Gateway Program

The Gateway Program is a mentorship opportunity at the USITT National Conference for students from underrepresented populations within our industry.  A professional mentor from a similar background and career path will guide and maximize each mentee’s experience at the Conference & Stage Expo.



2017 Gateway Program

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USITT launched the Gateway pilot program in 2014 in Fort Worth, with three students who were paired with professionals from the industry. Two African-American students received full funding to attend the conference with donations received in memory of Tayneshia Jefferson, and one student received travel and hotel support from her school, Texas Performing Arts at the University of Texas. An additional commitment of $25,000 from USITT was used to cover expenses and create seed money for the sustainability of the program.

In 2015, USITT expanded the program to 12 mentees from underrepresented populations to attend and be mentored at the USITT National Conference in Cincinnati. Six were fully funded (travel, housing and conference), including two Tayneshia Jefferson scholars, and six received partnered support from USITT and the school or organization that nominated them. Underrepresented populations include, but are not limited to: race, gender, sexual orientation/identity, or disability.

In 2016, USITT welcomed 12 more mentees and mentors, plus two peer mentors, to the Conference in Salt Lake City.

In 2017, USITT Gateway mentees received full support to attend the Conference in St. Louis.