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The John H. and Patricia M. Mitchell Scholarship will welcome its third cohort of students this fall. The scholarship, named for the founder of Columbia Pictures Television and his wife, was established in 2019 as a gift from the Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts. The need-based program supports six Film, Television and Media majors at the University of Michigan with a variety of academic and professional resources. 

In a year-long series of events, Mitchell Scholars attend industry talks with a variety of media professionals and connect with specialized mentors tailored to their individual interests. The scholarship also funds the John H. Mitchell Critical Conversations Symposium, which addresses current topics in the entertainment and media industry. The 2022-2023 academic year will mark the program’s first year operating in a predominantly in-person format.

The program’s John H. Mitchell Visiting Professorship in Media Entertainment funds a course taught by an industry professional or scholar each fall on screenwriting, media production or media studies. For the fall 2022 term, independent filmmaker Nancy Savoka will be teaching FTVM 304 001: Before You Say “Action”: Preparing to Shoot.

Though the scholarship is focused on academic engagement and professional connections, FTVM Department Chair Yeidy Rivero said the program also aims to foster a sense of community among and across cohorts.

“We want to keep scholars connected,” Rivero said. “Ideally, when they go to Hollywood or Los Angeles to work, they’re not just University of Michigan alumni. They’re also Mitchell Scholars, so they can help each other in the industry.”

This year’s cohorts haven’t been decided yet, but Rivero said they will be reviewing applications in the coming weeks.

U-M alum Jacob Shin, who participated in the 2021-2022 cohort, said the program allowed him to meet students and professionals with a variety of interests across the numerous focus areas of the FTVM department.

“You have the opportunity to meet people doing what you might not even know will be your future career path,” Shin said. “In a major like computer science, you (all) learn the same language, but with FTVM, your career can end up being anything from wedding photography to a staff position at NBC to producing indie films. So you get to meet all these different types of people in the same place.”

U-M alum Brendan Dewley, also a scholar in the 2021-2022 cohort, said he enjoyed learning with other professionally-oriented FTVM students who were also receiving need-based financial aid.

“All of us came from backgrounds where we were really focused on future opportunities because we do need them,” Dewley said. “And that was a really good vibe. If you’re already receiving financial aid, there’s a good chance that this is exactly the kind of opportunity you’re looking for.”

Daily Staff Reporter Emily Blumberg can be reached at