2011 Scholarship Recipients
Amelia Abiem (SEATTLE) Amelia has made her home in Seattle after fleeing her native Sudan. Since the death of her son's father, Amelia has struggled to find permanent housing, but has never lost sight of her dreams. Discriminated against for being an ally to her lesbian cousin, and shunned from her church community, Amelia wants to use her education to improve the rights of women and LGBTQ people in her homeland. She is studying political science at Seattle Central Community College.
Arianna Allahyar (PUYALLUP) Arianna, born and raised in Puyallup, is pursing a degree in City Planning at Cal Poly. She is a cheerleader and student coordinator for the Pride Center. Arianna aspires to break down labels with in the LGBTQIA community. She is working to create an online resource with information and services for persons under the transgender umbrella, partners of transgender individuals, and their allies.
Peter Benjamin (PUYALLUP) Peter is a second year GSBA scholar, studying history, human rights, and politics at the UW Tacoma. He feels inspired to create social, political, and economic change by volunteering and educating his community. Peter is co-chair of the Queer Student Union and is active with the MLK Institute for Social and Economic Justice. He is a leader at Oasis Youth Center, active in the transgender community, and excels in his studies while maintaining a solid relationship with his family.
Adrian Bravo (Spokane) Adrian, just 17, has already endured more than most. After coming out to his family he was thrown out of his house. Adrian moved to Spokane to live with his sister and attend high school. He is on the honor roll, works at Riverfront Park, and volunteers at Communities in Schools. Adrian's biggest challenge has been not having a role model, and so he looks forward to becoming a role model for others by pursuing his dream of becoming a chemist to work in disease prevention.
Margaret "Miki" Cabell (HOQUIAM) Miki, a 46-year-old lesbian of color from Hoquiam, is studying Humanities at the Evergreen State College. She wants to leave a positive legacy for her children and grandchildren. She is involved in local LGBTQ community advocacy and wants to make a difference in the lives of queer youth of color in her rural community. Miki has helped organize "lavender lunches" as a safe space for discussion free from judgment and oppression.
Carver (SPOKANE) Carver, a three-time GSBA scholar, is a strong advocate for social justice. Her educational success in spite of serious obstacles is her most cherished accomplishment. She has overcome a difficult childhood to return to college and balance work and extracurricular activities with her studies. Carver plans to complete her AA degree at Spokane Fall Community College and transfer to Eastern Washington University to work toward her degree in Social Work. Her goal is to be a positive force for change in the community with special emphasis in the lives of youth.
Alexander Constant (RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA) Alex, a gay, 19-year old UW student, is studying nursing. He is co-president of the Meditation for Everyone RSO, gained a prestigious clinical research position, works as a volunteer in the cardiothoracic unit, is a FIG leader, and has been on the Dean's List every quarter. Alexander is working with UW Q Center to create a Queer Honor Society. Alex plans to earn a graduate degree in nursing and teach university students about the beautiful complexities of nursing.
Brooke Dukes (SEATTLE) Brooke grew up in a small conservative town where she had to fight to be herself as a transgender woman. She graduated from Shoreline Community College with a degree in Visual Communication Technology and Graphic Design, but soon realized she was more passionate about people than pixels. She will pursue a marketing degree from the UW Foster School of Business. Brooke believes that change is possible through education, love, determination, and community involvement. She is active in the LGBTQ community, is involved with the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and participates in transgender support groups.
Martha Ercolano (SEATTLE) Martha is passionate about math, social justice, and her African-American and Lesbian identities. She is studying engineering at Seattle Central Community College. Martha wants to show Black women and queer women that they can succeed in science and mathematics. She represents SCCC at the annual Students of Color conference, has danced in Intiman Theatre's Black Nativity, and sang with the Total Experience Gospel Choir. Martha looks forward to representing minorities by being vocal about the presence of Black and LGBTQ people in technical fields.
Lisa Eytel (NORTH BEND) Lisa completed high school in just three years, and was class valedictorian, yearbook editor, and softball captain. Lisa is a sophomore at Russell Sage College in upstate New York, studying forensic science with minors in criminal justice and pre-law. She is a member of the softball team, vice-president of the GSA, and student government executive board member. Lisa's biggest challenge was coming out to her religious family and community. She plans to attend law school to help protect children as a prosecutor in family and juvenile courts, where she will make a difference, one case at a time.
Ian Feis (MOUNT VERNON) Four-year GSBA Scholar Ian will graduate from Lewis and Clark College this year with a degree in Psychology and Gender Studies. This last year has been pivotal in shaping Ian's career and personal interests. Last summer he interned in New York City with Lambda Legal. He is currently interning with The Albert Kennedy Trust in London, lobbying with Parliament for LGBT homeless youth rights. These opportunities have helped focused his plan to work towards public and social policy rights for marginalized and disenfranchised populations.
