2003 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 150 students,including these impressive 2003 recipients profiled below.
Shelly Alexandre will graduate from Tacoma CC in June. She plans a double major in biochemistry and psychiatry at the UW in preparation for medical school. As a ninth grader, Shelly started the Wilson HS Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). She enjoys singing with her pop group, "Something Else", and making independent films.
Jayson Beyette from Port Orchard overcame personal challenges and job discrimination to become a LGBT community activist. A leader in the successful Tacoma United For Fairness "No on Initiative One" campaign, he will study business administration at WSU and wants to work for a Gay Rights organization.
Mara Caden tries to be passionate about everything. She loves authentic teaching-inspiring students to learn on their own. After graduating from Seattle's Nova HS she will pursue her interests in social change, literature and music at Mount Holyoke in Massachusetts.
Brian Carhart from Rathdrum, Idaho, is studying sociology and American Indian Studies at the UW and will become a teacher. A tireless activist, he is Outreach Coordinator for the East African Center, manages the Hot Shots soccer team, works at Camp Ten Trees, and will present a workshop on cultural diversity at the Idaho 4-H Teen Conference in June.
Efren Chacon graduated from Yakima's Davis High School and is attending Seattle Central. Mr. Gay Seattle and Mr. Gay Latino 2001, Efren is a health educator with People of Color Against Aids Network. He says, "Being involved with the gay community helped me to accept myself...I learned that no matter what we are, we have to go for our feelings."
Ryan Bronce Digges founded Arlington's Lakewood HS GSA and initiated Challenge Day to reduce bullying and stereotyping. Honor student, athlete and activist, he has chaired the Snohomish County North Youth Council, and is a leader in his parish. Ryan will study bioengineering at the UW.
Tyler Eldred from Yakima and has supported himself while studying at Seattle Central, where he has been a leader in Project Pride. He has worked on the GSBA scholarship committee, Habitat for Humanity, and the Children's Miracle Network. Tyler will study business communications, international relations, and sociology at the UW.
Sarah Goldenkranz, a 4.0 student at Seattle's Garfield HS, has been active in the GSA, Earth Corps, Honor Society, Northwest Girl Choir, and Symphony Orchestra. She plans to major in neuroscience at the UW with a goal of helping develop treatments for neurological diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
Courtney Harris, a Presidential Scholar in the Arts in 1993, performed at Kennedy Center. After dancing leading roles with the Houston Ballet for several years, she is studying choreography at Cornish. She says, "It feels important to not only express myself through my art, but also realize it as my social responsibility."
Michael Helland, a third year GSBA scholar from Kent, will graduate from the UW with degrees in Dance and Community and Environmental Planning. He says, "My mission is to inspire social awareness of the human condition through modern dance performance, education and community organizing in the arts."
Christopher Karnes, a leader of the Henry Foss GSA, came out to the Tacoma City Council to emphasize the need for the law prohibiting discrimination of the basis of sexual orientation. Christopher will attend Tacoma CC and then study theoretical physics at the UW "to further my knowledge about the universe".
Elizabeth Lovato overcame serious obstacles to maintain a 3.7 GPA, play varsity tennis and start a GSA at Centralia HS. While living on her own, she has been active in Stonewall Youth, Narcotics Anonymous and volunteered for the Salvation Army. Elizabeth will study English and photography at Centralia CC, preparing to become a teacher and travel the world.
Salvador Macias' stay in his parents' hometown in Mexico inspired him to become a community activist. A Running Start student at Wapato HS and Yakima Valley CC, he will study biochemistry at Seattle University. Says Salvador, "Helping people out gives me pride. I have been highly active in community throughout my high school years, and plan to continue after I graduate."
Melissa Marsh tested HIV positive at age 18. After overcoming her personal fears, she became a nationally known advocate for high-risk youth. She has worked for Seattle Children's Home, Peace for the Streets, and Country Doctor. Melissa is studying at Antioch with a goal of creating innovative programs to help HIV positive, Hep C positive, homeless and high-risk youth.
David Montalvo from Fife initiated a campaign against Boston U for excluding sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policy and negotiated with corporate Harvard for sub-contracted workers. He says, "I found myself...awakened by my passion for politics and public policies." Now an ashtanga yogi and macrobiotic dieter, David will study social sciences at the UW.
John Otto, who grew up in Puyallup and attended Evergreen thirty years ago, has returned to Evergreen to complete his BA. He then hopes to attend graduate school with an emphasis in transgender studies. John hopes to promote the well being of the trans-community. He facilitates an FTM support group and volunteers with Verbena Health Services.
Jeremy Payne will graduate from Yelm HS and plans to attend WSU to study media or hotel management. He has been active in GSA, honor society, drama, and church, and will be secretary of the WSU GLBTA. One of his teachers says, "Jeremy is comfortable in his own skin....He faces adversity with integrity, approaches challenges with character, and champions those held down by injustice."
Jennifer Ropella, an outstanding student at Curtis HS in University Place, has been active in theater, GSA, and Teens Against Tobacco Use. She says, "Being open minded and determined helped me to overcome personal challenges in life. I learned to make a stand for what I believe in." Jennifer will study theater at Cornish and looks forward to a career in the performing arts.
Tanner Vea, 4.0 student and co-founder of the Auburn HS GSA, is finishing his senior year with independent study in creative writing and literature analysis along with a full college prep course of study. He will continue his studies in literature and writing at Bard College in New York, and hopes to publish a book in the next ten years.
Christine Wheeler Sinclair, a second year GSBA scholar, has returned to college after many years to major in organizational psychology at Antioch. A committed activist, she volunteers at the LGBT Center and is working with Washington Lesbian Organizing Project developing The ArtBridge Project: Bridging the LGBTQ Youth Community with All Communities through the Power of the Arts.
Alicia Wood, a single mom who has overcome serious obstacles to return to school, is studying psychology at Seattle Central CC. Alicia says, "I would like to open people's minds, challenge stereotypes and help to create a welcoming city for all persuasions."
Zhen Zhen Yuan, a second year GSBA scholar from China, has supported herself and maintained a 3.8 GPA at the UW, where she is studying management and human resources. Because English is her second language, she puts in many extra hours of study. Zhen Zhen says, "School is challenging, but I enjoy it!"
RICHARD ROLFS SCHOLARS A $200,000 bequest from Richard Rolfs created an endowment in his memory in 1998. 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, rural towns and outstanding community activists.
Emily Burt, a Rolfs scholar and Running Start Student at Wenatchee HS and Wenatchee Valley College, will attend WSU to prepare for a teaching career. She says, "I want to make the school atmosphere better for students like me." Emily is active in three bands, the WVC GSA, and is starting to work with the humane society.
Joshua Fike, a Rolfs scholar from Federal Way, is studying at Central WU toward a BA in sociology, emphasizing sexuality, gender and organizational development. President of GALA-GLBTSA, and chair for the LGBT Resource Center, Joshua is deeply committed to GLBT rights and a stronger sense of community.
Dana Wolf, a Rolfs scholar from East Wenatchee, founded the GSA at Wenatchee VC. He says, "My home had no student GLBT organization, and that step led me to help others open the minds of our valley. I dream of becoming indispensable to future causes and movements on the GLBT stage." Dana will study psychology at WWU.
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