College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Agam Patel, Associate Director of Low-Residency MFA program, garners funds for new scholarship

The new Visible Voices Scholarship will support underrepresented and marginalized writers
By Alejandra Prado, Student Writer/CHASS Marketing and Communications |

Those who deeply care will always find a way to make higher learning more accessible.

As Associate Director of UC Riverside’s Palm Desert MFA program, Agam Patel is responsible for all aspects of the graduate program from budgeting, to enrollment, to student advising and recruitment, to managing the day-to-day challenges for more than 80 enrolled students in the University of California’s only low-residency MFA program.

Patel, who has worked for the program since its inception in 2008, has also recently taken to fundraising for the MFA’s newest Visible Voices Scholarship, launched in Fall 2022 and intended to support writers who are historically underrepresented and from marginalized communities.

Beginning in spring 2021, Patel actively began fundraising for the scholarship and reached out to notable alumni of the program including Kate MacMurray of the Fred and June MacMurray Foundation.

“As a graduate student of the program, she understands the value that we bring to graduate students within our program,” Patel said. Thanks to MacMurray, Patel helped secure a donation of $15,000 towards the scholarship.

“When Agam was able to land this donation—and several subsequent large, matching donations from other alums—this set the course for the next several years of funding,” said Tod Goldberg, a professor and director at the program.

To date, Patel has helped raise more than $50,000 in total from alumni and foundations. “Our objective is to try to help students achieve their academic success and by helping them get there with this scholarship is one way,” he said.

“He has built trusting relationships with program alumni and friends and has engaged them in an important way to advance program priorities, specifically financial support for students,” said Rachel Pulido, former Director of Development for CHASS.

According to Pulido, the scholarship “furthers the belief that a graduate program in creative writing, devoted to the empathetic examination of this life of ours, can play a more direct role in providing educational opportunities to those whose voices most need to be heard.”

“The Visible Voices scholarship is notable because it is a major first step in creating a fully-funded future for our students,” Goldberg said.

Learn more about the scholarship online. To be eligible, students must apply for admission to the low residency program and submit a supplemental scholarship application as well as meet the UC definition of diversity.

Agam Patel with Chancellor Kim Wilcox, Scotty the Bear, and Jeff Girod
Agam Patel with (from right to left) Chancellor Kim Wilcox, Scotty the Bear, and Jeff Girod
Agam Patel with Tod Golberg
Agam Patel with Tod Golberg