SFCC Announces Katie Besser Student Awards

Recipients were recognized in a ceremony at Meow Wolf on May 11
Virginia Gonzales received Richard Bradford Memorial Creative Writing Scholarship

Left to right:  SFCC Foundation Executive Director Kelly Marquez, SFCC Foundation Richard Bradford Memorial Creative Writing Scholarship winner Virginia Gonzales and SFCC Foundation Operations Coordinator Maria Montoya at the awards celebration in the Rainbow, Rainbow space at Meow Wolf.

 Santa Fe Community College’s emerging writers, photographers and mixed media artists were recognized during the Katie Besser Awards celebration hosted by Meow Wolf on May 11. 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 thirteenth annual winner of Santa Fe Community College Foundation’s Richard Bradford Memorial Creative Writing Scholarship was announced at the conclusion of the awards celebration. Virginia Gonzales 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:

First Place:
Ayla Humphrey – “Illusion”

First Place:
Laurie Hilton – “Border”

Runners Up:
Aja Riggs – “Autofill”
Christine Schwatken – “When No One’s Looking”
Charmayne Samuelson – “Mesmer Mirage”

Honorable Mention:
Ian Reschke – “Disillusionment”

First Place:
Jesse Colvin – “Lessons in Adobe”

Runner Up:
Abigail Rael – “Pass Through Me”

Honorable Mention:
Aja Riggs – “Missing Piece”

Creative Non-Fiction
First Place:
Abigail Rael – “Who Learned What?”

Runners Up:
Brielle D. – “y = mx + b, maybe?”
Rosalie Calhoun – “Toad Tripping”

Honorable Mention:
Charmayne Samuelson – “The Vortex of Death”

Academic Essay
First Place:
Virginia Gonzales – “Getting Better”

Runners Up:
Luis Ramirez – “Tech in Time”
Saif Mahmood – “Televising Criminal Trials”

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 support of Meow Wolf. The Katie Besser Art & Writing Awards are directed by Genevieve Betts.

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

Copies of Accolades designed by Vitória Oliveira Dos Santos and featuring the winning image for the image/photography category, “Illusion” by Ayla Humphrey

SFCC Professor Genevieve Betts hosting the Katie Besser Awards Celebration at Meow Wolf.


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.

Visit sfcc.edu or call 505-428-1000.

Follow us:  Facebook | X (formerly Twitter) | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram