The Muse Writers Center offers three to four college or graduate school scholarships each year and also has a fund to help writers attend conferences. Please see our tuition assistance page if you are looking for information on assistance affording Muse classes.
Scholarships for Muse Students for Conferences & Craft Development
The Muse Writers Center is very pleased and proud to announce the creation of The Julia Hislop Conference & Craft Development Fund. Named in honor of a fine writer and longtime friend of The Muse, The Fund will support writers in their ongoing education through participation in writers conferences and other craft-development opportunities. Dr. Julia Hislop was a life-long learner who believed everyone should try new things, explore new interests, and rejoice in learning. These scholarships are available to current and past students at the Muse Writers Center to help pay a portion of their tuition, expenses, and/or conference fees. Donations to the fund are very welcome.
Apply now for support for Conferences & Craft Development
- We will award funding at levels determined by need and available funds.
- Past winners are welcome to apply, but priority will be given to first-time applicants.
- Applications are accepted year-round.
- Apply by filling out this form.
Scholarships for Muse Students for College and Graduate School
The Muse Writers Center is excited to announce the establishment of the Joan Rorke-McClure Futures Scholarships through a generous donation from William McClure. Joan Rorke-McClure was a leading physician, lover of education, and friend to The Muse who always encouraged and helped foster a passion for learning. These scholarships are available to current and past students at the Muse Writers Center to help pay a portion of their tuition/expenses for beginning or continuing undergraduate or graduate study in creative writing or a related field. You can help make a difference by donating to the scholarship fund.
- We awarded four scholarships for the coming academic year, each with a value of up to $1,000
- The deadline to apply was August 15, 2022. The winners are announced below.
- Next year's applications will be available in the early summer. Past winners are welcome to apply, but priority will be given to first-time applicants.
Ean Casey: graduate student, pursuing an B.S. in Biology with a minor in Creative Writing at the College of William & Mary: "My experience with The Muse has allowed me to further my passion for writing and feel comfortable pursuing writing as a career. After starting classes with The Muse, I have had the opportunity to read in poetry slams, compete for the title of Youth Poet Laureate of Hampton Roads and interview with literary agents at the Hampton Roads Writers Conference. Additionally, my wonderful Muse instructors have helped me develop my craft, become a better reader, and workshop pieces that got me accepted into the Young Writers Workshop at the University of Virginia and win both a National Gold Medal for Poetry and an American Voices Award through the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. None of these amazing opportunities would have been possible without the guidance and support The Muse has offered me."
Alondra Duenas: undergraduate student, pursuing an A.A at Tidewater Community College: "I plan to use this scholarship in order to pursue my writing education and find my passion through these classes. As a 16 year old community college student, my ultamate goal is to write and publish a book. I plan to minor in Creative Writing in university."
Gabriela Igloria: undergraduate student, pursuing a B.A. in English (Creative Writing) and Women's Studies at Old Dominion University: "I started taking classes with The Muse when I was still in middle school. At the time, I wasn't as interested in poetry as I was in fiction, but my exposure to different ways of thinking about creative writing at The Muse opened new areas of self-exploration for me, and I found my love for poetry there. My instructors and peers were always very supportive of me trying new things without the pressure of being "good" at new things that I often find in other environments, which is not to say that the instructors did not also encourage me to think critically about craft. The Muse provided me with many of my first lessons in understanding the tools of craft, performance, and constructive criticism at a young age. As I pursue a degree in English, which I hope to apply to a creative writing focus of work in the future, the foundational lessons from The Muse are something that I can carry with me always. Without the appreciation for different creative outlets that I developed at The Muse, I would not be the creative writing student that I am today, who is ever-curious about the world. I continue to apply that curiousity and openness to my work as a writer and artist and feel confident that I can apply these skills to any future field of work."
