Christopher Carlson, a student in the Film Division of the School of the Arts, received a Humanitas fellowship at a July 8 awards ceremony in Los Angeles . The award, called the David and Lynn Angell Humanitas Comedy Fellowship, carries a stipend of $10,000.
Carlson received the award for a "spec" script he wrote for an episode of the situation comedy Scrubs, titled My Fork in the Road. In the episode, the main character, J.D., gets a chance at a promotion and must choose between ethics and status. Carlson penned the script in a TV-writing class.
A North Dakota native, Carlson graduated from the University of North Dakota before becoming a speechwriter for Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.). While at Columbia, Carlson received a fellowship from Comedy Central, which helped to pay his tuition.
The Humanitas Prizes were established 30 years ago and are among the few major awards to honor scriptwriters. According to Frank Desiderio, president of the Humanitas Prize, the awards are "given to writers whose work celebrates values that help people develop as human beings."
The David and Lynn Angell fellowship was established last year to honor sitcom writer David Angell and his wife, who were killed in 9/11 terrorist attacks.