TU alumna first U.S. recipient of the McCall MacBain scholarship

BFA dance alumna Taylor Richardson wins prestigious scholarship, set to attend McGill University in Canada

By GRACE HOGGARTH '22 on April 30, 2024

Alumna poses with ballet bar in Center for the Arts dance studio
(Alexander Wright / Towson University)

After a rigorous four-day final interview process in Montreal, Canada, Taylor Richardson 鈥23, is the first U.S. student to receive the McCall MacBain scholarship and is well on her way to making her dreams in dance and arts integration education a reality.

Canada鈥檚 prestigious leadership-based scholarship program provides 麻豆传媒高清 with a fully financed education, mentorship, workshops, monthly leadership enrichment courses and an individual mentor specific to their field of study.

Richardson was selected out of thousands of international applicants and five overall U.S. finalists. The next cohort of McCall MacBain scholars were chosen based on exceptional character, community engagement, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, academic strength, and intellectual curiosity.

鈥淭his scholarship is a once in a lifetime opportunity and is an ode to my family, mentors, educators and friends who have poured so much into me over the years,鈥 Richardson says, 鈥淲ith this scholarship, I have the opportunity to further shape more spaces and provide representation for generations to come just as they have done for me.鈥

Her long-term goal is to establish a nonprofit that uses dance education and movement-based academic and therapy integration to serve minority communities, particularly Black students and cultural organizations. With her scholarship, Richardson plans to pilot this nonprofit by working with local dance and arts organizations.

Richardson also hopes to bring the knowledge she gains back to the U.S. to create stronger arts integration programs in community partnerships like the Maryland Dance Education Association and the Kennedy Center.

She continually strives for academic excellence and personal growth, and credits the Office of Competitive Fellowships & Awards (OCFA) and its director Mary Devadas, Ph.D., for supporting her during the application process for the McCall MacBain scholarship.

鈥淚 thoroughly appreciate the devotion that Dr. Devadas has committed to me in pursuit of this scholarship. She is a gem in the Towson community, motivational and integral to the advancement of scholarship in higher education,鈥 Richardson says.

It was through Richardson鈥檚 application process for the Fulbright U.S. Scholarship, which Richardson was also recently awarded, that she heard of the McCall MacBain scholarship opportunity from Devadas.

鈥淭aylor has created history, she is the first in many realms. She was the first TU student to enter the McCall MacBain competition, and the first to win this award. Her leadership potential and her ability to learn from her setbacks has shaped her success,鈥 says Devadas.

鈥淪he is unafraid to ask the difficult questions. She is absolutely a joy to work with! I am waiting to see her establish her non-profit organization in the long run as she yearns to unite society through dance education. Several faculty members in the Department of Dance at TU echo the same sentiments about her.鈥

鈥淭he Office of Competitive Fellowships and Awards thanks every faculty member and alumni that supported Taylor through practice interviews,鈥 Devadas adds.

Melanie Perreault, TU provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs, also supported Richardson through practice interviews.

鈥淲e are so proud of Taylor and all the hard work she has done to get to this point in one of the most competitive scholarships in the world,鈥 says Perreault. 鈥淚 am grateful to the many faculty and staff who volunteer to help students engage in the rigorous process involved in applying for this and many other scholarships through the Office of Competitive Fellowships & Awards."

One of the most exciting aspects of this program for Richardson is the opportunity to work closely with a mentor in her field. She is also excited to work with and learn from like-minded individuals from international backgrounds.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance performance and choreography and education concentration through the College of Fine Arts & Communication (COFAC) and a minor in interdisciplinary studies with a theme of Black performance theory鈥 a plan she developed under the direction of dance professor Vincent Thomas through the interdisciplinary studies program in the College of Liberal Arts.

鈥淲hen I created my minor, I knew I wanted to use it as an opportunity to delve deeper into the historical and contemporary components of African American life and reality and how that translates into performance art,鈥 she says.

During Richardson鈥檚 time in COFAC, she composed original dance pieces, featured in the local Baltimore dance scene, and performed choreography and taught in Japan with Tabata Vara 鈥22 and South Africa with the University of Delaware under the direction of Lynette Overby, Ph.D.; Hassan El Amin, Ph.D. and Tumi Lambert Vil Nkomo.

For Richardson, receiving a scholarship as prestigious as the McCall MacBain scholarship opens new pathways for her career and also sets a precedent for those who come after her, particularly from small cities like Wilmington, Delaware.

鈥淚 hope to see more students reaching outside of their comfort zone to reach new heights and accepting all the support that they deserve from their university!" Richardson says.

Office of competitive fellowships and awards

If you are curious about applying for the next cohort of McCall MacBain Scholars, reach out to Mary Devadas, Ph.D., for more information and to attend an information session online. Applications will open on June 1, with an early internal feedback deadline of June 15. Up to 130 scholarships and awards will be offered for enrollment the following year (summer/fall 2025).