Tessa Wilkinson: undergraduate student, pursuing a Bachelor's of Arts & Sciences in Film & Media Studies with a minor in English (Creative Writing) at the College of William & Mary: "My experience with The Muse has made me much more sure of the career path I want to take. I have really enjoyed being immersed in such a wholly creative environment and being able to work on projects that directly align with film and creative writing at once. I would love to work at a similar organization in the future, or pursue a career in editing videos/film, as I have received more education in editing processes through my internship."
D'Andrea Brady: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Old Dominion University: "The Muse has helped me find new ways to express myself through writing. With the screenwriting class, I’m able to see how dialogue and conversations in film are being adapted from those of real life stories. I'm understanding tones of dialogue where characters can be relatable and seeing how movies can be used to both escape from your life and make you think about your life. Movies have more purpose than just being watched and admired."
Mira Dover: undergraduate student, pursuing a B.S. in Media Arts and Design with a minor in Creative Writing at James Madison University: "It truly feels like The Muse swept me up and welcomed me with its dedicated employees, incredible teachers, and inclusive community. One moment I was searching for local resources in Virginia, and then suddenly I was applying to be an intern and taking three classes! The teachers have created safe, kind environments within their classes, and I instantly felt at home discussing or sharing work. I learned so much about the social aspects of writing and networking that I won’t soon forget. My internship has been an amazing experience, and The Muse has crafted a community I plan to come back to often."
Sierra Foltz: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics: "My experience as a student at The Muse is 100% the reason I am pursuing an MFA right now. Through my conversations with various staff members and teachers who have pursued MFA's themselves, I was able to realize that an MFA is definitely the route I want to go with my own writing life and journey. Additionally, my experience teaching in the teen program with The Muse has enlivened my joy of teaching and working with teenagers, and I hope to continue doing similar work during and after my time as a graduate student."
Patrick Beaty: undergraduate student, pursuing a B.A. in Creative Writing at Purdue University: "It was not until after I moved away due to family that I realized how important writing had become to me during my time at The Muse. Writing quickly became my primary pastime, and I eventually changed my major from Engineering to Creative Writing to better pursue my dreams and goals and develop my writing further."
Sarah Fales: undergraduate student, pursuing a B.A. at Ursinus College (double major: English and Educational Studies, minor in Creative Writing): "I've always wanted to be a teacher, but the muse has definitely shifted that interest in the direction of being a creative writing or English teacher. Helping to give feedback and advice to others has really helped sharpen my editing skills, and I've worked with several younger writers in the past as a mentor figure."
Sierra Foltz: undergraduate student, pursuing a B.A. in English at The College of Wooster: "My experience with The Muse, both taking classes and getting to know the staff and teachers, has confirmed that I do want to pursue an MFA after I graduate. The insights of all of the people I have met at The Muse have helped me navigate this process and have shown me the myriad career paths a writer can take."
Maerine Mitchell: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) at Arcadia University: "I have always loved writing and have my Bachelors of Arts in Creative Writing (poetry). Taking classes at the Muse Writers Center allowed me to keep my writing fresh and up to date as well as hone my skills. I have wanted to go into writing and graduate school since my college graduation in 2007. I had a colleague I worked with and good friend, Chuck Hardwick, who adored the center and took classes there. He loved it and constantly talked about his experience which helped me begin to take classes. He passed away in 2013. I helped plan a memorial service at the Muse for him after his passing. I told him that I would pursue my writing one day and attend graduate school. I am finally able to fulfill that promise. Taking classes at The Muse influenced my choice to attend graduate school for a Masters of Fine Arts, as well as finally decide to go into Fiction. My participation in the children’s book writing workshop let me know I enjoyed putting together a fully developed story and that I was capable of doing so. The Muse really helped me stay on the path of one day being a published author, pursuing my passion of writing, and I hope that after I receive my MFA, that I can give back and volunteer as a teacher/workshop facilitator. I plan to use my MFA degree to teach, hoping to one day go into a full time career as a college professor and writer."
