Learn More About the USITT Gateway Program

by Michael Eddy
The USITT Gateway Program mentees and mentors at the USITT 2018 Conference and Stage Expo at Fort Lauderdale, FL
The USITT Gateway Program mentees and mentors at the USITT 2018 Conference and Stage Expo at Fort Lauderdale, FL

If you are a student in theater technology from an underrepresented population, the USITT Gateway Program could be right up your alley. A typical mentee of the program will experience the USITT annual Conference and Stage Expo with a professional mentor in the industry who shares a similar background and career path. Nominations are open now until November 26.

USITT launched the Gateway pilot program in 2014 in Fort Worth, with three students who were paired with professionals from the industry. Two African-American students received full funding to attend the conference with donations received in memory of Tayneshia Jefferson, and one student received travel and hotel support from her school, Texas Performing Arts at the University of Texas. An additional commitment of $25,000 from USITT was used to cover expenses and create seed money for the sustainability of the program.

In 2015, USITT expanded the program to 12 mentees from underrepresented populations to attend and be mentored at the USITT National Conference in Cincinnati. Six were fully funded (travel, housing, and conference), including two Tayneshia Jefferson scholars, and six received partnered support from USITT and the school or organization that nominated them. Underrepresented populations include, but are not limited to: race, gender, sexual orientation/identity, or disability.

In 2016, USITT welcomed 12 more mentees and mentors, plus two peer mentors, to the Conference in Salt Lake City.

In 2017, USITT Gateway mentees received full support to attend the Conference in St. Louis.

One of the 2018 Gateway Mentors, Stage Manager and Stage Directions’ Contributing Writer, Ross Jackson wrote about his experiences with the USITT Gateway Program and his mentee, Avery Evans, a black, male student from Jackson, MS who is interested in pursuing a career in stage management in the June 2018 issue of Stage Directions magazine. You can read that article, The Resilient Ones, USITT's Gateway Program Helps Erode Barriers here. 

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Interested in being a Gateway Mentor? Email Us!

Application deadline: November 26, 2018

Nominations are open now. Learn more and nominate today: https://www.usitt.org/gateway/