2013 Scholarship Recipients

Omar Acosta (SEATTLE) Raised by his stepmother until age 12, Omar has since had to fend for himself. He faced a difficult childhood, suffering from child abuse and discrimination. Although the experiences were difficult, he sees them as critical to shaping his character and who he is today. Double majoring in Biology and Psychology at the University of Washington, Omar aspires to become a Clinical Psychologist, allowing him to help individuals facing different challenges in their lives, in particular the LGBT and homeless communities.
Mick Arieta (QUEENS, NY) A 27-year old queer, Latino community organizer, Mick is currently enrolled at the Evergreen State College. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree with a concentration in public policy and sustainability. His career interest in advocacy and policy work began with his gender transition and experiences as a New York City activist. Mick dedicates his time to promote social and economic justice for LGBTQ and immigrant communities. He is involved with the Queer & Trans People of Color student group and hopes to bring greater visibility to the transgender community.
Margaret "Miki" Cabell (HOQUIAM) As woman of mixed heritage who walked the borderlands of two worlds, Margaret was seldom fully accepted by either. As a child, she was deeply conflicted as a person of two cultures, and judged deeply for her sexuality. Her mother is an immigrant from Ireland, and her father is Native. As a child, education was never a priority. The reservation where she grew up was saturated with poverty, violence, deep-seated prejudice and historical trauma. She is deeply committed to being a voice, changing fear into promise and hope for her people in the future.
Krystal Campagna (MILTON) At 13, Krystal was homeless on the streets of Las Vegas, enduring repeated abuse and hospitalization due to homophobic attacks. She managed to work three jobs in high school to get herself off the streets, away from predators, and to build a better life for herself by attending college. She has worked for the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth & Safe Place for the last seven years, giving back and supporting those faced the same challenges she had as a teenager. Krystal is currently at South Seattle Community College and plans to earn her Bachelor’s in Nutrition & Culinary Arts from Bastyr University, and from there to pursue her Master’s and PhD in Psychology with the goal of helping homeless and LGBTQ youth.
Carver (SPOKANE) Overcoming many challenges and obstacles as a child and as a homeless teen, sometimes working three jobs to make ends meet, Carver is already giving back to the community. Her most important accomplishments to date are having graduated with honors with her Associate’s Degree from Spokane Falls Community College and now finishing up her junior year at Eastern Washington University. She continues to work hard while studying for her Bachelor’s in Social Work with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. She intends to apply for the accelerated Social Work Master’s program and participate in an intense practicum working directly with youth.
Audrey Chavarria Calderon (MEXICO CITY, MEXICO) Currently a Running Start student at Highline Community College in Des Moines, Audrey is planning to pursue a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington - Tacoma. Born in Mexico City, his family moved to Montgomery, Alabama in search of a better life. While in Alabama, Audrey became aware of his identity as a young gay Latino man. In 2010 he was faced with two challenges: a rising wave of anti-immigrant laws that sought to prevent students like Audrey from attending college and earning a degree, and a community that was openly hostile to members of the LGBTQ community. Both these challenges led Audrey and his family to seek opportunities in a new place: “fresh new home Washington.” He is involved in organizations including Proud Out and Wonderful, the Latin@ Educational Achievement Project (LEAP) and the Burien Library Advisory Board.
Julian Chavez-Gamez (MOSES LAKE) Overcoming the tragic loss of his father, Julian has persevered and made education and helping others his life’s mission. He recently founded Sparks of Hope, a free one-day camp for 30 children ages 5-12 to help them through the grieving process after losing a loved one, serving a need that he saw unfulfilled in the community. Currently attending to the University of Washington and majoring in Social Welfare, Julian’s long-term goal is to obtain as Master’s in Social Welfare and to start a nonprofit organization serving disadvantaged populations.
Alex Constant (RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA) Alex is an autistic, gender- and sexuality-fluid, Jewish 20-year old majoring in Informatics, a branch of computer science at the University of Washington. Their current research at Intel’s IxR Lab and Stanford’s Calming Technology Lab has involved looking at how big data can be personalized and naturally calming. Their prior research with the University of Washington and Yale includes prototyping smarthome technology to help aging in place, and helping frame an algorithm to predict post-operative pain in women. Alex has established mindfulness mediation sits at the UW Henry Art Gallery, has had four of their art pieces hung in the School of Social Work lobby, has won the SNC-Lavin Honorable Mention Prize at the Environmental Innovation Challenge, helped establish the LGBTQ group oSTEM at the University of Washington, has won a Mary Gates Honors Scholarship and is an archival librarian at UW.
