The Point Foundation — the national nonprofit that mentors and awards scholarships to deserving LGBTQ+ youth — recently announced their crop of scholarship recipients for the 2021-2022 academic year. This year, Point awarded more scholarships than ever, with the highest number ever going to BIPOC and trans students. Read Point's statement below on their 2021-2022 scholarships and click through to view profiles on the recipients of the Point Flagship Scholarship, given to students attending four-year undergraduate or graduate schools.
"It is only fitting that Point will be awarding more than 320 scholarships this year – the most in its history.
As the nation’s largest LGBTQ scholarship granting organization, Point has invested $43 million in supporting students achieving college educations. Each Point scholar also receives access to multiple leadership development programs, mentorship or coaching, and the support of a community of scholars and alumni to help them succeed.
For LGBTQ students, obstacles to equality remain. This was made all the more evident during the pandemic. For example, in a study conducted this year by the UCLA Williams Institute in collaboration with Point, it was reported that LGBTQ students were more than twice as likely to have lost student housing than non-LGBTQ students (15% vs 6%, respectively). Nearly half of LGBTQ students who moved home during the pandemic were not out to their families about their sexual orientation or gender identity. And, overall 31% of LGBTQ students experienced a housing disruption due to the pandemic compared to 17% of their non-LGBTQ counterparts.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation saw inequities in health care, housing, and education in starker relief, but also through the eyes of Point Scholars who reported losing jobs, internships, housing, food, and internet access as campuses were forced to shut down.
Even with the challenges presented by this pandemic, Point continued to look forward and fulfill its mission to help LGBTQ students. This past academic year, Point supported 158 students — the largest and most diverse class in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity, with 75% of students identifying as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) and 29% as transgender or nonbinary.
Last year, as the nation began to reckon with the country’s history of racism and inequality, Point created a scholarship specifically designed to meet the needs of LGBTQ BIPOC students. The new BIPOC Scholarship awarded 24 scholarships to its first class in February 2021.
Now with Pride month here, and students returning to campuses all across the country this fall, Point Foundation is announcing their first round of scholarship awards for the 2021-22 academic year. 21 new scholars have been selected for the prestigious Point Flagship Scholarship program, given to students attending four-year undergraduate or graduate schools. They will join 38 continuing scholars bringing the total number of Point Flagship Scholars to 59. An additional 60 students will receive Opportunity Grants.
'We received more than 2000 applications for the Flagship Scholar program this year, and it was one of our most competitive selections ever,' said Jorge Valencia, Executive Director & CEO. 'We know these scholars will succeed and we’re here for them every step of the way. I’m also excited to announce that in the coming weeks we will award more Community College and BIPOC scholarships than ever before – which will equate to more than double the amount of students we supported last year.'
This expansion of Point Foundation’s work is made possible because of the generosity of supporters which include (in alphabetical order): Coach Foundation, DTS, FedEx, Lands’ End, Katy Perry, MacKenzie Scott, Sallie Mae Foundation, Synchrony Foundation, Toyota, Victoria’s Secret, Wells Fargo, and more."
Click through the gallery to view this year’s new Point Flagship Scholars.
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science & David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Anchor Trust Scholarship
Mikiko is a medical student at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. As a Black woman from the South, a first-generation Jamaican-American, and a cisgender and queer woman of color, her inherent sense of intersectionality broadened her understanding of diversity, justice, and community. She became interested in mental health during a college cultural psychiatry class where she learned about the racialized over-diagnosis of schizophrenia in black men during the civil rights era—using this to create a proposal for similar research into diagnostic inaccuracies faced by queer Jamaican youth. In medical school, Mikiko has remained ardent in her goal of helping humans and communities thrive by serving as a student representative on both the medical student and faculty executive equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) committees since 2018. Since 2018, she has also worked with her mentor Dr. Eraka Bath in the Department of Psychiatry, co-managing a pilot sexual and reproductive health curriculum for youth who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation (CSE). By adapting 11 modules, she aimed to include gender-and-orientation diverse representation that bolstered the distinct experiences of youth impacted by CSE who share an LGBTQ+ identity. During 2022, she will complete the first specialized 4th elective in the UCLA EMPWR Clinic, which provides individual and group therapy for LGBTQIA+ youth navigating traumatic experiences. Through this, she hopes to create a sustainable experience for students and ultimately improve care for LGTBQIA+ patients in the future.
