Our Past Winners

Olivia Watters

2015 Summer Musical Theatre Intensive Competition Winner

Olivia is a 2015 NSAL winner in the Summer Musical Theatre Intensive Competition of NATS at Phoenix Theatre. She is a senior at Sunnyslope High School and wishes to pursue a musical theatre career. She just won a National Youth Arts award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical. She is also an All-State alto soloist and a 4.0 student.



Osiris Cuen

2015 Career Awards Winner in Drama

Participating in the Drama Competition helped me on many levels. First, I got the chance to show some of my monologues to the public and get some feedback on how to improve. Second, winning the competition gave me the means to continue pursuing my career. But the most important thing I gained from this was the opportunity to compete on the national level in St. Louis. At the competition I had the privilege of meeting wonderful actors from around the country and making strong, lifelong connections with them. Also, meeting the adjudicators in a professional tell all workshop left me with some helpful advice to advance my career and build my artistic community. Truly an unforgettable and invaluable experience. Words cannot express my  gratitude to the NSAL Organization for the rich life lessons  I learned through this experience, thank you.


Kresley Figueroa

2014 Winston Voice Scholarship Winner

Thank you so much to NSAL (The Winston Award) which is allowing me to attend the Académie d'été de Nice. I will be having daily lessons, master classes and vocal lessons with Lorraine Nubar and the preeminent pianist, Dalton Baldwin. Not only is the conservatory of Nice one of my favorite places to study, it’s one of my favorite places to live. The food, culture, and atmosphere are some of the most nurturing, educational, and enriching I have ever come across. At the end of my studies I will be performing in a final concert with the other students. I will be thinking of and appreciating your support that allowed me to participate this summer.

The NSAL competition was inspiring, encouraging, and has helped launch me into discovering new areas of creativity. Thank you to everyone who supports NSAL.
— Erin Lovrien

Daniel Bayu Kanu

2013 Career Awards Winner in Art: Printmaking

I would like to take this time to sincerely express my gratitude to the National Society of Arts and Letters for the scholarship opportunity they put out every year. I would also like to give a special thanks to the NSAL Arizona Chapter as well for a amazing award dinner and the outstanding superstar treatment throughout the whole process. I am not sure if I can speak for all my fellow recipients but I am sure most will agree with me when I say your contribution is much more than just financial assistance. It is a source of strong motivation and encouragement to pursue our desires to create, sing, dance or perform. As students of the Arts, we come across many circumstances that coerce us to give up our aspirations because many people, often, our friends and family members, make us believe that there is no value in what we do. Knowing that there are organizations out there that believe in and are willing to support our hopes and dreams truly revitalizes our steadily diminishing confidence. We simply cannot thank you enough.

Sarah Ambrose

2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Musical Theater Winner

Herberger Young Artist Winner in Drama

I am happy to say, I am a graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from the University of Arizona. I was in multiple theatre productions there, including shows such as RENT, A Little Night Music, and The Full Monty.  I have done summer stock at the Arizona Broadway Theatre and The Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre in Kansas, where I was able to be in shows such as Into The Woods, Shrek The Musical, and Legally Blonde. After graduating from U of A, I became a Production Vocalist with Princess Cruise Lines and will be performing on three different ships over the span of 17 months!  I sing in all the main stage shows and travel the world.  It's a dream come true to be on a cruise ship doing what I love.  I want to thank NSALAZ for all the support through these years.  I take it with me everywhere I go.

I had the opportunity to attend Master Classes from world-class opera stars such as Joyce DiDonato, Eric Owens, and Anthony Dean Griffey. This would not have been possible without the help from the Winston Scholarship and your support. This summer was life changing!
— Armando Contreras

Grace Kirkpatrick

2015 Career Awards Winner in Drama

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The award money and connections I have gained from the NSAL competition have empowered me to pursue my dreams of continuing my training in New York City with a sense of fearlessness and gratitude. This organization is solely dedicated to helping young artists grow their craft by providing them with the tools and encouragement they need to be successful and I am forever inspired by the work they do.




Nailah Mathews

2014 Herberger Young Artist Drama winner

Nailah used her winnings from this year’s NSAL award to defray some of the costs to attend the University of Iowa’s-Young Writers’ Studio July 6-19, 2014.  The experience was incredibly positive for Nailah in that she was able to: (a) further develop her writing skills; (b) meet professors who teach at the University of Iowa’s Creative Writing Program; and (c) spend two weeks this past summer among other talented youth from around the world.

Nailah, who is a senior in high school, plans to pursue a career as a writer and actress and attend the University of Iowa’s Creative Writing program in the Fall 2015.