Emma Reilly: undergraduate student, pursuing a B.A. at Washington College (MD) (double major in English and History, minor in Creative Writing): "I have always had an interest in writing. My dream career path has been to become a published author for as long as I can remember. As any person interested in an artistic/creative career could probably attest to, however, the image of the 'starving artist' never really left my mind. I always pictured myself as someone who would have a desk job first and a passion for writing second. My experience at The Muse as a Teen Fellow allowed me to push past that. I was able to gain confidence in my abilities, connections with other writers in the community, and a host of new skills and techniques for plotting, editing, critiquing, and reading publicly. In addition to the skills I earned, the writing conference I attended as a part of the fellowship program introduced me to the world of editing and publishing. My conversation with the editors at the convention sparked my interest in a possible career as an editor or book agent. I'll be exploring these options as I search for internships in college. My experiences at The Muse solidified my desire to write now and in the future, and successfully introduced me to a number of "realistic" writing-based career options that I had not considered before."
Hayley Daniels: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Screenwriting at the University of Texas at Austin: "I can attribute my admission to a top five screenwriting program to the Muse Writers Center. Through Diane Fine’s mentorship, I was able to complete my 60-minute, teen drama TV pilot, Salem Heights, which earned my admission to the Radio, Television, and Film program at the University of Texas at Austin. The program hand-selects only seven of hundreds of applicants, and without the coaching and feedback on my script, I would not have had as strong of an application. The Muse has been a terrific resource in my life throughout the past six years. The Muse sparked my arts career in Hampton Roads, and I am blessed that the community resources Hampton Roads has to offer have afforded me the opportunity to study what I love in a new city. Austin, Texas may be my new home, but I pride myself on being from my hometown of Hampton Roads, Virginia--home of The Muse!"
Noa Greenspan: undergraduate student, pursuing a major in English/Creative Writing at Princeton University: "My experience at the Muse has shown me the enormous value of community when it comes to creating art. For me, it can feel somewhat daunting to share a poem in front of classmates or to read a story in front of an open mic audience--but the connection, support, and love I’ve received from those at the Muse has been such an enormous pay-off. Beyond simply giving me practical tools and advice to write well, my teachers fostered environments where I could share my work with confidence and get to know my fellow writers as they did the same. As I continue to develop as a writer in college, I now feel driven to seek out non-profits, literary magazines, and other spaces where I can highlight and lift up others’ creative voices."
Coral Kendall: undergraduate student, pursuing a minor in Creative Writing at Radford University: "Before The Muse, I thought I would write some poems over time and have them discovered and become famous after I am already dead, like Emily Dickinson or Anne Frank. But thanks to the teaching provided to me and community that welcomed me at The Muse, I know that I am capable of achieving much bigger aspirations. I’d be either dead, or unheard of, if it weren’t for The Muse Writers Center and that is how I choose to look at any new opportunity that presents itself."
Kavona K. White: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Randolph College: "Before The Muse, I was still shy and possibly unsure if I wanted to pursue writing seriously. I entered the Adult Writing Camp and left with so many new ideas and a lot of passion to write rigorously and professionally. I began writing more and researching into schools. I never imagined being accepted into a master’s program, but there it was, my acceptance letter from Randolph College. And along the way, I did get discouraged, I can admit. But I had constant and daily reminders of what I experienced with the Muse. I remember when Tim Seibles stated, "Be patient! Who are we racing?" And I asked myself the same thing every time I believed I was further away from my goals. But everything happens in its own time, and I believe my time is now."
Rebekah Coxwell: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (fiction) at Arcadia University. "My experience with The Muse has proven to me that writing is not a solitary experience. It is rooted in the community, in sharing good books and connecting with others whose passion happens to be writing as well. Since the beginning of my serious writing career, I have started to meet so many people that I would not have met otherwise, either through The Muse or through other writing workshops. My plan after graduation is to give back to the writing community once I finish school."
