Santa Fe Community College Announces Katie Besser Student Awards

Recipients were recognized in an online ceremony on May 4
Christine Schwatken received Richard Bradford Memorial Creative Writing Scholarship

 Santa Fe Community College’s emerging writers, photographers and mixed media artists were recognized during the Katie Besser Awards celebration hosted online by the SFCC Library on May 4. The awards were named for the late Katie Besser in recognition of her love of literature and creative writing. The event celebrated students’ creative expression through writing, photography and media arts. Writers representing SFCC’s diverse community read from their winning works.

The twelfth annual winner of Santa Fe Community College Foundation’s Richard Bradford Memorial Creative Writing Scholarship was announced at the conclusion of the awards celebration. Christine Schwatken will receive the $1,000 scholarship. Named for the author of the 1968 classic Red Sky at Morning, the scholarship was initiated by author Michael McGarrity, the late arts advocate Charmay Allred and former Santa Fe city councilwoman Rebecca Wurzburger.

These are this year’s Katie Besser Student Award winners by category:

Image and text:

Winner: She by Melissa Cunningham


  • Lady Of Guadalupe by Nehemiah Martinez
  • Goddess by Cindy Cotner

Honorable mentions: 

  • Beneath the Flesh by Cindy Cotner
  • Watching the Void by Emmanuelle John
  • New Mexico Sign by Nehemiah Martinez


Creative Nonfiction:

Winner:  Do You Know How To Fight? by Ro Calhoun


  • La Sangre Llama by Marcelina Gallegos
  • Adrian by Emmanuelle John

Honorable Mention:

  • Brave Enough by Jonah Boudreau
  • The Earth Rang Twice by Marcelina Gallegos



Winner: Fruit of the Poisonous Tree by Marcelina Gallegos


  • Flight of the Cabbages by Neil Norby
  • Passing by Cindy Cotner

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Goodnight, Dear Friends, the Sun Will Rise by Marissa Meyers
  • Mental by Elizabeth Garduno
  • Aunt Bertha’s Quilt (Great-grandma) by Irene Edwards
  • Red Scare by Anna Carvlin
  • Forgive Me by Ro Calhoun
  • Little Girl, Little Girl-After Mother Goose by Marcelina Gallegos



Winner: Awakened Intelligence: Version 2.0 by Ian Reschke


Instructor Nominated:

Winner: Then I Would Hear Her by Aremi Chavez



Winners: Witches by Marcelina Gallegos


  • Opening It Up by Christine Schwatken
  • Ticking of a Second-Hand Clock by Marissa Meyers

Honorable Mentions: 

  • A Love Letter to Oceans, Sands, and Warm Blue Eyes by Marissa Meyers
  • Seraphim by Theodore Bloyd
  • A Different Sky by Neil Norby
  • Stuffed Animal Factory by Lucinda Slattery

 The Katie Besser Awards are presented through a collaboration of SFCC’s English and Creative Writing programs, SFCC’s Media Arts department, SFCC Foundation, and with the generosity and support of our judges, Peter Taussig, SFCC Media Arts Student Intern Najmeh Mousavi, The SFCC Library, and the Santa Fe Literary Review. The Katie Besser Art & Writing Awards are directed by Emily Stern.

Note: A copy of Accolades, which includes the winning entries, is available to download here.

Santa Fe Community College celebrates its 40th Anniversary as the pathway to success for individuals and the community. SFCC provides affordable, high-quality programs that serve the academic, cultural, and economic needs of the community. The college welcomes over 10,000 students per year in credit, noncredit, workforce training, personal enrichment, and adult programs.
A “Best for Vets” and a “Military Friendly” school.

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