Scholarship Recipients

The Natasha Anne Gaziano Foundation established a scholarship award for undergraduate students pursuing a degree in Dance at the University of Florida. The scholarship recipients were selected based upon their unique qualities, passion for dance, and artistic expression that exemplified Natasha’s spirit, dedication, and contribution to the dance genre.

2010 Recipient - Julie Brannen

Director of the School of Theatre and Dance, Kevin Marshall and Distinguished Professor Joan Frosch congratulate Julie Brannen on accepting the award from Foundation board members Lauren Arce, and Vice-President Carrie Ann Wozniak.

This year the Natasha Anne Gaziano Foundation Scholarship was awarded to Julie Brannen.  Julie is an undergraduate student at the University of Florida with hopes of graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance.  Her educational path has been well-rounded, with significant experience in the arts, sciences, and leadership.

Julie is fascinated with art and its ability to heal and inspire the body and mind. She works to integrate the mind, body and heart through assisting patients with developing the healing power of dance through the Arts in Medicine program.  Dance is an art form that exemplifies the best way in which the mind, body and heart can be simultaneously enriched. Julie is excited to start a career in art therapy and all the rewards that it entails.

In her scholarship application, Julie said, “As a dancer, there are many venues to branch into in the arts. The fact that I have another passion for science, as well as dance, is an apparent stretch across the curriculum. I am exploring the possibilities of combining my two passions. I have come to realize that there are many ways that these two interests are similar. My goal is to be able to find that link that is suitable for me. I will find my way.”

Julie has participated extensively in Dance for Life, a physical, social and psychological therapy program for individuals with Parkinson's disease. Julie began her involvement with Dance for Life on a voluntary basis, but has come to head the program and develop quantitative research methods to follow participants’ progress.

In addition to her involvement with Arts in Medicine and Dance for Life, Julie is involved in several other groups and activities in her local community.  At the University of Florida, she is a member of the Preview Staff, Vice President of Dance in a Suitcase, and a Publicity Chair for Lead101.  She is a Make a Wish Foundation volunteer and participated in the Walk for Wishes raising over $1,500 to fulfill the wish of a local child with Spina bifida.   She also works as a St. Francis House Volunteer and as a City of Gainesville Nature Operations volunteer.  This year Julie has also received the 2010 Shands’ Hospital Arts in Medicine Volunteer of the Year award, has earned inclusion on the UF Dean’s List and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.  Julie truly embodies Natasha’s active spirit and we salute her for all of her accomplishments.

Julie Brannen receives the 2010 Natasha Anne Gaziano Foundation Scholarship Award from board member Lauren Arce.


2009 Scholarship Recipients

 The University of Florida selection committee chose the following recipients for the first Natasha Anne Gaziano Foundation Dance Scholarships that were presented at the 2009 Convocation, on April 27, 2009. The scholarships were presented by Professor Joan Frosch, Dance Department Chair.

Pictured above (from left to right) is Brandon Washington, Rina Gaziano Karle, Myra Gaziano, and Rebekah Sarbone.

Rebekah Sarbone

Pictured above, Rebekah Receiving her award. Left to right Kevin Marshall, Dean of College of Theatre and Dance, Rebekah Sarbone, Joan Frosch and Rina Gaziano-Karle

Rebekah captures Natasha’s spirit….

Rebekah is a fourth-year dance major and has participated in multiple BFA dance showcases, both as choreographer and dancer, as well as in Dance 2008. Choreography credits include, "We Don't Need A Map", "104", and "Reverie". She is also a personal trainer and fitness program assistant at the University's gyms.

After graduation, she plans to attend a graduate Human Performance program and strives to receive a graduate assistantship with a University's RecSports program. Rebekah plans to integrate both dance and fitness training into her career path. She plans on using her scholarship award to do research in physiology on the positive benefits of fitness training to be a preventative measure of healthcare. As research shows, many chronic diseases can be avoided, or their symptoms lessened, by engaging in a fitness routine, not to mention that it makes you feel good.

She receives real joy in working with and helping others. As a personal trainer, she has developed techniques that integrate dance, physiology and Pilates. Yet she is an extraordinarily special person bringing much thoughtfulness to each interaction. Something about that thoughtfulness, and her ability to reflect, makes her an inventive and creative choreographer, like Natasha.

Brandon Washington

Brandon receiving his award. Left to right Kevin Marshall, Brandon Washington and Joan Frosch

Brandon and Natasha’s “difference” fueled their creative energy…

Brandon is an outstanding and passionate dancer who is described by Joan Frosch as a “gentle spirit and a real team player who thinks outside of the box. Brandon has a deep spiritual connection that makes him mature for his years.” Brandon was also described as one of the most talented dancers in the department. He performed in various productions with the University as well as in the community. Like Natasha, he is a fantastic tap dancer and choreographer, and loves performing tap.

Both Brandon and Rebekah are deeply human artists; they are also fun and hip with eyes full of wonder, there is no doubt that they will do great things with their career and make many positive impacts on society.