was a genuine curiosity about my own journey into the profession and the challenges I have faced so far as a creative, black, male gay individual.
- Joel Trill
2014 EDI Award Recipients
Diversity Scholarship Recipient
The VASTA Diversity Scholarship gave me the means to attend my very first conference. Had it not been for the award, I would have missed out on valuable connections, especially to other teachers of color. The bonds I formed at that first conference led to my presenting a panel with my new found comrades the following year. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow with my peers.
- Alicia Richardson