Alicia Dekker: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (fiction) at Queens University. "When my daughter was eight years old, I was looking for grown-up conversation and a way to reignite my creativity. I was drawn to The Muse by that wish for connectedness and a search for community--in addition to an obsessive compulsion to write fiction! Over the past decade, I have benefited in so many ways. I especially value having experienced and witnessed the transformative power that writing and sharing one’s story can have. I have seen veterans, senior citizens, stay-at-home moms, and teenagers find relief, validation, and confidence through their writing. And I have seen writers of all ages and backgrounds find commonality and delight in each other’s words. Earning an MFA will equip me to teach creative writing and provide me another means to “pay forward” the gifts I receive from The Muse. What an honor it will be to play a facilitating role in fostering this community."
Paula Fortin: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) at Old Dominion University. "The experience at the Muse is the reason I’m going to school. I want to be really good at what I do, and so I want to learn as much as possible and work as much as my health allows. I want my art to be created and I want to leave it here for anyone who might benefit, eventually."
Derek Spohn: undergraduate student, pursuing an B.A. in Spanish and English (Creative Writing) at Old Dominion University. "My experience with The Muse has helped me to establish that I would like to pursue gainful employment as a writer of science fiction in the long-term. It has boosted my confidence and provided me with new means to develop my story ideas and characters. When I interact with my fellow students at The Muse, I get to learn about the diversity of opinions and approaches that people take when writing. I have wanted to be a writer ever since I was a little kid. That said, I have struggled for most of that time to have the self-confidence to take the risk to write and to keep on going no matter how many rejection letters I receive when I submit my stories, because I know that, with the help of writing support groups such as The Muse, I can work to improve my writing skills even after I graduate with my Creative Writing degree."
Amanda Gomez: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) at Old Dominion University. "The Muse has shown me how to apply my degree outside of the academic realm. I have met people throughout the community, and this networking has helped me understand how I can use my academic knowledge to help create or contribute to cultural programs to touch everyday people, not just those inside of the "ivory" tower. The Muse has also helped me learn how to communicate that academic information in a way that is accessible to everyone, so it does not get lost in the literary showboating which often characterizes academia. Though I am still unsure what my choice of career will be in the future, I am slowly letting go of the clout of an academic teaching position, and I hope to work in some aspect of a foundation, arts nonprofit, or historical organization."
Megan Mann: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at West Virginia Wesleyan College. "I started taking classes at the Muse last fall, after a long hiatus from writing. I’m a stay-at-home parent and my kids were finally old enough and independent enough for me to focus again on my first love, poetry. Being at the Muse in a workshop setting was really affirming. I fell in love with poetry all over again. Then Suzanne Rhodes, one of my Muse teachers, encouraged me to pursue my MFA. I applied for the low-residency program at West Virginia Wesleyan and was accepted. So the Muse has had a direct impact on my decision to attend graduate school. Without the Muse, I may never have seen or realized how right an MFA program was for me. I am grateful for this community!"
Sarah Philpott: undergraduate student, pursuing a BA in English/Creative Writing at Hollins University. "The Muse has made me confident in my writing, in who I am, and the style I write in. I wouldn't have dared to go for a creative writing major, let alone write a book, with out them. I owe them so much. "
Jarrod Mitchell Harrison: graduate student, pursuing an M.F.A in Creative Writing (fiction) at Columbia University. "The Muse offered me a model for the type of literary community I’ve yearned for over the years. When I came to the Muse I was in the middle of applying to schools and I wanted feedback on some of my older work. After the last session, I knew that I would carry a bit of the muse around with me forever. I was comfortable at The Muse. That comfort is what drove me to enter Columbia University’s MFA program. While I’m a student at Columbia I will be equipping myself with the network and skills I need as a writer and citizen of the literary world. I’ll be bringing everything I learn back to Virginia. Ultimately, I want to help writers like myself who come from rural areas. There is not enough emphasis on the arts where I come from in Virginia (Surry County). I know I’ll be writing, but one of the goals I’m looking forward to reaching the most is giving back to the community I come from. I have begun working on a cross-platform program that helps foster creative writing in rural communities."