Harvard University (Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School)
Jamar’s story is a product of the sacrifices of his Black father, born at the cusp of the Civil Rights movement, and his mother who immigrated to the U.S. from South Korea. Growing up, Jamar spent much of his childhood grappling with parts of his identity that constantly felt in conflict with one another. Finding it easier to focus his attention elsewhere, he invested his energy in school. He majored in Gender Studies at Yale where he met people who for the first time in his life empowered him to have pride in his identity as a first-generation college student and queer person of color. Eager to use his education to effect change, Jamar joined Deloitte’s Government & Public Services practice as a consultant in 2017. At Deloitte, Jamar worked on many international development and social impact projects, ranging from promoting effective governance and democracy in Tunisia to helping organizations in Cambodia better support survivors of trafficking. He also served as a Public-Private Partnership Funds Manager for the United States’ leading initiatives focused on defending and advocating for the human rights of vulnerable people around the world, including those within the LGBTQI+ community. After four years of consulting, and motivated by events surrounding the murder of George Floyd, Jamar decided to refocus his attention domestically. With an unrelenting commitment to the communities that he comes from and a yearning to honor the work of public servants who came before him, Jamar is pursuing a joint MPP/MBA at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School. Looking ahead, he’s excited to design and leverage public-private innovations in education that improve the lives of BIPOC and LGBTQI+ youth across the U.S.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Synchrony Foundation Scholarship
Up until 10th grade, Arianna Peró’s entire life had revolved around the study of classical voice. They never expected to end up a science junkie among art nerds, but it only took one CrashCourse video before they became hooked on theoretical physics. Alongside this fascination, Arianna is also committed to making a difference for those around them, having been effecting political change before they were old enough to vote. Throughout high school, Arianna held public office as chair of their local town hall’s Youth Council Committee. In February 2018, Arianna helped found Students Demand Action, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to ending gun violence. In 2020, Arianna’s work in issue advocacy and as Senior Class President further led them into the world of criminal justice reform. A first-generation American born to Afro-Cuban and Indigenous Venezuelan parents, Arianna grew up immersed in two cultures. Years of rejecting assimilation taught them to always find pride in their identity. Arianna realized that they were gay at the age of 10 and came out again, as non-binary, at age 15. Despite having hidden these realities from family for so long, Arianna has never once felt ashamed of their truth. Whether they are registering new voters, diving into a physics textbook, or serving as president of one of seven school organizations, Arianna is nothing if not dedicated. While attending MIT, Arianna hopes to apply their experience in empowering Hispanic and LGBTQ+ communities to the work of increasing diversity in higher education and scientific research.
Em Kuo is a queer, gender fluid, Taiwanese-American advocate who is driven to leverage her voice and privilege to effect positive, systemic social change. Throughout her early childhood, Em was raised in the Christian faith and regularly attended church while simultaneously grappling with her gay identity and gender fluidity. Coming from a conservative, low-income, immigrant family, Em struggled to understand her "otherness" throughout adolescence and instead poured her energies into schoolwork and student government positions. While at Duke University, she then actively began to integrate her true self with her outward self and found her first queer chosen family in Out for Undergrad (O4U), a nonprofit dedicated to empowering high-achieving LGBTQ+ undergraduates with the resources they need to succeed as authentic business leaders. Here, she saw models of LGBTQ+ excellence and was hooked; Em ultimately held several leadership positions across 2015 to 2021, including National Conference Director of the 2019 O4U Marketing Conference. Professionally, Em is on a mission to take technology and scale for social impact in every organization she joins. After five years at Amazon and OMD, Em is now a MBA + M.S. in Design Innovation (MMM) Candidate at Northwestern Kellogg School of Management and the Northwestern McCormick School of Engineering. She serves as the Kellogg Student Association EVP of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, an ex-officio Board Member of Howard Brown Health (the largest LGBTQ healthcare provider in Chicago), the VP of Intersectional Allyship and Advocacy in Pride@Kellogg, and a Career Management Center Career Peer. After Kellogg, Em will continue embarking on a career in product, coaching, empathy, and inclusion. Em is thrilled to continue challenging the status quo and investigating ways to make products and organizations more equitable and accessible, advocating for those on the margins who are oft forgotten.