Daniel Cords (Seattle) Coming out at 14, Daniel was immediately placed into a conversion therapy program run by Exodus International by his very religious family. As word of the therapy got out, he was increasingly bullied at school. And then halfway through his senior year of high school, his parents kicked him out of his home and cleared his bank account. These terrible years robbed Daniel of his education and forced him to find his own resources. In 2010 he enrolled at Cascadia Community College to finish his high school curriculum and is currently working toward his Bachelor’s at Antioch University. His goal is to get his Master’s in Arts Education & Teacher Preparation and to become a high school teacher. He has been part of the Seattle Men’s Chorus for the last seven years and volunteers for Arouet, a small theatre company with a mission in social justice.
Raphael Diallo (SEATTLE) Born and raised in Seattle, Raphael has been involved with Rainier Scholars, an academic program for students of color, since the 5th grade. In 2010 he graduated from Lakeside School and enrolled at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. As a rising senior and Film Studies major, Raphael will be creating a senior thesis film next year. He lived in Wesleyan’s Open House, a center for queer life and events at the college. He has been an intern at Amazon for two summers and is looking forward to working at Google this summer as a BOLD intern. Raphael’s goal is to eventually get an MBA and to continue working at the crossroads of business and media technology.
Deanna East (LACEY) An activist, volunteer, educator, community organizer and mother of two, Deanna enjoys supporting people in creating lives they love. She founded and has run three independent programs for homeless and low-income students at Timberline High School. She has co-founded and led several community organizations, including a Bisexual Women’s Support Group in Lacey for seven years. Her current challenge is creating the time to complete her Bachelor’s Degree at Evergreen State College, which is her first step toward working for an agency that offers services to the homeless and low-income populations.
Devin Ercolano (SEATTLE) Three-time GSBA scholar Devin is a Computer Science student at the Evergreen State College. She works at the school’s tutoring center and loves helping her fellow students with their math homework. Before attending Evergreen, Devin attended Seattle Central Community College. Her goal is to become the first person in her family to earn a doctorate. She is working hard to represent and inspire Black queer woman, who are significantly underrepresented in the field of computer science. When she is not studying, Devin is rolling around the track playing roller derby.
Jonathan Everett (PULLMAN) Born and raised in Pullman, Jonathan also started college at Washington State University. Spending the majority of his life in a small town has presented him with plenty of challenges, but also with opportunities and experience that helped form who he is today. Currently attending dental school at the University of Washington, his goal is to provide dental care to the people of Washington State. He looks forward to the opportunity to serve his community both as a dentist and in ways beyond his career. As the Secretary of the American Student Dental Association, Jonathan is already active in traveling to rural and underserved areas to train students about good oral health practices. His mentoring work as part of the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center has helped underrepresented students become competitive applicants for post-graduate academic programs.
Molly Fitzpatrick (SPOKANE) A double major in Women’s Studies and Psychology at Eastern Washington University, Molly has already proven her commitment to speaking up for others. She is the President of VOX / The Scary Feminists, where she has been particularly active in organizing resources for survivors of sexual assault. She has recently been asked to join the Board of Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho. Both as an intern with the Washington Bus and the Washington Student Association, she has stepped up to get other young people engaged in politics and led voter registration drives during the R74 campaign. Molly has done all this while battling depression, helping her mother after she had a stroke and supporting her grandfather during his fight with lung cancer. She will graduate next year and continue on her path toward a doctorate in psychology and becoming a counselor and community organizer.
Allan Fonseca (MABTON) A gay, Latino man, Allan long concealed the truth about his orientation for fear of rejection and solitude. He hid behind books and his education, hoping that someday that would give his life meaning. A four-year GSBA scholar, Allan views his education as a tool and not as a lifesaver. He has overcome many obstacles, and plans to continue to contribute to social justice causes in hopes that someday he can change the world for the better and make it possible for future LGBTQ youth to never have to experience what he went though. He wants to work in the medical field and to continue being a leader so that he can serve as a role model for everyone.