Molly Fitzpatrick (SPOKANE) Molly, a Running Start student, at Joel E. Ferris HS and Eastern Washington University, helped organize a 2,000-person protest against the Westboro Baptist Church when they demonstrated at EWU in October. As the president of VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood and a members of the Scary Feminists, she handed out condoms and educated hundreds about rape culture. Molly often competes in Spokane's poetry slams. She is majoring in psychology and women's studies, and would like to work as a diversity counselor while continuing her work as a die-hard political activist.
Monique Franklin (SEATTLE Monique, activist, artist, poet, scientist, and mother, grew up in a LGTBQ household. Monique confronts homophobia and gender stereotypes in all areas of her life and strives to create a world free of homophobia for her daughter. She is one of a very small number of African American Women who have studied computer science at the University of Washington, and she hopes to help open doors for others. Monique also plans to pursue an artistic career as an animator, arts educator, and performing artist.
Emily Juhre (GREENACRES) Emily, a 20-year-old third-year GSBA scholar, has set the bar high. While living in the Spokane suburbs, Emily founded her high school's Gay Straight Alliance, was on the wrestling team and served on the planning committee for a regional LGBTQ conference. Now studying psychology at the University of Washington, she plans to earn a Masters in Social Work and become a therapist. A founding member of SOLE--Students Organizing for LGBTQ Equality—she organized several events in response to youth suicides. Emily is a resident advisor at the UW and proudly sports her Equality sticker and Three Dollar Bill swag on her door.
Ashley Kilcrease (KINGSTON) For Ashley diversity is a way of life. Raised in a lesbian-household, Ashley learned to accept and value differences. She is a student at Western Washington University and plans to teach in low-income, high-risk schools. She is a passionate educator and positive role model. She takes an active role in confronting hazing, bullying and harassment, and fosters acceptance and support for diversity. Ashley is dedicated to helping extinguish barriers for all minorities and to building a country of bridges, not walls.
Aysha Kloub (VANCOUVER) A queer Muslim first-generation, low-income, Arab immigrant with a disability, Aysha is empowered by the intersection of her varied identities and communities. A three-time GSBA scholar in her third year at Fairhaven and Western Washington University, Aysha is designing her studies around immigrant and queer community resistance in the legal system. She works at the WWU Social Issues Resource Center, serves as a youth mentor, and promotes community organizing and anti-oppression education with the Vagina Memoirs, the Queer People of Color Club, and the Student Coalition for Immigrant Rights. Aysha hopes to attend law school and work as a legal advocate with queer and immigrant youth.
Fernando Libor (BREMERTON) Fernando moved from the Philippines to Washington State in 1995. When a medical condition forced him to rethink his career plans, Fernando dedicated himself to helping others through a career in medicine. He recently received his Certified Nursing Assistant certificate and has enrolled in nursing school at Olympic College. As a gay, Asian man, he hopes to work within the Asian-American community to educate about the dangers of risky behavior. Fernando works as a part-time, on-call nursing assistant and volunteers with the Bremerton Salvation Army.
Andrew Nichols (GRANITE FALLS) Life hasn't also been easy for Andrew, a bi-sexual man with two moms, who grew up in Granite Falls. However, his dedication to human rights has never waivered. Andrew is actively involved with PFLAG and NARAL. He has recently completed an Associates degree at Edmonds Community College and will transfer to Western Washington University, where he will study Computer Science and Physics. His long term goal is to run his own software company and teach computer programming.
Dante Obcena (SEATTLE) Dante is a queer Asian immigrant from the Philippines who has transformed his own struggles into powerful and passionate advocacy. He has galvanized his college to crusade for zero tolerance toward bullying and brought the issue to several campuses. Dante volunteers for Bailey-Boushay House, King County Public Health Reserve Corps, and is a Long-term Care Ombudsman. He also raises funds for the Viet Nam Scholarship Foundation and Friends International for the street children of Laos. He is studying nursing with focus on integrating holistic health concepts. He received a medal of excellence in academics and community service awarded by Governor Gregoire in March 2011 and is currently serving as the Study Body President at South Seattle Community College.
Hanna O'Donnell (CARNATION) Three-time GSBA Scholar, Hanna's greatest accomplishment is her commitment to social justice and service to humanity. Hanna is studying at Central Washington University to become an outstanding high-school special education teacher. As a queer woman, Hanna wants to inspire young people to question the world around them and to fight for their own rights, as well as those of others.