Sofia was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and she moved to Miami when she was 13 years old. Sofia discovered she was queer during her sophomore year of high school. She joined the board of her high school’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) during her junior year in order to facilitate a space for younger members of the community to be seen and to feel part of a vibrant community. She also became involved with My School Votes and its mission to close the race and age voting gaps present in Florida as the leader of the Orange County team. During high school, Sofia conducted research on voting habits in the United States and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In the fall of 2021, she will begin studying at Yale University, where she plans to major in Ethics, Politics, and Economics. She intends to become involved with Yale’s LGBTQ+ student cooperative. Once she graduates, Sofia’s goal is to work with the United Nations to advance its Sustainable Development Goals, namely goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.
University of Kansas
Alfred A. Cave Scholarship
Donnavan was born and raised in the wonderful town of Lawrence, Kansas. Throughout his youth Donnavan was often the shy or soft-spoken kid who never fit in with a crowd. He struggled a lot with fitting in due to his complexion, interests, and overall differences from his peers. After entering high school Donnavan decided it was time to break out of his shell and make the most of his experiences both in and out of school. After joining student council, becoming a three-sport athlete, and getting heavily involved in politics and advocacy, he came to terms with his personal identity and found his place in his community at large. His experiences in those years solidified community, advocacy, and action as a part of Donnavan’s guiding principles. In his time in high school, Donnavan has dedicated countless hours to successfully address issues within his district, ranging from an equitable dress code, mental health, and no tolerance bullying policy, to campus wide gender-neutral bathrooms. Inspired by his own struggles, Donnavan has worked tirelessly in and out of Kansas to make our country a better place for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or race. Some of his main areas of focus in community organizing and politics are LGBTQ+ rights and protections, healthcare, and minority rights issues that are important to his various identities. Donnavan is attending the University of Kansas, where he hopes to center minority voices to better address inequity across campus for many demographics. After finishing his program, Donnavan plans to travel to abroad, elect minority candidates across the country into all offices, and one day return to Kansas to serve the community that shaped him.
Arizona State University
Wells Fargo Scholarship
Morgan was born and raised in a rural, conservative corner of Western Kentucky. He attended Catholic schools throughout elementary, middle, and high school where he was taught that to be anything other than straight or cisgender was a "sin". Between middle and high school, he began to come to terms with his sexuality but was unsure of how to go about sharing this aspect of himself with the world. Soon after, he found his answer in activism. Morgan began volunteering with organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Hugh O'Brian Youth (HOBY) Leadership, and When We All Vote. Understanding the struggle of being gay in rural America, he was driven to make a change and lend support to those like himself. In the fall of 2018, he cofounded the Kentucky Young LGBTQ+ Democrats, a caucus under the Kentucky Young Democrats advocating for laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to outlaw the harmful practice of conversion therapy in Kentucky. Soon after its creation in the fall of 2018, Morgan was elected to serve as the caucus’ vice president until assuming the role of president in the fall of 2020. Morgan plans to attend Arizona State University to major in Public Service and Public Policy, with the aspiration of attaining an MPA in Nonprofit Management. He hopes to serve in the Peace Corps and his dream is to one day create and operate his own nonprofit organization addressing LGBTQ+ issues.
