Two NYU Tisch School of the Arts Students Named 2021 Marshall Scholars

Essence Lotus (Tisch ‘20) and Sejahari Saulter-Villegas (Tisch ‘21), have been selected as 2021 Marshall Scholars. Marshall Scholarships provide financial support to outstanding American scholars to pursue graduate study in the United Kingdom in any subject at the academic institution of their choice. Essence and Sejahari are the first students from NYU Tisch School of the Arts to ever receive this award.

The Marshall Scholarship is one of the most selective postgraduate fellowships for American undergraduates and seeks to strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments, and their institutions. The scholarship program, which funds two years of study, receives more than 1,000 applications from top students representing higher education institutions across the United States. Up to 50 scholars are selected each year.
Essence Lotus is a Brooklyn-born artist and former street performer. They studied physics at Kingsborough Community College before dedicating themselves to their artistry at Tisch School of the Arts, where they majored in Theatre and minored in Creative Writing. Essence is primarily interested in exploring the immense space (and lack thereof) between science, Black bodies, and queerness. They have been fortunate to perform, assistant direct, and train with companies like 600HIGHWAYMEN, The National Black Theater, and Theater Mitu. Through writing and performance, they seek to dismantle hegemonic oppressive forces and to create a world that is safer for Black queer and trans folks. For their Marshall Scholarship, Essence is planning on pursuing a Masters in Applied Theatre at Goldsmiths, University of London, and a Masters in the Theatre Lab program at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Sejahari Amaru Saulter-Villegas is currently a fourth-year undergraduate student at New York University, seeking to receive a BFA in Drama with a minor in Africana Studies. Sejahari is a theatre maker who uses his art to build community and to advance conversations around racial inequality. In his time at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Sejahari has left his mark as an artist, advocate, activist, and academic. His play, RACE to the Finish, was the only student work to receive a production on Tisch’s mainstage last year. He plans to pursue a Masters in Black Humanities from the University of Bristol, and then a Masters in Applied Theater from Goldsmiths. Sejahari is looking forward to building community with the African diaspora while learning about how art, resistance, and joy coexist within marginalized communities in the UK.