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Two graduating seniors awarded the Louis B. Sudler Prize in the Arts for Dance and Film
profile images of henry and paula

Graduating seniors Henry Koskoff (left) and Paula Acocal are Emory’s 2023 recipients of the Sudler Prize, which recognizes exceptional contributions to the performing and creative arts on campus.

Students Henry Koskoff and Paula Acocal are Emory University’s 2023 recipients of the Louis B. Sudler Prize in the Arts. The award honors graduating seniors who have demonstrated remarkable promise in the performing or creative arts.

The Sudler Prize, given annually at Emory and a select group of colleges across the nation, including Princeton, Duke and MIT, is accompanied by a $6,000 award.

Henry Koskoff

Originally from Westport, Connecticut, Koskoff made a remarkable impact during his time in Emory’s dance and movement studies program.

“Henry is phenomenally articulate, respectful and truly values the creative and educational process,” says Emory Dance professor of practice George Staib. “Henry’s pursuit of excellence and his drive not only inspire us as teachers, but also motivates his peers via his uncanny way of inspiring by doing… lifting up by example setting.”

“It feels surreal to be honored with this award,” says Koskoff, a double major in dance and creative writing. “I must acknowledge the extraordinary faculty members that have supported my academic development over the span of my collegiate studies, namely my major advisors Mara Mandradjieff and Heather Christle.”

Koskoff plans to remain in Atlanta for a year after graduation, building his resume before applying to master’s degree programs in dance. He hopes to begin those studies in fall 2024.

“Through the disciplines I have chosen to pursue at the core of my liberal arts education here at Emory, I've been able to contextualize my craft and rediscover my voice as it emerges across media,” says Koskoff. “To be recognized at the very culmination of this undergraduate work is immensely gratifying.”

Paula Acocal

Hailing from Yonkers, New York, Acocal already is a well-respected filmmaker by her faculty and peers alike.

“Her passion for storytelling shows at every stage of filmmaking as she navigates the process of taking words on the page to the screen,” says Dehanza Rogers, director of production and assistant professor of film and media. “She understands that filmmaking isn’t just about the mechanical skills but also a deep understanding of storytelling, conceptional thinking, critical analysis, as well as establishing collaborative relationships.”

“At first, and even now, it feels a bit surreal,” says Acocal, who is a double major in film and media studies and creative writing. “There is an amazing group of student artists at Emory, and I feel so humbled to be chosen by the committee.”

Acocal credits the film professors at Emory for helping nurture her skills and encourage artistic exploration. She specifically cites her honors committee members and professor David Barba in helping position her for success at Emory.

After graduation, Acocal plans to spend the summer in Puebla, Mexico, and continue her work on a feature-length documentary about her family’s history in Mexico and their migration to New York.

“The news [of the award] brought about a great feeling of recognition,” says Acocal. “I have worked on films and writing since freshman year and am graduating with a short film that’s poised to compete in film festivals. It all feels very full circle.”

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