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Five young finalists have been named in a scholarship competition offered by SUNY Oswego: Lucas Anzalone, from Oswego; Paige Blair, from Cazenovia; Mike Cuyler, from Oswego; Millie Wu, from Skaneateles; and Gabriella Warner, from Oswego.

“The winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship to enroll as an English or creative writing major, thanks to the generosity of the Shineman Endowed Fund @ SUNY Oswego,” said Soma Mei Sheng Frazier, who facilitates the competition alongside students in two of her classes, “and the finalists will receive substantial support.”

That support includes mentorship by an award-winning author, an invitation to read their poems or short stories publicly at an on-campus event, and a blurb from Subnivean — the university’s undergraduate-staffed literary magazine, read in 58 countries — about their writing. Given the publication’s global reputation and strong support from the national Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, the blurb will strengthen the finalists’ college applications and résumés.

Subnivean awarded its first scholarship last year and reopened this special opportunity for regional high school students last month — inviting entries from new writers living in the university’s nearby seven-county region: Oswego County, Onondaga County, Oneida County, Herkimer County, Madison County, Cayuga County and Cortland County.

Beyond financial support, Frazier noted, the competition is about equipping young writers with publishing industry knowledge, boosting their skills and confidence, and amplifying their voices.

Cuyler noted that this is the first formal acknowledgment of his literary talent: “I went into this competition confident that I would not become a finalist and that would be the end of it.” Yet he submitted an entry to challenge himself and, a few weeks later, received the finalist notification.

“Becoming a finalist means the world to me because it helps me prove to myself that I have what it takes to succeed in this creative field,” Blair said. 

“Being accepted as a finalist makes me beyond excited for my future with writing, and provides me with an increasing amount of confidence," Warner said. "I am so grateful that people are understanding the words I write to express my feelings and emotions.”

And she was not alone in wanting to connect deeply with readers. “As an Asian American student, I feel empowered by this opportunity to continue to share my experiences and culture through writing,” Wu noted.

Regardless of whether they had received prior literary awards, the young finalists expressed gratitude for those who had championed their writing over the years: Anzalone attributed his entering the competition to Evan Waugh, his creative writing club teacher, and added his appreciation for a friend, Leanna Rockwood, “for helping me revise my work.” Waugh was also mentioned by Cuyler, who thanked him as well as a friend, Alyssa Kelly, and her mother.

Subnivean hopes to continue offering the New Writers Awards yearly, spotlighting and supporting young writers from the seven Central New York counties where many SUNY Oswego students, alumni, faculty and staff live.

To learn more about Subnivean, visit