Kristi Hanno

2014 Career Awards Winner in Music

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Kristi Hanno, Clarinetist, graduated high school in Davenport, Iowa and went onto an undergraduate program at Black Hawk College in Moline, Illinois. She was accepted into a Master of Music program at ASU and will be graduating with a degree as a Clarinet Performance Major in May of 2016. In 2012, she won the Drake University concerto competition and in 2014, she represented the Greater Arizona Chapter in the Career Awards Music Competition in Charleston, West Virginia.




Erin Lovrien

2011 Career Awards Winner in Choreography: The Art of the Solo

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Since winning the competition in 2011, Erin has choreographed for multiple dance companies. Her Choreography has been presented at the Herberger Theatre, Tempe Center for the Arts and the first ever Dance Festival of Southern Arizona. In 2012, Erin produced and directed a 3-day non-profit event called Project Dance Phoenix, and in 2013 and 2014, she choreographed works for Center Dance Ensemble’s seasons.




Thank you so much to NSAL (The Winston Award) which is allowing me to attend the Académie d’été de Nice.
— Kresley Figueroa

John Batchen

2014 Herberger Young Artist winner in Drama

With the support and encouragement I’ve received as a performing artist from NSAL, I have gained a lot more confidence in myself when rehearsing my craft and pursuing Music Theatre as a career. Although their funds were extremely helpful and allowed me to invest in dance classes, voice lessons, and supplies, it was the recognition that I was truly grateful for. With so many performers in such a small valley, it’s always an amazing feeling for a person, group, or organization to recognize one’s hard work and dedication in the performing arts. Thank you NSAL. 

I’m currently rehearsing as Benny in Spotlight Youth Theatre’s production of RENT which opened in January 2015 while attending Phoenix Community College as a Music Major.


Armando Contreras

2012, 2013 Winston Voice Scholarship Winner


I had the opportunity to attend Master Classes from world-class opera stars such as Joyce DiDonato, Eric Owens, and Anthony Dean Griffey. We also worked with the Artistic Director of the Houston Grand Opera, Diane Zola. This would not have been possible without the help from the Winston Scholarship and your support. Thank you for everything. This summer was life changing!

I am currently pursuing my Master's in Vocal Performance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) with Vinson Cole. I have just completed the role of Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte with UMKC and it was blast! This spring I will be performing the role of John Brooke in Little Women with UMKC and I am very much looking forward to it.

Former member of Phoenix Boys’ Choir,  summer intern at Aspen Music Festival, now at Cleveland Institute of Music.

Dr. Amy Yekel

2008 Career Awards Winner in Voice

I am living in North Canton, Ohio and teaching at The University of Akron. I have been able to start my professional career and have been very active singing all over Ohio, New York, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. I recently won the Wagner Society of New York's international competition which lead to my New York Debut! It was very exciting. I also had my professional debut as Turandot in Puccini's Turandot in 2012 at Toledo Opera.

...your contribution is much more than just financial assistance. It is a source of motivation and encouragement to pursue our desires to create, sing, dance or perform.
— Daniel Bayu Kanu

Lauren Chapman

2004 Career Awards Winner in Musical Theater

Lauren lives in New York City and works as Resident Teaching Artist for Disney Theatrical Group. With her amazing team at Disney, she has developed the Disney Musicals in Schools Program, using professional development and licensed Disney KIDS productions to build self sustaining musical theater programs in urban elementary schools across the US. They currently partner with organizations in Nashville, Las Vegas, Seattle and Orange County. She also works closely with the Disney on Broadway productions, bringing content from the shows to schools and school groups through their Broadway outreach programs. Since her days at the NSAL competition, Lauren has worked as Guest Artist Faculty at Arizona State University and as an equity performer for regional and touring productions.  Now she also directs and choreographs for many professional theater companies and loves being able to sing, dance, and act every day as she guides students & educators through the world of musical theater.


Jeremy Khin-Aye

1997 Career Awards Winner in Voice

In 2006, Jeremy Aye became an adjunct voice professor at NYU Steinhardt. In addition to classical and musical theater instruction for voice majors, he teaches two graduate courses that are part Steinhardt's thriving Advanced Certificate in Vocal Pedagogy. In 2012, he was a presenter at NYU's International Voice Symposium along with voice experts Johan Sundberg, Ingo Titze, Brian Gill, Lucian Sulica and Don Miller. Jeremy's private students range from emerging talent to professional singers that perform on the stages of Broadway and The Metropolitan Opera. As a soloist, he made his debut at Carnegie Hall in Fauré's Requiem in 2007. Jeremy has been an active extra chorister at the Metropolitan Opera since 2005.