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Recent Miami Dade College Graduate and Aspiring Costume Designer Wins Two Awards at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival


Miami, March 19, 2014 - Johanna Gonzalez has been sketching silhouettes of people in clothing since the second grade, but it was only recently that the Miami Dade College (MDC) graduate discovered her true talents for costume design. At the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival held in February, she not only won the prestigious Focal Press/Rafael Jaen Award for Excellence in Theatrical Design and Technology, but also a scholarship to attend a week-long summer seminar at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas.

“It was life changing. It gave me a focus and push,” said Gonzalez on winning the awards. “It was nice to be around people who enjoy doing what you love to do.” The festival took place in Roanoke, Va., where Gonzalez and ten other MDC drama students traveled with Wolfson Campus Professor Joshua Braun to compete.

Gonzalez, who received her Associate in Arts degree from MDC in December, focused on fashion design for the bulk of her studies. However, prior to graduating Gonzalez approached Braun about working on costume designs for his play Clybourne Park, performed at the Wolfson Campus in December. “I loved it,” said Gonzalez, who hopes to pursue a bachelor’s of fine arts degree at Florida International University. “I definitely see myself doing costume designs for movie productions and TV shows,” said the 22-year-old.

Started in 1969 by the Kennedy Center's founding chairman, Roger L. Stevens, the festival is a national theater program aimed at improving the quality of college theater in the United States. It has a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase and receive constructive criticism of their work. 

This is the third time that Braun has taken students to compete in the festival, which has helped to deepen their commitment to their craft and opened the door to other opportunities. In addition to Gonzalez’s awards, six MDC students were nominated to participate in the festival’s Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition and another student was cast in a staged reading of a new one-act play.

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino Florin, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Kai Hill, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Roxana Romero, 305-237-3366,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

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