Meet This Year's Inspiring Point Foundation Scholars
BY Sunnivie Brydum
June 20 2014 6:30 AM ET
Alexa grew up in Bloomington, Minn. In 2011, she began volunteering with Minnesotans United for All Families, a group created to defeat a proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution that would prohibit same-sex marriage. After the successful defeat of the amendment in November 2012, Alexa continued to work with Minnesotans United on their successful campaign to pass a marriage equality bill in the state, taking on a leadership position in her region. During the 2013-2014 school year, Alexa focused her efforts on the issue of bullying, working to pass a comprehensive anti-bullying bill and plan a one-day conference for students focused on youth empowerment.
Marcus Lee is a budding-scholar and activist from Charlotte, North Carolina. He is a member of the Class of 2015 of Morehouse College, a Mellon Mays Research Fellow, and a member of a variety of community organizations and initiatives oriented toward racial justice, gender equity, and sexual liberation. His academic research interests include Black Gay AIDS activism in the ‘80s and LGBTQ grassroots organizing in the U.S. South; and — with those foci — he hopes to one day obtain a Ph.D. and go on to teach at a small, intimate college. Marcus is passionate about being a part of intentional communities that serve as spiritual healing spaces, pools of emotional replenishment, and reminders of why the work that he is doing is critical. He is scholastically driven by the narratives — accomplishments, needs and desires — of his friends and family. Motivated in large part by a past of self-contempt, Marcus works daily toward living into himself more fully, and he pushes for a society in which everyone can feel empowered and enthused about life.
Samir Luther grew up in Missouri, and he is a proud graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. The day that President George W. Bush endorsed the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004, Samir applied to work at the Human Rights Campaign. From 2004-10, he ran HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, partnering with Fortune 1000 companies and AmLaw 200 law firms to recruit and retain talented LGBT workers, to implement inclusive policies and benefits and to advocate for LGBT nondiscrimination laws. In addition to the CEI, he authored "Transgender Inclusion In the Workplace, 2nd Edition" and led the organization’s research and advocacy on same-sex partner and spousal benefits, as well as transgender-inclusive health insurance. From 2010-13, Samir managed the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute’s recruitment and leadership development programs for LGBT leaders. In addition to running Victory's Presidential Appointments Project, he created the Victory Congressional Internship for LGBTQ students. Samir also spearheaded a partnership between Victory and the U.S. Agency for International Development to launch Victory's first political participation trainings outside of the United States.
As an MBA student at the MIT Sloan School of Management from 2013-2015, Samir is focusing on operational excellence and change management through data analytics. He is passionate about sustainable economic development through information and communication technology and financial inclusion.
Jez Lim Marston
Jez Lim Marston was born in Miami, Florida and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. Coming to terms with his sexuality and queer identity in a country often deemed as the "most homophobic place on earth" (Time Magazine, 2008), he struggled to imagine a future as an out LGTBQ individual. Proudly raised by a single mother, he found a passion for learning and science as a teenager. Jez came out as a junior in high school to a supportive family, and he publicly came out upon entering college.
Jez attends Yale University and is a pre-medical Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry major. In his first year at Yale, Jez codirected an LGBTQ affinity group for freshman and worked as a queer peer counselor. Seeing a need for promotion of LGBTQ identified STEM students, Jez founded the Yale chapter of oSTEM and serves as its president. He is also very involved in the Sexual Literacy Forum at Yale, a student-run semester-long workshop on sexuality, identity, privilege, and well-being. In his final year at Yale, Jez will serve as a peer liaison for the Office of LGBTQ Resources. In that capacity, he will welcome LGTBQ-identified students to Yale and provide them a connection to the broader LGBTQ community.
Jez plans to dedicate his future career to addressing inequities in health care, specifically those facing LGBTQ youth and queer families. In addition, he aims to work toward improved LGBTQ competency training for medical professionals across training institutions. He hopes to serve as a model of what is possible for future LGBTQ youth.