CSULB student earns $5,000 Disney UNCF scholarship

As an FX Storytelling Legacy Scholar, Zhen Smalls will receive a mentorship with an FX employee.

Amanda Palacios Image
Wednesday, February 28, 2024
CSULB student earns $5,000 Disney UNCF scholarship
Zhen Smalls is a film major student at Cal State Long Beach whose passion for film earned him a $5,000 Disney UNCF scholarship.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Zhen Smalls is a 20-year-old film major student at Cal State Long Beach who is trying to make his mark in the world of cinema. With a passion for storytelling, Smalls was selected as an FX Storytelling Legacy Scholar and was granted $5,000 through the Disney UNCF Scholarship Program.

"So the scholarship applies 100% because it's FX. They deal with television and producing and writing. So it goes hand in hand with what I want to do in my creative field," Smalls said.

The scholarship also includes a mentorship with an FX employee and career workshops. Smalls said he plans to use the scholarship money to create more film projects. With the support of the scholarship program, Smalls said he plans on writing and directing more film projects.

"What I liked the most about it is you're like creating something and then other people are a part of it. And they can take as many as much as they want from it," Smalls said.

But Small's creative vision doesn't stop there. He's also a student assistant for the post-production lab at school where students can edit and work on film projects.

"He's always collaborating with his friends and other students on projects, you know, even outside of class and coursework. So yeah, my impression has been very favorable so far," said Robert Rhyu, department technician for the CSULB Department of Film & Electronics.

Smalls said he's learned a lot about film during his time at Cal State Long Beach, but he hopes to collaborate with other FX Scholars and learn more about the industry.

"I've connected a little bit with them. But I hope to connect more with them in the future," Smalls said.

Smalls said he's grateful for the opportunity and will keep working hard to tell his creative stories.

"The FX Legacy Scholarship, it's just been a huge impact on my life financially and personally and it's been very motivational too," Smalls said.

Disney is the parent company of ABC7.

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