Shaping the Future of Art - Fischl Scholars Program Students

Eric Fischl with Fischl Scholar Alma Perez
Eric Fischl and visiting artist, Jose Lerma, with Fischl Scholar Alma Perez
Ryan Ausbun photo
Ryan Ausbun
Nineveh Helmerich photo
Nineveh Helmerich
Mah Reh photo
Mah Reh
Brittany Christianson photo
Brittany Christianson
Alma Perez photo
Alma Perez
July 24, 2018

Each year, the Eric Fischl Scholars Program supports financially deserving and artistically-gifted students attend Phoenix College. The Eric Fischl Scholars Program (EFSP) was launched in fall 2009. The program, which is the first of its kind at a community college, focuses on increasing the number of students pursuing an Associate of Fine Arts at Phoenix College in preparation for university transfer.

The primary goals of the program are:

  • Identify and recruit talented students, including graduating high school seniors, to compete for entrance into the PC Fine Arts Program and EFSP.
  • Encourage students who have demonstrated a talent and interest in the field of art to pursue higher education
  • Serve as a pipeline for students and prepare students for transfer to a University.
  • Provide scholarship, faculty mentorship and scholarly advocacy to help students succeed.

For the 2018-2019 academic year, the Fischl Program supports up-and-coming artists. Meet them below.

Ryan Ausbun

Ryan says he’s been drawing since he could hold a pencil, but it wasn’t until he took a drawing class at Phoenix College that he discovered he’s an artist. PC Faculty member Rudy Navarro says Ryan is a true artist scholar who possesses artistic promise, intellectual rigor, and a conscientious personality. 

Ryan wants to explore integrating art with technology and collaborating with students in technical fields to develop art-infused digital applications, virtual reality and interactive art experiences.

After completing his associate’s degree in fine arts at Phoenix College, Ryan plans to transfer to Arizona State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

"Without Art, the world would be an awfully dull place to live." - Ryan Ausbun

Nineveh Helmerich

Nineveh is completing a certificate in medical coding, which will allow her to work from home part-time while pursuing her associate’s degree in fine arts and care for her young son. Her former ceramic instructor says Nineveh is a role model to her peers, and her work ethic is unmatched.

After completing her associate's degree in fine arts at Phoenix College, Nineveh will transfer to Arizona State University to pursue a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in fine art - and hope to one day teach high school or college-level ceramics.

Nineveh says she yearns to give back and to teach others that art is a powerful tool in finding answers, in patience, in healing, and in self-growth.

"I want to teach others that art is a powerful tool in find answers, in patience, in healing and in self-growth." - Nineveh Helmerich

Maw Reh

Maw is originally from Burma and a 2016 graduate of Alhambra High School. He participated in the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Vision Program and enjoys collaborating with different artists.

His former high school art teacher says that Maw's artwork "is skilled and complex, and that he loves learning, experimenting and problem solving through visual art media." He enjoys making his own charcoal and other media to incorporate into his paintings and drawings.

After completing his associate's degree in fine arts at Phoenix College, Maw will transfer to Arizona State University to pursue a bachelor's degree in teaching - and hopes to one day teach fine arts.

"Art is very important in society; it's the first form of communication that can be universally understood despite language barriers." - Maw Reh

Brittany Christianson

Brittany is committed to creating art. Her former high school teacher said “She is the type of artist who is either making art or thinking of the best use of her time until she can get back to making art.”

Due to financial constraints, pursing her education in art did not seem like an option for Brittany until she learned of the Fischl Scholars Program thanks to her art teacher. She Brittany has the resources to attend Phoenix College where she will complete her associate's degree.

She hopes to become an animator one day, although she is open to trying other art-related careers. Her goal is to help others understand different cultures through art.

"Art is a way to talk about diversity of culture." - Brittany Christianson

Alma Perez

Alma says her love for art has existed ever since she could hold a paintbrush. She remembers her mother yelling at her as a child for painting on the floors and walls, at such a young age her interest for art was emerging.

Her former high school art teacher says, “Her body of artwork is very strong and impressive.” Through her art her passion transmits. Alma is a first generation college student. She is determined to focus on her education and art, and to be a role model to students to continue their education regardless of cultural limitations.

After completing her associate's degree in fine arts at Phoenix College, Alma hopes to transfer to Rhode Island School of Art to pursue a master’s degree in Art History.

"Art is a critical staple to society; it is an outlet for creative minds." - Alma Perez

Learn more about how the Eric Fischl Scholars Program benefits Phoenix College students and the community. Applications for the next year will take place in the spring of 2019. If you would like to help art students through a scholarship gift, contact Deb Spotts at or 602-285-7667.

About Phoenix College

Phoenix College is one of the 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation. Phoenix College offers academic courses leading to associate degrees, university transfer, certificates and short-term job training to more than 11,000 students annually.