Wells Fargo Scholarship
Jenna grew up in an interfaith household in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. While growing up as one of few black and queer children in a predominantly white community, she often felt out of place in her environment. In her early years, she spoke at diversity conferences, unpacking the experience of navigating predominately white institutions. She soon identified public speaking as her preferred method of advocacy. Accordingly, after being diagnosed with Tourette’s in 2016, Jenna became a youth advocate for the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome. In 2018, she was selected as a Bioethics Scholar, conducting research on the environmental ethics of prison-construction in highly polluted areas, and exploring the meeting of ethics and policy. In 2019, she was selected for the Herlead Fellowship, where she became equipped with the tools to turn her passion for change-making into reality. She has honed her advocacy skills as captain of a nationally ranked Ethics Bowl Team, Mock Trial lawyer, and competitor in constitutional oratorical contests. From 2018 to 2020, she engaged politically as an intern on the Tom Malinowski for Congress Campaign, member of the Congressman’s Youth Advisory Council, and Governor of NJ Girls State. Throughout 2020-2021, she served as President of her school’s Community Service Committee and headed a Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) mentorship organization. Jenna will attend Duke University as a Robertson Scholar, aspiring to research human rights advocacy through the Kenan Institute for Ethics. She plans to obtain her JD, specialize in constitutional law, promote inclusive & comprehensive historical education, and pursue a career in public service.
Andreas immigrated to the US in 2017 because he fell in love with the love of his life. Shortly after moving to Philadelphia, Andreas attended the Community College of Philadelphia and graduated with highest honors and an associate’s degree in Mass Media in the Spring of 2020. He then transferred to Temple University where he pursues a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Journalism studies. Being an established student media personality — Andreas hosted a TV show at his community college — he pitched the idea for a queer TV magazine show to Temple’s TV station. Andreas is now host and co-producer of QT - Queer Temple and his work is being recognized and used as educational material for media students. Andreas, a self-proclaimed intersectional feminist, also dedicates his work to reproductive health and volunteers with Planned Parenthood. In the future, he wants to work in broadcast media, and maybe even create an independent queer, intersectional feminist media outlet. “We need to own our narrative and create empowering stories so we can empower generations to come,” he says. Andreas will graduate from Temple University in the Spring of 2022.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Tianhan (Davy) grew up in a rural village on the cusp of Xi’an, China in a conservative family. Around the age of 12, Davy discovered his identity as a gay man and immediately struggled with the deeply internalized stigma from his culture. After years of secretly battling with mental health traumas, at the age of 18, he decided to leave China and came to the U.S. for a more liberating social environment. At the University of California, Berkeley, he graduated with triple majors in chemistry, genetics, and psychology as a first-generation low-income college student. He then went on to Harvard to pursue a master’s degree in computational biology and quantitative genetics. Through his journey from Berkeley to Harvard, he developed an irrefutable passion for cancer biology, which sparked his interest in becoming a physician scientist with a focus in cancer evolutionary dynamics. His work has been published in PNAS and Trends in Cancer with two more in revision for Nature and Plos Pathogen. Outside of his academic goal, Davy also has personal goals for creating social impact in the global health sector, particularly in mental health. From 2017-2021, he participated in and initiated various projects including health equity education, a mental health de-stigmatization campaign, COVID-19 crisis intervention and peer support program evaluation. His work in this area on has been published in Journal of Psychiatric Res., HPHR and JEMEP. Davy is pursuing his MD-PhD after graduating next year and will continue to develop his academic and personal goals.
Southern Methodist University
Jo grew up in Coppell, Texas and they immediately knew that they were different. Their experiences as a minority were formative in their youth and they began to advocate for different issues such as racial equality and climate change at the age of five. Jo publicly came out as bisexual on June 26, 2015, after gay marriage was legalized, and they soon became an LGBTQIA+ advocate within their community. They became more involved in human rights and social justice advocacy which eventually led them to attend Southern Methodist University (SMU). Jo is majoring in Political Science, Public Policy, and Human Rights with minors in History and International Studies. During their time at SMU, Jo has been involved in numerous extracurricular campus activities. They served as SMU’s Queer Senator from 2019 to 2021 and as the 2021-2022 Student Senate Chief of Staff. They also served as the Vice President of three organizations on campus: East Asian Student Association, Armstrong Commons Council, and First Generation Association. In 2021, Jo will be serving as SMU’s Human Rights Council’s Finance Director and as a student representative to numerous advisory boards like Dedman College’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative. Jo is the founder of the Unity Coalition @ SMU, which unites minority students in the fight against white supremacy, both on campus and in the greater Dallas area, through education and community service. In the spring of 2023, Jo will graduate from SMU and they hope to represent marginalized communities across the country through politics.