Jason Huff: undergraduate student, pursuing a transfer degree at Tidewater Community College, with the goal of a BA (English) and an MFA in Creative Writing. "Since taking classes and workshops at the Muse, I have been able to reevaluate my life and goals, and was inspired by the teachers there to pursue my dream of becoming a high school literature teacher. I really want to help teenagers find a productive and creative outlet for any hardship they may be going through, and it was writing that helped me through my high school years. I had lost that dream over several years of not writing, but within three sessions at the Muse, I felt the fire return. Now, it is something I know I will never give up again."
Amanda Huynh: graduate student, pursuing an M.F.A in Creative Writing (poetry) at Old Dominion University. "It has been refreshing working at The Muse as well as being a Muse student. My current workflow life revolves around creative writing in academia, but there’s so much more to the art of writing than what one learns within academia. For instance, the dos and don’ts of copy editing or the art behind public speaking, and outside of that, there’s even rediscovering the joy of writing. Sometimes writing can become so cumbersome that we, as writers, forget why we ventured into this field. I’m reminded of the creative power found in children writing poetry or stories. The past two years I’ve had the chance to work with children and young adults with their own creative writing in Houston as well as in Norfolk, and it’s been inspiring and motivating. The Muse is a gathering place for exploration, and I plan to become a part of organizations like The Muse to help continue nurturing young and old writers with their craft."
Evan Hartley: undergraduate student, pursuing B.A. in theater, cinema, and creative writing at Old Dominion University.. "The Muse has definitely influenced my career choice. When I first started classes at the Muse I was encouraged by Michael to start taking improv comedy. Through improv comedy I found my preferred genre of writing. I want to write for television because of The Muse’s encouragement and support."
Rhiannon Harvey: undergraduate student, pursuing B.A. at Duke University with a minor in creative writing. "As an entering college freshman I am not entirely sure of my career path, but The Muse has inspired me and encouraged me to pursue my passion through a creative writing minor, and possibly a career as an author. The Muse has taught me how to accept and use constructive criticism, how to combine imagery and dialogue, and most importantly how to believe in myself and my craft."
Sheila Sheppard: graduate student, pursuing an M.F.A in Creative Writing (nonfiction) at Old Dominion University. "When I began taking workshops at the Muse in the summer of 2014, I had never written anything that scared me. I was too concerned about what everyone would think, though I knew I had to overcome my fear if I were ever to write anything worth reading. The Muse gave me the courage to search for my own voice, and to admit that the writing path, however daunting, was one I truly wanted to walk. Thanks to the feedback and support of my teachers and fellow workshop participants, I was able to slowly build a portfolio for my graduate school applications. I am thrilled to begin my journey as an MFA candidate at ODU in Creative Writing, nonfiction, this August. I am also honored to serve as the instructor for the Journaling for Creative and Personal Growth class at the Muse this fall. The Muse has offered invaluable opportunities to connect with other writers both informally and through their fantastic community programs such as readings and gatherings. Attending the AWP conference with the Muse crew was an inspiring and humbling experience. Were it not for the Muse, I would still be cowering before my first drafts, afraid to make a sound. Instead, I am taking steps toward the career of my dreams, as both a student and teacher of writing."
Emily Duquette: graduate student, pursuing MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) at Old Dominion University. "The Muse has offered me a place to develop my skills in this time between creative writing programs. The community at the Muse has given me a support system that has reinforced my decision to go to graduate school and pursue my career as a poet."
Pamula Floyd: undergraduate student, pursuing BA in English (creative writing and journalism) at Old Dominion University. "It's been wonderful getting feedback from the other students. They have helped me in reducing my doubts over the idea to write a memoir."
