Hometown: Birmingham, AL
high school: The Altamont School
college: Harvard University
MAJOR: Visual and Environmental Studies (Film)
GRAD. PROGRAM: University of California, Los Angeles (2008, MFA)
Born in Kenya, May Lugemwa spent her early childhood in Zimbabwe before emigrating with her family to America at the age of seven. She vividly remembers both her sadness in leaving so much of herself behind and her family’s hopes and dreams for the future. Perhaps because of this experience May has grown into a young woman who sees herself, first and foremost, a dreamer.
Like her parents before her, though, May is not content merely to dream. She works diligently to ensure that her dreams become reality. A scholar athlete, student leader, talented writer and musician, she has achieved a remarkable degree of success. May is Valedictorian of The Altamont School’s Class of 2000, co-captain of the varsity girls’ soccer team, president of the Key Club, editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, and first chair of the advanced orchestra’s clarinet section. Her teachers describe her as one of the most dynamic students Altamont has seen in twenty-five years. Among the science honors May has received are the Carver-Gorgas Science Award, the Intel Award for Excellence in Computer Science, the American Chemical Society Award, and regional and state science fair awards. She is a member of Mu Alpha Theta and the National Honor Society.
May has received accolades for her written and oral expression as well. An “eloquent public speaker,” according to Altamont’s Headmaster, she won the Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest in Birmingham for two consecutive years and delivered one of her essays as a moving oration to 2,000 people. She is a member of the National Forensics League and the Quill and Scroll, a journalism honor society. It is in writing that May’s talent and passion unite to create what she describes as a “heightened sensitivity.” “It is,” she writes, “as Spiller described E.A. Robinson, I am like ‘a man without a skin.’ All passes through and I feel everything. As a result I dream without bounds.”
May pursued her dreams at Harvard the next fall as a National Merit and National Achievement Scholar and graduated in 2004. She then went on to earn an MFA at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Theatre, Film, and Television Producers. She currently works for Mattel Corporation.