Trista Matascastillo headshotWe’re proud to announce that Trista Matacastillo is one of twenty-four people selected this year as a Bush Fellow. Bush Fellows are chosen for their records of achievement and “their extraordinary potential to make significant contributions to their communities,” according to the Bush Foundation.

Trista has participated in our WGI / Wounded Warrior Workshops, was part of the group that read last year at the Kennedy Center in Washington, and also had her work read during this year’s WGI Gala.

“I have to tell you, the Bush Fellows selected along side me are all amazing people doing some of the coolest work in their communities and I am honored to be part of the group,” she told us. “It is a huge honor to be selected as a Bush Fellow.“

Bush Fellows pursue learning experiences that help them develop their leadership skills and attributes. The Fellowship grants can be used for advanced education, networking opportunities, and access to leadership resources, workshops and trainings.

“The value of investing in people is apparent when you look at the accomplishments of Bush Fellows and their impact on our region over that past 50 years,” said Bush Foundation President Jennifer Ford Reedy. “We are thrilled to support this class of Fellows as they pursue the knowledge, connections and experiences that will help them be more effective leaders.”

A total of 465 people applied for the 2016 Bush Fellowship. These 24 Fellows were selected through a multi-stage process involving Bush Fellow alumni, Bush Foundation staff and established regional leaders. Applicants described their leadership vision and passion and how a Bush Fellowship would help them achieve their goals.

“I first applied last September and there were several rounds of written applications and an in person interview,” Trista recounted. “I was notified end of February both by phone and email and it was honestly the best news I could imagine.”

Trista will be using the fellowship to complete her undergrad and graduate studies, as well as working on bringing integrative healing to the Veterans community with a specific focus on Women Veterans.  “I plan on writing/documenting my journey toward healing after military service through my fellowship,” she says. “I really believe that the fellowship isn’t just an investment in me, but an investment in the community of Veterans.”

The Kennedy Center reading provided the spark that got Trista to apply for the Fellowship. “After I received the invitation to do a reading at the Kennedy Center, from Chris Albers I realized that I had not been dreaming big enough,” she told us.  “It may sound silly, but it was perhaps the most profoundly impactful realization I’ve ever had. We can achieve our dreams, but are they big enough?”

The workshops offered Trista some real help as she navigated the application process. “I am certain that the skills I learned in the writers workshops played a huge role in my successful application.   Beyond the writing, the workshops and on-going relationship with my mentors and the Initiative have made me more confident and courageous.”


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