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UT System Regents award UT Arlington student for creative writing

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis, Office:817-272-3317, Cell:214-577-9094, blewis@uta.edu

News Topics: awards, liberal arts, students

A University of Texas at Arlington student has earned The University of Texas System Board of Regents’ Outstanding Student Award in Arts and Humanities for her creative writing.

Samantha J. Jones

Samantha J. Jones, a senior majoring in English, is among just 3 students from a UT System institution that will be recognized May 15 during a reception in Austin. Her story, Resorts, won for excellence in short fiction.

In her statement for the award, Jones said that she wants to write stories “in which characters face situations where they have as much to lose as they do to gain, and the obstacles they must overcome are found not only in the physical world but within themselves.”

Resorts is about a female protagonist who begins a relationship with her brother’s best friend and drug dealer after her brother enters rehab. The lead character nearly follows her brother’s path before ending the toxic relationship.

“I’ve had a couple of friends who have gone through that process,” Jones said. “I knew I wanted to write about this [female] character, but the story that came out wasn’t the story I started to write. The original idea started with the relationship between the lead character and the brother’s best friend, then took a turn from there.”

Jones is one of three students to win the creative writing award, including Catherine Cleary of the University of Texas at Austin and Allison Ochoa from the University of Texas at San Antonio. 

Each student will be awarded $1,500 to be deposited in the students’ respective academic departmental budget.

Beth Wright, dean of the UT Arlington College of Liberal Arts, said that the honor demonstrates not only Jones’ talent but the strength of the Department of English’s program in creative writing, which includes faculty who have won an award from the National Society of Arts and Letters and who have had their essays chosen four times for Best American Essays.

“Talent needs nurturance,” Wright said. “Samantha has represented UT Arlington with distinction, thanks in part to the exceptional creative writing and scholarship, teaching and mentoring of the faculty members in the Department of English.”

The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved the establishment of the Regents' Outstanding Student Awards in Arts and Humanities in 2012 to recognize student achievement in three areas: the musical arts, the visual arts, and creative writing. The awards program is designed to provide a framework that fosters excellence in student performance, rewards outstanding students, stimulates the arts and humanities, and promotes continuous quality in education.

In 2015, the Regents will recognize student excellence in the musical arts. The call for nominations will be issued in fall 2014. Read more at www.utsystem.edu/offices/academic-affairs/regents-outstanding-student-awards-arts-and-humanities.

 The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution and the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more. Follow #UTAdna on Twitter.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.

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