Darlene Palmer (SPOKANE) Darlene, a first generation Hispanic student, is majoring in Human Development at Washington State University. A survivor of child abuse, she is proud of raising her daughter in a positive and intentional atmosphere. Darlene is committed to bringing visibility to Spokane's LGBTQ+ community by mentoring at-risk youth and actively participating in her daughter's school. Darlene's goal is to study Clinical Psychology and work in the family court system.
Greg Phelps (PULLMAN) Greg, a second year GSBA scholar, grew up in Pullman, where he felt the constraints of living in a small town and yearned to expand his horizons. He and his parents haven't always see eye to eye. By reaching out and learning about other people and cultures, he believes he will better understand himself. Greg is studying computer science at Western Washington University. He is a member of the Dead Parrot's Society, the #1 college improv comedy group in the country. In addition, Greg is an alumnus of WSU's improv group, Nuthouse. His two passions are computer science and comedy, and he plans to pursue both while promoting equality for the LGBTQ community.
Kyle Rapiñan (SEATTLE) Kyle was homeless as an adolescent and suffered at the hands of a homophobic brother. However, he has overcome his rough start to shine as a community leader. He is a lead organizer with Queer Youth Space. As someone who has turned to the community for support when he faced hardship, Kyle wants to strengthen community resources for others. A four-year GSBA Scholar and student at University of Washington, Kyle is majoring in Political Science and plans to go on to attend law school. He will graduate this year with absolutely no college loan debt.
Carlos "Fezz" Reyes (MOUNT VERNON) Fezz, a second-year GSBA scholar, was pushed out of his home at age 17 and is completely responsible for his own finances. While working nearly 40 hours a week, Fezz will complete his first year at Skagit Valley College, and will then transfer to Washington State University to study veterinary medicine. Fezz has volunteered at several GSBA events and is always looking for ways to give back. He is the treasurer for the Skagit Valley College Rainbow Alliance and a community advisor for the Mount Vernon High School and Mount Baker Middle School GSAs.
Leah Rimington (VANCOUVER) Leah, a Running Start student from Vancouver, Washington, has started her freshman year at Portland State University, where she plans to major in International Studies and minor in Queer Studies. In high school, Leah was a member of the GSA and the National Honor Society. She volunteers with the Queer Youth Resource Committee and Harm Reduction Center. Leah's goal is to help people by continuing harm reeducation and social justice work.
Luis Fernando Sanchez (LAKEWOOD) Fernando has risen above adversity all of his life. At age 16, he fled his native Honduras after coming out to his family. His father attempted to "beat it out of him" and Luis feared his life in Honduras was destined for homelessness and sex work. He escaped to the United States, where he was put in foster care, learned English and completed his GED. Now at age 22, he has completed an AA in Social Service Mental Health and is planning to enter an RN program. He would like to become a Nurse Practitioner with a focus on community nursing in the Hispanic LGBTQ community.
Zara Sedore-Mallin (REDMOND) Zara, an outstanding student, graduated from Sammamish High School. Zara is a founding member of the We Need Queer Youth Space Project, and has been involved with the Reteaching Gender and Sexuality Campaign. Zara will be attending Mills College in Oakland, California to pursue a degree in public policy. Zara plans to get a PhD and work for a policy think-tank, focusing on direct-response legislation addressing problems facing queer youth, queer economic disparities, and queer people of color in particular.
Simone Senn (KENT) Simone is studying Recreation with a focus in Environmental Education and Women's Studies at Western Washington University. She is the Resident Advisor for Western's first Gender-Inclusive Housing program. Simone strongly identifies with her Nez Perce ethnicity and culture, her Catholic faith, and her lesbian identity, as well as her feminist and environmentalist values. She has been a Girl Scout for 16 years and works at GS summer camps to empower youth with courage, confidence and character. She plans to use her education to inspire her communities.
Kevin Simison (YAKIMA) Kevin, a four-year GSBA Scholar from conservative Yakima, currently attends Pacific Lutheran University. He is majoring in business with concentrations in Accounting and Finance and minoring in Health Services Administration. After working for a few years, Kevin plans to attend the University of Washington to prepare for a career in hospital administration. He holds leadership roles in clubs including the PLU Democrats, Beta Alpha Psi-Honorary Accounting Club, and the Society for Human Resource Management. Kevin is active at GSBA networking events and has helped grown the GSBA Scholarship Alumni Committee.
Janae Teal (COLFAX) Janae, a first generation college student from Colfax, is majoring in Sociology and English with a minor in Women's Studies at Washington State University. Janae works with the campus GSA and at the Women's Resource Center. She also performs as a drag king at local events and fundraisers. After graduating, she wants to attend graduate school to focus on Sociology with an emphasis in Gender. Having battled both gender and sexuality issues, it is her aspiration to help young LGBT people explore their place in society.