Jake Funkhouser (SOUTH BEND) Throughout high school Jake continually looked for new avenues to grow and succeed. Facing a rough senior year after coming out, he immersed himself in a variety of activities, including 4-H, the Missoula Children’s Theatre, the American Kennel Club, and student leadership. He was selected to be part of the Washington State Legislative Youth Advisory Council and was three-time class president and valedictorian. With nearly 450 hours of community service under his belt, Jake seeks to lead by example. He will be studying Primate Behavior and Ecology at Central Washington University next year, and hopes to one day work in a zoo or as a wildlife performer.
Michelle Goodman (GREY'S HARBOR) A single, bisexual mother of three, Michelle has overcome homelessness, drug addiction and domestic violence. She attends the Evergreen State College, where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Humanities. Michelle co-facilitates Lavender Lunch, a gathering where queer, questioning and allied people can express themselves without fear of judgment. She has found more than just knowledge during her educational journey – she has found herself. Michelle’s goal is to earn a Master’s in Social Work and to create a more just and inclusive community, continuing to give back and be the voice of change.
Kelly Hill (OAK HARBOR) Living with AIDS for 13 years, Kelly works at the BABES Network, providing peer education and one-on-one support for women living with HIV/AIDS. She has also done extensive volunteer work with Lambert House, Washington United for Marriage, Powerful Voices, King County Needle Exchange and The Arc of King County. She accomplishes all this while facing her own challenges related to being HIV+ and being a single mother to a son with special needs. Kelly is a student at Antioch University, preparing to become a mental health counselor. She is passionate about social justice issues and has a strong desire to provide mental health care to underserved and marginalized populations.
Katy Imbrone (ST. PAUL, MN) Katy is a 25-year old returning student and ILWU Local 5 labor union steward studying mathematics, education and labor history at the Evergreen State College. Passionate about education and working class reform and empowerment, her goals are to deconstruct the systematic tracking-out of students from technical fields and mathematics. She also works with local organizations to create and nourish intergenerational communication within the LGBT community in Olympia. She is working toward becoming a mid-level mathematics teacher, serving as an example and reformer for students.
Lane Kaiser (BREMERTON) Born and raised in Kitsap County, Lane will be graduating in June from Bremerton High School with his diploma and from Olympic College with his Associate’s Degree. He is involved with the Gay-Straight Alliances at both schools, is part of the National Honor Society and is an active member of the LGBTQ community in Kitsap County. He has taught countless workshops across Kitsap on topics ranging from marriage equality to gender education. One of his proudest achievements was the creation of Pink Prom – an all-inclusive prom for youths ages 13-20. This event was attended by over 200 students from 13 high schools and three college campuses. Lane will be attending Portland State University in the fall, majoring in Social Work. His goal is to work against discrimination and protect the rights of all people.
Pasha Karriem (SEATTLE) A service-oriented individual who believes in giving back to her community, Pasha believes that it is her responsibility to be a leader and ally for the under-represented. She is a volunteer for the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, the LiFTeD and S.W.A.G. youth groups, the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club and the TRIO support group at South Seattle Community College. Having overcome a period of homelessness during the financial crisis, she is now pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in accounting to become a Certified Public Accountant. She hopes to open an accounting firm to provide services back to her community, being a strong ally by providing internships to LGBTQ and allied youth and partnering with LGBTQ organizations.
Eric King (MINNEAPOLIS, MN) A gay man born and raised in Minnesota, Eric relocated to Seattle for the liberal culture and hopes of acceptance. He began his college career at Seattle Central Community College and plans to transfer to Portland State University this fall to complete his Bachelor’s Degree in microbiology. Eric is a first generation college student who lost both of his parents to potentially curable illnesses in his early twenties. Experiencing his parents’ illnesses and subsequent deaths motivated him to pursue a career in healthcare and disease prevention. As a pharmacy technician, Eric has been exposed to many disease states, but he found his passion working with the HIV+ community. Eric’s career aspiration is to become a primary-care physician assistant specializing in HIV treatment.
