2001 GSBA and Richard Rolfs Scholars


GSBA SCHOLARS — Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) Scholars — Founded in 1990 to promote leadership and diversity in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, the GSBA Scholarship Fund includes gifts from hundreds of donors and has granted scholarships to over 100 student, including this year's recipients:

Halisha Anderson, an African American lesbian, is studying culinary arts at Seattle Central Community College (SCCC). She hopes to become a personal chef for seniors and persons living with HIV/AIDS who have special dietary needs. Halisha wants to help diversify the leadership in the culinary arts field.

Rattanack Ath, a gifted Cambodian student, is graduating from Rainier Beach, where he has been active in the Cambodian Club and the SYEP youth leadership program. A running start student at SCCC, Rattanack will study electrical engineering at the UW. His goal is "to help others and make them smile."

Sharon Baez, a Puerto Rican lesbian mother of three, has worked for People of Color Against AIDS and does financial advocacy at Public Health Seattle and NW Family Center. Sharon recently initiated a support group for HIV+ Latinas. She is studying accounting at City U.

Bogdan Bagdasarov, an Armenian, was born in Azerbaijan. When he was six, war between Armenia and Azerbaijan forced his family to move to Russia. At age 13, he came to Seattle. Bogdan is an honor student at SCCC and plans to study graphic design at the UW.

Ronald Keith Bell has been living with AIDS for nearly 20 years. He is studying herbalism and ethobotany at Evergreen with a goal of using phytopharmacognosy (plant medicine) to help bridge the gap between herbalists and Western medical practitioners. Ronald wants to contribute to finding a cure for AIDS.

William Blue is studying filmmaking at New York's School of Visual Arts. A graduate of Mt. Rainier High, he has worked for Earth Service Corps and Chicken Soup Brigade. William is curating a series showcasing GLBT moviemakers. He hopes to teach filmmaking to "inspire other progressive filmmakers to find their voices."

Sam Castic has overcome serious personal difficulties to pursue his education and his goal of holding political office to fight for equality for all people. An outstanding scholar, he is studying political science, drama and journalism at the UW. He has been actively involved in the UW GLBTC and statewide political campaigns.

Mariam Doulatshahi is graduating from Mercer Island High and will study at Reed. Mariam has overcome her own challenges, and wants to work with at-risk adolescents as an adolescent psychiatrist. She volunteers at New Horizons and the Orion Center for homeless young people.

Jenapher Dues, a graduate of Vancouver's Mountain View High, is studying music and nursing at Tacoma CC. She has faced serious obstacles, but is working full time to get her education. Jenapher wants to help form a LGBT support group at her college.

Darryl Elliott has worked for People of Color Against AIDS Network and OUTLOUD. He is a member of the African American Task Force Against Domestic Violence and the Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities. Darryl is working toward his dream of becoming a lawyer at Tacoma CC, and plans to continue at Seattle U.

Kate Fortmueller turned her own fears into action by starting Lakeside School's GLOW (Gay, Lesbian or Whatever), and is the founder of the local chapter of COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere). An outstanding student, she will study psychology, African-American studies and/or art history at Smith College.

James Frew is graduating from Bellingham's Squalicum High, where he has overcome personal hardships and brutal homophobia to become a student leader and yearbook editor. He will attend Seattle U to study journalism and film production, and hopes to become a magazine writer or editor.

Michael Helland, a graduate of Kent-Meridian High, is studying urban design and dance at the UW. The first person in his family to graduate high school, he works several jobs while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. Michael is actively involved in Phi Eta Sigma, a community service honor society, and the GLBTC.

Mitchel Johnson, a second year GSBA scholar from Shelton, plans to become a clinical psychologist. An outstanding student at Seattle U, he is also involved with GLBT issues, Young Democrats, and Earth Action Coalition. Mitchel attended the 2000 International AIDS Conference in South Africa.

Brianne Pearson, a graduate of Olympia's New Century High, overcame serious health obstacles to resume her education at South Puget Sound CC. She plans to transfer to Evergreen to study psychology in preparation to work with GLBTQ youth who suffer from panic disorders.

Aaron Rabideau from Billings, MT, is a second year GSBA scholar at the UW, where he transitioned from female to male while a resident advisor and director of the GLBT Commission. A chemical engineering major, he plans to become a surgeon specializing in sexual reassignment.

Meri Rinehart, a graduate of Mt Rainier High, plans to attend Bellevue CC to study criminal justice and become a police officer. An accomplished musician and outstanding athlete, she has been the First Team All League Player for the Seamount Softball League.

Laramie Smith, a third year GSBA scholar from Olympia, is studying psychology and GLBT studies at WWU. A Latin American lesbian and committed activist, she wants to work with queer youth "to strengthen the bridges of all our diverse identities."

Vasile Stana escaped communist dictatorship in Romania in 1988. He overcame hardships of refugee life to become a massage practitioner. Vasile has taken nursing related courses at SCCC and Renton Technical, and will study nursing at the UW to work with persons living with AIDS.

Erik Stegman, a second year GSBA scholar and graduate of Northwest School, is studying urban planning and political science at Whittier. He wants to become a civil rights attorney. Erik is active with the ACLU, PFLAG, and is on the National Board of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network).


RICHARD ROLFS SCHOLARS — A $200,000 bequest from Richard Rolfs created an endowment in his memory. Rolfs, a native of Wenatchee and graduate of Washington State University, was a gay community activist for over twenty years. Awards target students from Eastern Washington and outstanding community activists.

Rigoberto Gomez, a second year GSBA scholar from Sunnyside, is completing studies in child psychology and education at WSU. Despite homophobic threats, he has been active in GLBTA, and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan. He plans to become a teacher or child psychologist.

Jeff Thompson, a gay Latino graduate of Deming's Mt. Baker High, is an HIV prevention counselor. He has overcome personal loss and lack of family support to pursue his education in business and counseling at SCCC. Jeff plans to transfer to the UW to prepare for a leadership role in HIV/AIDS prevention.

Lauren Trent, a Roosevelt High graduate, is studying at North Seattle CC, where she coordinates the Student Ambassador program. The daughter of a lesbian mother, Lauren plans to major in international studies at the UW, go to law school and specialize in human rights law or alternative dispute resolution.

Teriann Vaughan, a second year GSBA scholar from Burlington, is studying at the competitive visual communication design program at the UW. She plans for a career in exhibition design as "an active voice for communities shrouded in mainstream interpretation of history."

Anoria Haick grew up in Loon Lake in Eastern Washington and is graduating from Jenkins High in Chewelah, where she helped form a Diversity Club. Also a running start student at Spokane Falls CC, she was a founding member of the GLBT Alliance. Anoria plans to study humanities, English and biology at Evergreen.

Melissa Scammahorn overcame discrimination as a young lesbian in Central Washington. She has kept a 3.9 college GPA at WSU while supporting herself. A strong activist, Melissa wants to practice family law to see that "young adults are not prohibited from personal growth and universal respect."

Gerardo (last name withheld), a first generation immigrant from Yakima Valley, has worked hard in the fields with his family while engaging in numerous school and community activities. Gerardo plans to study psychology and minority affairs at Central Washington University.

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