Harvard Business School
Adriann was raised in Florida, spending the first half of her childhood with her mother. After a brief period of homelessness during high school, Adriann spent the remainder of her youth with her father. Adriann was a late bloomer with her sexuality, realizing she was a lesbian and coming out in her senior year of college at the University of Florida. Initially pursuing a technology career, Adriann’s career started at Deloitte Consulting. Most recently she managed marketing technology and US websites for Nestle. She was a founding member and 2021 co-lead of Nestle’s IT LGBTQ+Allies employee resource group. In that group, she organized discussions on identity, intersectionality, and the impact of LGBT targeted marketing in the consumer products industry. Her childhood experience with homelessness influenced her to support LGBTQ youth housing initiatives. Since 2014 Adriann has been an active supporter of SMYAL, an organization that provides housing and education services to Queer youth in the DC region. Adriann organized volunteer events, fundraising drives, and served on their 2020 and 2021 scholarship committees. In 2021 Adriann will be moving to Boston with her wife Becky and their dog Phantom to attend Harvard Business School, to refocus her career on consumer marketing. She hopes to make the field of consumer products marketing more inclusive and more impactful for LGBTQ communities. In her free time, Adriann has been a member of DC’s Different Drummers LGBTQ marching band since 2018 and plans to continue supporting organizations that combat Queer youth homelessness in Boston.
University of California San Francisco School of Medicine (PRIME-US Program)
Kelvin has lived many places, but considers Kingstree, South Carolina home, as it holds generations of familial history and serves as his primary place of formative growth. Moving through this small town as a Black gay child, he experienced a great deal of bullying. Stifled by the social intersections of queerphobia and anti-Black racism, Kelvin found escape through his studies. In the fall 2015, Kelvin entered Brown University as a Public Health and Biology major with a particular interest in the humanist and social justice aspects of medicine. While at Brown, Kelvin served as an LGBTQ sexual health advocate and spent much of his time investigating social barriers to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake in LGBTQ youth. Of note, he partnered with faculty at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and published several findings on how the lack of confidentiality protections under a parent’s insurance policy negatively impacts LGBTQ youth’s willingness to take PrEP. During this time, Kelvin learned many invaluable lessons; most important, he learned that there exists great power in focusing on human narratives when encountering and examining the total health of an individual. Following the completion of his undergraduate studies in 2019, Kelvin gained employment as a Clinical Research Coordinator working on several clinical trials with an emphasis on improving preventative HIV care for queer and trans people of color (QTPOC) living in San Francisco. As an incoming medical student at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine for fall 2021 admission, he plans to continue centering QTPOC health in his medical studies and advocacy.
Jeff Ogle & Jeff Stearns Scholarship
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Manuel Faria comes from a lineage of first- and second-generation Portuguese immigrants from Madeira Island. In the same spirit, Manuel immigrated to Miami, Florida, to further his education and ultimately graduated with Highest Honors from The Honors College at Miami Dade College. During this time, Manuel was a Point Community College Scholar, Salzburg Global Citizenship Fellow in Austria, and Founder of a student-lead literacy initiative that served students in Miami, Malawi, and Ghana. Trading palm trees for pine trees, Manuel will now be transferring to Stanford University to culminate his B.S. in Neurobiology and minor in Religious Studies, following his dream of ultimately becoming a physician. Currently, he is a research fellow with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, investigating genetic and auto-immunologic pathways with in-vitro cell lines. In the coming years, Manuel hopes to continue exploring the Daoist principle of ‘living like water,’ embracing both change and uncertainty with natural fluidity – in his queer and health advocacy, scientific and humanistic studies, as well as his career and personal goals. When he is not reading or writing, Manuel enjoys a sensible combination of mindfulness meditation, the occasional skydive, and – most importantly – the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
She/Her/Ella & They/Them/Elle
University of California, Berkeley
Victoria's Secret Scholarship
Jessie is a proud transgender Chicana from Salinas, California. Her father is an immigrant field worker from Fresnillo, Zacatecas, México and her mother is from Brownsville, Texas and is a first-generation college graduate that now works as a teacher. Jessie graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2018. Through her lived experiences, Jessie has focused her personal and professional work on addressing the mental health needs of transgender people of color (POC). After graduating from UCLA, Jessie worked at a transgender health program at a community clinic in South Central Los Angeles doing workforce development workshops with transgender POC. In March 2019, she (along with two other trans colleagues) co-organized the first ever transgender job fair in South Los Angeles that had over 70 employers and over 700 trans job seekers from all over California. Set to graduate in May 2022, Jessie is a Master in Public Health and Master of Social Welfare candidate at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on how institutions, organizations, and systems affect the mental health of transgender POC. Additionally, her internships have been focused on providing therapy for trans youth of color in the Bay Area. Jessie also created the Under the Same Colores podcast that centers the experiences of trans POC. In the future, Jessie is driven to become a therapist for transgender POC and to become a professor to educate on the disparities that transgender people face with the hopes of combating transphobia and creating more allies.
