Majoring in both journalism and filmmaking has taught Rutgers University–New Brunswick rising junior Alyssa Lopez to tell stories using a combination of verbal and visual elements. “I draw on my journalism skills to tell a story, but film demands that I also convey without saying a word how someone is feeling—using lighting, music, and acting direction. I love that challenge.”

It is a challenge Lopez has embraced  ever since she picked up her first camera at age 8. Today, thanks to support from the Fran and Ray Stark Foundation Film Prize and the Mason Gross School of the Arts Scholarship Fund, she can pursue pro­fessional opportunities for the experience, rather than worrying about whether they will pay enough to cover her educational costs. She especially loves creating short films, which allow her to draw on personal experience. “It’s what makes every filmmaker’s work unique,” she says, “because only you can make your film.”— Melissa Kvidahl