Carnella Linder (SEATTLE) A black lesbian serving as a single mother to her niece, Carnella’s goal is to change the cycle of poverty that has oppressed her family for generations. She has had to constantly balance her school work, her job and her family. The first person in her family to attend college, Carnella currently attends Seattle Central Community College and aspires to earn her Bachelor’s in Social and Human Services. She plans to work in poor communities advocating for homeless and at-risk youth, young adults and the LGBTQ community and to help educate them and provide them with food, shelter, clothing and opportunities to pull themselves off the streets. She wants to make sure that no one else has to raise children the way that she herself was forced to live.
Emily MacDonald (LONG BEACH) A senior at Ilwaco High School, Emily has already shown tremendous leadership. She founded the first Gay Straight Alliance in her small town high school and was elected student body President. Her biggest challenge at the moment is that her family has been homeless since her single mother lost her job, relying on the generosity of friends and family. Despite her living situation, Emily is determined to achieve her goals – she aspires, more than anything else, to go to college. This education will allow Emily to pursue her career goal of helping people as a mental health counselor.
Antwon Mitchell (SEATTLE) As a queer person of color, Antwon has gained a passion for psychology and understanding of how people are affected by their experiences and unique backgrounds. As a child he would borrow his mother’s college textbooks on psychology and sociology, and he has maintained that passion as he now enters college himself. He aspires to become a psychologist, to use his knowledge and expertise to help heal people who are directly impacted by sexual violence, especially those in the LGBTQ community. He co-founded his high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance and is currently involved with P.O.P!, a project of the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center. Antwon wants to continue to be an advocate for the unique issues facing the LGBTQ community. In his own words, “Becoming a psychologist isn’t just a title for me, it is credibility and having power to influence tangible change.”
Ashley Peers (SNOHOMISH) Growing up in a small town and attending a small high school in the Sky Valley has helped Ashley foster a great sense of civic duty. While she loves where she grew up and had relatively smooth coming out experience, it was not always easy to be a young lesbian there. She gained the respect of her peers, serving as four-term class president, homecoming queen, and being named “Most Inspirational Senior.” In allowing Ashley to be their voice, they helped her find her own. After graduation, Ashley will enroll at Western Washington University to pursue a major in Biology and then a career in medicine.
Greg Phelps (PULLMAN) Greg, a fourth-year GSBA scholar, is studying Management Information Systems at Western Washington University. As a member of the IT Leadership Team, he organizes outreach events to help expand the major and the field of information technology. He serves as a Student Admissions Representative and as the Business Director for Western Washington University’s nationally ranked improve comedy ensemble, the Dead Parrots Society. He regularly performs in from of large audiences and believes that laughter is medicine and that humor is incredibly important in and out of the workplace. He aspires to work int eh technology field during the day and doing improve comedy at night, all while seeking ways to bring positive change to queer community.
Colby Rezayat (BAINBRIDGE ISLAND) Born in California but raised on Bainbridge Island, Colby will receive his Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Western Washington University next month. He has been with Skagit Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services for four years, and is currently working as the Education and Prevention Coordinator. He is very passionate about these subjects and enjoys working with young people in his community to help foster an environment where they can explore the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships. He was recently accepted to the University of Washington Master’s in Social Work program for this fall. He plans to pursue an emphasis in mental health and achieve his LICSW to practice counseling with a specialization in LGBTQ issues and domestic violence and couples counseling.
Kendra Robinson (SPOKANE) A single mother of two, Kendra is pursuing her degree in respiratory therapy after being out of school for 12 years. Disowned by her family after coming out, Kendra barely made it out of high school alive. During her sophomore year she was beaten severely for being a lesbian. She suffered extreme brain damage, damaging her hearing and memory, and even losing her ability to read and write. She persevered through these horrific trials, eventually relearning the skills that she had lost. Kendra has since become part of the Spokane PFLAG Speakers Bureau, sharing her story with those who have little contact and experience with the LGBT community. When she is finished with school, she will pursue a career with Northwest Medstar Critical Care Air Transport as a Flight Respiratory Therapist. Wherever her helicopter lands, she will be serving her community proudly and demonstrating her commitment to excellence as a strong, lesbian woman.