Washington University in St. Louis
Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Marc Ridgell is a rising junior at Washington University in St. Louis. As a Black, queer, and first-generation college student, Marc is committed to advocating for Black and queer communities through activism, publicity, and research. In summer 2020, after the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, Marc created a social media-based initiative called the Black Queer Informative Project, partnering with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at their school to educate his university community about the connections between Pride month, Black Lives Matter, and intersectionality theory. Since starting college, Marc has been involved with Black Anthology, an annual theatre production at Washington University that narrates an experience within the African diaspora. In December 2020, serving as publicity chair for the organization, he spearheaded the creation and exhibition of a digital museum, showcasing Black undergraduate and graduate students’ writing and art. At Washington University, Marc studies African and African American Studies, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Sociology. A Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Marc’s research focuses on how Black queer and transgender people understand, experience, and theorize their intricate identities as they navigate social spaces. After finishing his program, Marc plans to attend graduate school to continue advocating for Black and queer communities through academic and activist motives.
University of Texas at Austin
Patti Sue Mathis Scholarship
Isaac was born and raised in Arlington, Texas. After coming out as gay in high school, the treatment he received from his classmates inspired him to get involved in advocacy for LGBTQIA+ rights in the realm of public education. He was a founding officer of his school’s GSA and ultimately served as President, a role that opened his eyes to the impact of student-centered leadership in furthering inclusive classroom environments. Isaac continued involvement in this area upon enrolling at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin by serving as a member of the GLSEN Austin Board of Directors, where he leads professional development trainings for K-12 educators on the importance of LGBTQIA-inclusive classrooms. Additionally, as a Legislative Intern for the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus in spring 2021, Isaac spearheaded the drafting process for HB 4064, the first bill filed in state history that would prohibit bullying and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in K-12 education. On campus, Isaac was elected Vice President of the UT Senate of College Councils, where he led the student body through the COVID-19 pandemic and elevated LGBTQIA+ student needs. At UT, he also served as Co-Director of the Queer and Trans Student Alliance, Chief Justice of the Student Government Supreme Court, and Editor-in-Chief of the Texas Undergraduate Law Review. After graduating from UT Austin in spring 2022, Isaac plans to attend law school and eventually pursue a career at the intersection of LGBTQIA-inclusive education policy and public service.
Michael J. Jeffrey and Jeffrey J. Mitchell Point Scholarship
All their life, Erin has been forced into gendered boxes that never seemed to fit. Whether it was wearing certain clothes to look more feminine, or acting a certain way to please their parents, Erin has always felt that something was not quite right. In the summer of 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Erin finally found the language to describe themself as a trans-masculine lesbian. Now Erin seeks to help others find the language needed to become their most authentic selves. Erin is a senior Physics major at Spelman College. They are also the president of the Spelman College Society of Physics Students Chapter, where they arrange physics demonstrations for young Black students in the surrounding Atlanta West End area. Due to the stark underrepresentation of Black marginalized genders within physics, these demonstrations are incredibly important for creating a foundation for young, marginalized students to explore their scientific passions. Erin’s ultimate goal is to receive a PhD in Theoretical Astrophysics with a research focus on black hole kinematics. They then plan to become a professor and teach Astrophysics and Cosmology at the university level.
