Meet the 2013 Point Foundation Scholars
BY Advocate.com Editors
June 19 2013 6:00 AM ET
As a Tucson native, Megan feels very fortunate that she was able to be surrounded by the richness and beauty of Mexican culture along the Mexican-American border from a young age.
When Megan was 17, her mother died of breast cancer, and she decided to major in Spanish and biology at Duke University, with dreams of advocating as a physician for the Latino community, which opened her worldview to such a greater perspective. At Duke, her passion to advocate for minorities intertwined uniquely with her own life when she realized that she identified as a lesbian. Yet she could see that at Duke there was not an affirming environment for the almost entirely closeted LGBTQ women's population. With an incredible team of editors and student support, she spearhead Duke's first publication for LGBTQ women and their allies. After a year of hard work, WOMYN magazine was born, with a first issue of more than 50 pages and 40 submissions. At the release party for WOMYN, the staff's initial goal finally materialized; more than 70 people attended, and the majority present were LGBTQ women.
Megan has pursued her commitment to LGBTQ and minority advocacy by working at Mautner Project: The National Lesbian Healthcare Organization, Duke’s Gender Violence Prevention-Intervention Task Force as a student member, NYU/Bellevue’s Survivors of Torture with LGBTQ refugees, and the Institute for Family Health as a bilingual Diabetes Health Coach in a FQHC in the Bronx, N.Y.
Megan is also passionate about confronting racism and white privilege; she was a member of Duke’s Native American Student Alliance and Black Student Alliance, and accepted a Fulbright Scholarship in Mexico City to learn more firsthand about Mexican culture. With Fulbright, Megan lived in Mexico City for a year, teaching at La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and is forever grateful for this life-changing experience to learn from an incredibly rich country and culture.
Megan is excited to pursue her dream to advocate for marginalized communities as a pro bono physician, particularly for LGBTQ individuals, people of color, women, international and Spanish-speaking patients, and to advocate for these communities nationally, internationally, within the clinic, and on a policy level.
What Megan hopes her scholarship will help her accomplish:
Financially, the Point Scholarship allows me to enter pro-bono medicine and free-clinic work for marginalized populations in the United States and abroad immediately after finishing medical school, which is an incredible gift! In the same way, I believe that the mentorship and leadership components of the Point Scholarship will give me a greater ability and knowledge about how to advocate for our communities at the policy level, as I believe there are so many societal determinants of health that impact a patient’s and community’s health outside the medical examination room.
What Megan is most excited about in being named a 2013 Point Scholar:
I am most excited to join a community that is as passionate about equality for LGBTQ individuals and minorities as I am! I am grateful for these next four years to learn greatly from their experience, knowledge, and leadership.
Megan's words of advice to LGBT youth struggling with familial rejection, educational difficulties, or other hardships:
I actually don’t believe in the It Gets Better campaign; I think it is not fair to say that it always, necessarily, gets better for everyone. I think for some individuals we could point to examples when it actually got worse. I remember in my own life, it was an incredibly difficult process to come out. I even have memories of telling one of my friends my sophomore year at Duke, "I don’t know how I’d ever come out." Yet through the support of others around me, it was possible.
If I could give one piece of advice to struggling LGBTQ youth, it’s that you are not alone, and you are the farthest thing from worthless. There are so many LGBTQ individuals and their allies in this world who can give you a support system not to make it easier to come out, because it may never be easy nor may it be right for you to come out, but to at the very least affirm that you and your identity are exceptional.