Heike Rodriguez (SEATTLE) Growing up as an East German immigrant in conservative West Germany, Heike faced discrimination from all sides and worked so hard to pass as straight, middle-class and West German that she eventually lost all sense of who she really was. She moved to the U.S. after high school looking for a new life, but ended up in a small Navy town and discovered that many of her problems had followed her. In a conscious effort to seek out a supportive queer community, Heike moved to Seattle, where she is currently a full-time student, teaching assistant and club leader at North Seattle Community College. She will transfer to the University of Washington to pursue a Bachelor’s in Gender Studies. She has been selected as a New Century Scholar by Phi Theta Kappa and the Coca-Cola Foundation. Heike plans on following an activist path that involves both teaching and academic writing. As a first-generation immigrant, working-class and queer, she is personally invested in building alliances between marginalized communities, which she sees as crucial to sustainable human rights activism.
Cade Schmidt (EPHRATA) Growing up in rural Eastern Washington, self-proclaimed artist, journalist, activist and country-boy Cade found little room for his identity or interests to grow. Going to college was more than a continuation of his education; it was about finding comfort, establishing community and answering all the questions his upbringing failed to address. The moment he set foot at Western Washington University, he knew he was home. He found comfort in a socially aware community and felt able to learn about himself and the world around him. He was able to be openly transgender for the first time and to advocate for marginalized people though his academics and activism. Cade is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Photography and a minor in Journalism. His goal is to document social movements through film and photography, to educate and empower others to use their voices for change while being out and proud.
Camille Senn (KENT) As President of Kentridge High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance and a founder of the Alliance for Diversity and Equity Club, Camille has been an active leader for some time. She credits her commitment to service and leadership to her time as a Girl Scout, and Camille plans to give back as a camp counselor this summer. As part of the National Honors Society, she has participated in service projects with Northwest Harvest, Toys for Joy and the O’Ryan Teen Shelter, among others. She will be attending Western Washington University in the fall, with plans to study Primary Education to become an elementary school teacher. She wants to stay active in helping out Native American, LGBTQ and women students.
Alejandra Silva Hernández (VANCOUVER) A trilingual, bisexual Latina and UndocuQueer, Alejandra has persevered in the face of homelessness, hunger and illness, and she says that now it is her turn to pass along the support and knowledge that she received from others. She wants to seize the opportunity to outreach to her different communities – for her “diversity is not just sections of people, but the intersections where people meet.” Alejandra has interned at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and is the president of Microphiles, the microbiology club at the University of Washington. Her goal is to become a cardio surgeon and to specialize in women’s and children’s health and LGBTQ needs.
Cady Smith (EATONVILLE) Raised in a loving family but in an unfriendly community, Cady had to talk a close friend out of committing suicide at age 14. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to promote diversity and provide support for LGBT youth in rural communities with few resources and little hope. Paying her own way through college, Cady is one of the Co-Coordinators for Pacific Lutheran University’s Queer Ally Student Union. Committed to starting a career focusing on social justice, Cady has volunteered at the Rainbow Center and OASIS Youth Center of Tacoma. She is studying art history and works as a graphic designer. Her goal is to “pay it forward” and work for LGBT nonprofits in the future.
Lee Shenson-Steadman (SAN FRANCISCO, CA) Lee comes from a mixed-race, poor, Jewish family and is trans, disabled and autistic. At a young age, Lee helped advocate for services for both theirself and their younger brother who is also disabled. They were told early on that they’d most likely never attend college or hold a full-time job. Lee is currently completing their degree in Disability Studies at the University of Washington as well as directing a film on the power of accessible spaces for disabled, deaf and chronically ill people. Lee is the current Director of the UW “D Center” – one of the first disability & deaf cultural centers in the world. Recently, Lee was invited to participate in the Autism Campus Inclusion project in Washington, DC. Lee plans to pursue a graduate degree in Special Education policy and to continue to promoting disability justice and transforming educational systems so they are easier to navigate and more accessible for people with multiple marginal identities and experiences.
Nihad Suseyi (KURDISTAN) Growing up as a gay kid in Kurdistan, Nihad had to keep silent about his sexuality due to intense societal pressure. When his brother’s position with the United Nations allowed his family to move to the United States, he was finally able to be open and happy with himself. He earned his high school diploma and became a professional hairstylist to support himself. Now Nihad is working on his Associate’s Degree in science at Seattle Central Community College, and he plans to transfer to the University of Washington School of Medicine and become a doctor with a specialty in infectious diseases. He hopes to focus on treating patients with HIV/AIDS and severe chronic illnesses.