New York University Tisch School of the Arts
Wells Fargo Scholarship
Felix grew up in Lynn, Massachusetts, attending a mix of private, charter, and public schools. He was an outgoing kid who embraced change, until the age of 13 when he publicly came out and began to understand the social stigma attached to having an LGBTQ+ identity. Through the support of his parents, community, and Unitarian Universalist church, Felix was able to rise above discrimination and envision how he could promote equality and inclusion for youth minorities. He became a Peer Mentor at NAGLY, a local LGBTQ+ youth organization, where he helped kids feel safe and brave. As a summer camp counselor, he helped vulnerable kids find their voice and strength. He proudly served on his school’s Inclusivity Panel, and as a Massachusetts Youth Leadership Foundation 2019 MassSTAR alumni and 2020 Peer Mentor, Felix has honed his leadership and teamwork skills to serve others and promote change. As a photographer and filmmaker, and with the help of a devoted youth arts organization called Raw Art Works, Felix found ways to use his creative talents to further the message of societal equity and bring attention to the mental health issues that arise from lack of support to vulnerable minorities. Felix’s films have been selected for festivals around the world and have won several awards. His photographs have been shown in local and New York galleries. He will be pursuing a BFA at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, majoring in Photography and Imaging, where he will also take Gender Studies.
Stacy R. Friedman Scholarship
After immigrating to the United States from South Korea as a child, Yvin grew up in multiple small, conservative towns across the country before moving to Normal, Illinois in 2014. In middle school, she grappled with the intersection of her gender, sexuality, and ethnic identity, and encountered bigotry on multiple fronts. The drive to understand not only herself but also their communities drove Yvin to founding her middle school's Diversity Club in 2016 (after efforts to create a GSA were blocked) — the first of its kind for middle schoolers in her town. Their foundational work would pave the way for the subsequent creation of a GSA. In the fall of 2019, Yvin helped create and was elected president of her school's Student Diversity Committee; months later, they joined the leadership teams of the student advocacy group ‘Not in Our School’ and the immigrant advocacy organization ‘BN Welcoming’ in the summer and winter of 2020. During her tenures, Yvin focused on creating accessible anti-bias efforts, hosting marches and rallies in coalition with other activist groups, facilitating the implementation of Restorative Circles as an alternative to traditional punishment, and integrating teacher perspectives by funding inclusive curricula. They also earned the titles of national semifinalist and quarterfinalist for the National Speech and Debate Association and qualified for the Illinois Music Education Association’s All State Orchestra multiple times as a cellist. Yvin will attend Columbia University, studying both political science and neuroscience on the pre-law track to advocate for LGBTQ+ protections on a structural level.
The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Rand Skolnick Endowed Scholarship
Sydney Rinehart is a bisexual woman who was born and raised in Illinois. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in 2019 with a bachelor’s in applied psychology, where she first came out and found her queer family while serving as a volunteer and president at the InTouch Crisis and Support Hotline. As an undergraduate, she served on five research projects pertaining to social justice, inequality, and healthcare access. She designed an emergency room intervention to educate friends and family of rape survivors in support techniques, and she interned as a group co-facilitator with individuals convicted of domestic violence as an alternative to incarceration. Currently, she works at the Northwestern Juvenile Project, a longitudinal study of mental health needs and outcomes of youths after incarceration. She is the founder and co-director of Galentine’s Day, an annual celebration and fundraiser for cis and trans women and gender non-conforming people. In the fall, Sydney will begin her master’s degree in social work at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where she will work as a graduate student instructor for a women and gender studies course. She will work with Dr. Ashley Lacombe-Duncan, coordinating community-based participatory research projects focused on understanding and addressing barriers to healthcare access among LGBTQ+ people, with a particular focus on trans women living with HIV. Sydney believes in a community response to justice that restores, repairs, and rebuilds while divesting from systems of punishment. She will use her career to pursue new pathways to justice.