Danny Wakefield (SEATTLE) Danny is a first generation college student from a small, rural, Midwestern town. He attends Seattle Central Community College and is working on his AA in Deaf Studies and Elementary Education. He plans to transfer to the University of Washington to continue his studies toward a BA in Special Education. Danny balances night classes, working for the Seattle Public Schools, providing respite care to teenagers with autism, and raising dogs. It is not easy to grow up as the only lesbian in your hometown. Nor is it easy as adult to shed that identity and embrace a new transgender self. However, Danny approaches his challenges with openness, willingness to learn, and a wellspring of courage.
Jessica Warmbo (SEATTLE) Jessica, a queer woman from Port Orchard and a four-year GSBA Scholar, is entering her final year at the University of Washington's School of Social Work. She looks forward to graduate school, and plans to engage in social justice work, especially in the queer community. She has overcome abuse and poverty to make it to college as a happy and healthy person. Some of her proudest accomplishments include teaching a course called "Queer 101," participating in the School of Social Work's curriculum committee, and calling out heterosexism, transphobia, and homophobia in everyday situations.
Christopher Wukasch (TACOMA) Christopher is very proud to have completed two years as an AmeriCorps reading tutor, as well as his first year at the Evergreen State College. A second-year GSBA Scholar, Christopher is studying Environmental Education and plans to pursue a Masters in Teaching. He interns with the Nisqually River Education Project, leading field trips at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge for elementary school student and worked as an intern for a visitor use study at Mount Rainier National Park. Christopher believes that through service you become a better leader—and the best leaders lead by example. Christopher is doing just that.
RICHARD C. ROLFS SCHOLARSA $200,000 bequest from Richard Rolfs created an endowment in his memory in 1998. Rolfs, a native of Wenatchee and a graduate of Washington State University, was a gay community activist for more than twenty years. The Rolfs Awards target students from eastern Washington, rural towns, and outstanding community activists.
Allan Fonseca (MABTON) Allan, a 20-year old, two-time GSBA Scholar has completed two years of college at Eastern Washington University while attending high school at Mabton Junior and Senior High. As a young boy, Allan was faced with many challenges because of his race, economic background, and sexual orientation. His confidence has grown exponentially, and he has emerged as stronger man ready to fight for equality. Allan is studying nursing at Eastern Washington University, and hopes to become a doctor.
Cheerie Truong (SEATTLE) Cheerie, a 30 year old, Asian lesbian from Seattle, is a confident and a strong leader. She is a single-mother, working as a pharmacy intern, and attending Washington State College of Pharmacy. In addition, she has been active with the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center and has administered flu vaccinations to teens living in a shelter. Cheerie is an active advocate for educating HIV/AIDS patients and caretakers about disease management and drug therapy and plans to bring increased awareness to the healthcare field.
Glenn Johnson and Michael Melancon Bright Horizon ScholarHusbands, Glenn Johnson and Michael Melancon believe a college education should be the accessible to everyone in American. Endowed in 2010, the Glenn Johnson and Michael Melancon Bright Horizon Scholarship Fund identifies and supports one student each year with a full-tuition scholarship to the University of Washington. This Fund recognizes a UW student who has demonstrated strong academic achievement, and who is actively engaged in their community.
Jordon Inloes (VANCOUVER) Jordon, a three-time GSBA scholar, is studying biochemistry at the University of Washington. He works in a research lab and tutors high-school math at Roosevelt High School. He plans to attend graduate school in pharmacology, and would like to help find a cure for diseases like AIDS. He hopes to help the scientific community become more open to the LGBT community through forthright interactions with colleagues.
C. Wight Reade Memorial ScholarC. Wight Reade was a Seattle physician and well-known lover of the arts. His estate provided large bequests for the GSBA Scholarship Fund, the Seattle Opera, and the Men's Chorus. To show our gratitude, The GBSA Board of Directors choose to honor Wight's memory with a scholarship to a student with a passion for and interest in the arts.
Katrina Sizer (BRUSH PRAIRIE) Katie graduated from Hockinson High School, and recieved an AA degree from Clark College at the same time. She has withstood negative reactions after coming as a lesbian, only to emerge as stronger, more goal-focused woman. Katie is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, is on the President's List, and tutors high school students. Katie will attend Portland State University, where she plans to earn a Masters in Social Work, specializing in art therapy catered specifically to LGBTQ youth. She hopes to provide the kind of help and encouragement that she needed, but rarely found as a young lesbian.
Thank you to our 2011 Scholarship Partner
PHOTOS: Team Photogenic © 2011
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