Landon Tan (KIRKLAND) A student at the University of Washington, Landon is pursuing a double major in Comparative History of Ideas and Biochemistry, and he intends to continue on to medical school. Landon feels he could make a difference by bringing greater accessibility to medicine and by being a supporter to the queer community. Landon has been involved in such projects as the Bend-It Extravaganza, Reteaching Gender & Sexuality, and the creation of a credited course on mixed-race at the University of Washington. Landon enjoys playing soccer and spending time with his friends.
Angela Tang (SEATTLE) The first in her family to attend college, Angela is passionate about social justice and youth suicide. Lacking a role model, it took four years for Angela to accept herself as a lesbian and to come out. She struggled to come out to her parents, who expected her to get good grades and marry a man. She endured threats of being disowned by her family, but persisted in hopes of being accepted. Since coming out, Angela has provided support and advice to LGBTQ youth at her school, and hopes to continue to serve as a role model and to work for change within the Asian community. She intends to major in sociology or psychology while enrolling at Whitman College next fall.
Janae Teal (COLFAX) A first-generation college student, Janae will be transferring to a Master’s program in Public Sociology at Humboldt State University in the fall, building on her Bachelor’s degrees in English and Sociology. She is passionate about social justice and takes tremendous pride in advocating for the LGBT community. Janae has organized many educational events over the years, including Washington State University – Vancouver’s “Campaign to Promote Understanding of Gender Diversity,” the YWCA’s LGBTQ Safe Choice Program, Cougar Pride and the WSU Sociology Club. She hopes to one day work as an education policy analyst, ensuring that LGBT youth are protected and equally represented in education policies.
Nyka Tucker (MT VERNON) From a very young age, Nyka was determined to be the first member of her family to get a college education. Her supportive family struggled to make ends meet, but her parents did all that they could to provide their family with what was needed for a healthy and happy life. Nyka is working on her Bachelor’s in Microbiology and a minor in Global Health at the University of Washington. She is committed to recognizing the people behind the diseases she is studying, and hopes to pursue an MD.PhD in infectious diseases to both work with patients directly affected by HIV as well as continue to work in the lab to combat the disease.
Andreya Williams (OLYMPIA) Born in Montana and raised in North Carolina, Andreya has had her fair share of adventures as a military child. After coming out in the South at the age of 13, she faced discrimination from her community. Today, Andreya is a proud young lesbian of color. She is finishing up her senior year at Avanti High School as well as Running Start classes at South Puget Sound Community College. She is a volunteer and trainer at the Crisis Clinic of Thurston and Mason Counties, helping staff a 24-hour hotline for those who need to reach out when they have no one else to turn to. In the fall she will be enrolling at Western Washington University, majoring in Biology with a minor in Queer Studies. Her goal is to become a neurobiologist and to better serve her LGBT community and provide a safe and inclusive space for all.
Anthony Yun (BELLEVUE) A queer person of color, Anthony has often felt difficulty finding a position within his communities. He currently attends the University of Washington as a freshman in the Foster School of Business, studying Accounting and Finance. He serves as a Publicity Intern for the Queer Student Commission and is a passionate volunteer for Lifelong AIDS Alliance and Habitat for Humanity. He has won recognition as the state champion by the Future Business Leaders of America in economics, management analysis and business decision making. Next year he hopes to work with consulting teams to support small minority-owned businesses in the Seattle area improve financial management systems. Currently he is in the process of starting a queer undergraduate business organization. His goal is to complete his undergraduate degree and continue with an MBA to pursue a career in financial services that will help address unique challenges faced by LGBTQ families.
Ruben Zecena (SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR) Raised in a conservative Catholic family, school has always been the place where Ruben gets to be his own person. His family moved to the United States when he was 11, and was placed in the English as a Second Language program. With his passion for reading, as well as with the support of his teachers, within six months he had moved out of the ESL program and now serves as the student body president at Columbia Basin College. He helped found the Gay-Straight Alliance at his college, and hopes to one day to be a GSA advisor and supportive teacher. Ruben plans to transfer to Washington State University and double major in English Teaching and Political Theory.

NOTE: Some students are not included in this list to protect their privacy.

PHOTOS: Team Photogenic © 2013

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