Hayley Daniels: undergraduate student, pursuing BA in Theatre (creative writing minor) at James Madison University. "The Muse's Improv and Sketch comedy classes have inspired me and reinforced my desire to pursue a career in comedy. After graduating from JMU, I intend to move to Chicago and take classes in improv and sketch comedy at Second City. Performing and writing comedy is my passion and the Muse has provided me the resources to hone my skills."
Cindy K. Stone: undergraduate student, pursuing BA in Communications (with creative writing classes) at Old Dominion University. "I have loved writing as a form of expression since primary school. But after decades as a single mom working full-time, I wrote only for business applications. Taking courses at the Muse has re-ignited my passion for the craft of writing, and challenged me to continue revising and improving (my word work and myself). Plus, I am convinced there is no cooler, campier, more interesting collection of souls gathered anywhere else in Hampton Roads than at the Muse."
Leslie Samuels Entsminger: graduate student, pursuing graduate classes in Creative Writing (fiction) at Old Dominion University. "Because our family moved so frequently, my studies were interrupted and I was unable to start into an MFA program... When my husband retired and we moved into the Hampton Roads area in September 2010, I came across an advertisement for the Muse and signed up for Beginning Fiction. The class was a welcome diversion from the anxieties of the move and building, and as time went on, I felt a renewed happiness in expressing myself through writing. Earlier this summer, I realized that I was going to turn sixty in a few years. I reasoned that it would be better to reach this age with an MFA rather than not... I would not be following this path had not my earlier path intersected with the Muse."
Cassie Pinner: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Emerson College. "The Muse Writers Center served as the catalyst that allowed me to reconnect with my childhood passion and provided me with the knowledge that I could make writing into a career. At The Muse, I begrudgingly read poems that had never been uttered aloud to a room full of strangers, and I became invigorated by the overwhelming openness and support that I was met with. I found myself sharing my work more often and with more people, which allowed me to consider the possibilities of my talent. Without this network of listeners I don’t think I would have begun to consider an MFA Degree, much less apply... With my completed MFA Degree, I will be pursuing both professorial opportunities as well as positions at publishing companies. I will also be eternally seeking opportunities for my work to be published and trying to create communities for poets to find solace in, like I did at The Muse."
Sarah Pringle: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) at Old Dominion University. "My experience at the Muse has reinforced my decision to teach creative writing and pursue a creative writing MFA. I love being part of the Muse writers community and fell very comfortable and welcomed at all events and classes. In particular, my involvement with the Muse this summer helped me to stay passionate and inspired while making tough decisions for my future; the opportunities I have been given at the Muse are a major factoring reason in why I decided to continue at ODU."
Lauren Hurston: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Old Dominion University. "When I first started classes at The Muse, I had only a vague idea that I wanted to become a writer and what the writing life would entail... I felt the need for an artistic community with similar interests to my own, and The Muse has provided that for me. I am consistently inspired by the teachers and my fellow students, and I consider many of them my mentors and my dearest friends. The workshops helped me become a better writer in that they were thorough, yet enjoyable, the teachers were diverse and knowledgeable, and the quality of creative guidance was excellent. I feel fully prepared and confident to pursue a creative writing program because of the support from The Muse writing community, and for that, I am truly grateful."
Tori Kerr: undergraduate, majoring in English & Creative Writing at The George Washington University. "Prior to the Muse I thought my career as an English major would slant in the direction of struggling artist/writer or teacher. This is what I had come to expect due to societal stigma against scholars of the arts... I was not aware of the number of opportunities an education in literature could provide, such as book, magazine and newspaper editing and publishing—not to mention nonprofit work as well..."
Rachel Thompson: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (fiction) at Vermont College of Fine Arts. "If it were not for the Muse, and more specifically Lisa Hartz, I would not be pursuing an MFA, and I would probably still be miserable and not sure why. The Muse has given me the confidence to go after something wholly impractical that I am obsessed with—I am so grateful for all you guys have already given me. I love teaching (that’s my non-writing job) and hope one day to teach writing instead of (or in addition to) Spanish."