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Recipients of the Mavis and Sidney John Palmer Scholarship

The Center for Environmental Filmmaking director Chris Palmer canoes with students in Florida during Classroom in the Wild

Professor Chris Palmer and his wife, Gail Shearer, set up the Mavis and Sidney John Palmer Scholarship in 2013 to honor Chris’s parents. Chris and Gail established an endowment to support the scholarship. Income from the fund is awarded annually, based on merit, to outstanding SOC graduate students with an interest in environmental and wildlife filmmaking. This year’s recipients are Robert Boyd, Mary Alice McMillan, Shannon Shikles, and Amelia Tyson.

Robert Boyd is a second year graduate student in American University's MFA film program. He will apply his monetary award towards furthering his filmmaking education at American University. Robert has filmed wildlife for organizations including the Department of Interior, Ocean Exploration Trust, and the National Park Service. As a filmmaker, Robert is interested in all types of life, with a particular interest in microorganisms.

Mary Alice McMillan is an MFA candidate in American University’s Film and Media Arts program. A North Carolina native, she is passionate about stories of rural America and the intersection between the environment and health. She is developing her thesis film about breast cancer-related genetic disorders and the role that environmental factors play in the study of genetics. Mary Alice hopes to pursue a career as an independent documentary filmmaker and share stories to create positive change.

Shannon Shikles is pursuing her MA in Environmental and Wildlife filmmaking striving to work as a cinematographer on conservation films. She was privileged to work with Audubon Society on avian surveys and hopes to focus on the ocean in future projects. Offering her perspective on human interaction with the natural world incites the passion motivating her in the Film and Media Arts program.

Amelia Tyson is a documentarian who aims to infuse heart and a message of stewardship in the films she creates. She is primarily focused on stories of an environmental nature, hoping to both educate and awaken in viewers a desire to truly care for the earth. This past summer she had the great privilege of being a fellow with the Southern Exposure Film Fellowship program in Alabama, where she produced a short film looking at why Alabama does not have a water management plan and what that means for the state, in the short and long term.