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2010 Scholarship Recipients
Aysha Kloub 2010
Aysha is pursuing a Masters of Education degree at Pacific Lutheran University with the goal of becoming a bilingual elementary school teacher. Working as an instructional assistant and Arabic interpreter at elementary schools for the past three years has reminded Aysha of the importance of critically reflective and affirming education access for all students. As a result, Aysha hopes to continue working toward racial, economic, and gender justice in public school systems.
Carlos "Fezz" Reyes 2010
Carlos Reyes grew up a gay Latino teenager in a rural community. Like many kids, Carlos struggled with his sexuality and religion. His family has not been supportive of his orientation nor his decision to pursue higher education. These challenges have not stopped this amazing student. Carlos, age 17, is an active and out member of Future Farmers of America. When Carlos saw injustice in his workplace, he addressed it with higher management to implement changes in policy. Carlos is a member of 13 school clubs and is passionate about becoming a veterinarian. Due to lack of family support, college had to be delayed a year, but now he's pursuing his dream at Washington State University and is a self-supporting student. Though Carlos has faced countless struggles, he's aspires to make a difference through leadership and service.
Greg Phelps, 18, grew up in Pullman, Washington, feeling the constraints of living in a small town and yearning to expand his horizons. By reaching out and learning about other people and cultures, he believes he will better understand himself. Greg's a strong student and fun-loving teen who loves making movies and performing improv comedy. He wants to use these skills, his work experience and education to pursue a career that will promote equality for the LGBTQ community. Greg will study computer science at Western Washington University and hopes to join the school's improv comedy group, the Dead Parrot's Society. A motivated self-starter and natural leader, Greg shows courage in his convictions and dedication to helping others understand that sexuality doesn't define character.
Allan Fonseca 2010
Allan has faced his share of challenges, growing up in a low income, Hispanic family and being a young, gay male. However, his challenges have made Allan, 19, a determined, caring and compassionate young man. Through the Running Start program, he completed two years of college, while attending high school. He helped organize the Gay Straight Alliance on campus and leads by example. Allan's goal is to go into nursing, while also supporting the LGBTQ community. He wants to contribute to causes that will lead to a more just society.
Despite a troubled childhood, Peter Ystad, 19, graduated from Pierce College with an A.A. Degree, which he considers one of his most important accomplishments. His greatest challenges arose from having alcoholic parents, overcoming a close family member's death, and beginning his transition as a transmale. Peter plans to continue his education by earning a Bachelor's Degree at the University of Washington Tacoma, with a major in Global Studies. He supports his creativity with music and by volunteering within the LGBTQ community through the Oasis Youth Center and Rainbow Center of Tacoma.
Chris Wukasch says that working with LGBTQ youth through the Oasis Youth Center in Tacoma, is an unexpected reward. At 40, he's just finished his second year as a volunteer with AmeriCorps and the Washington Reading Corps, which he considers his greatest accomplishment. Working with kindergarten and first grade students has become a passion for him, so he's returning to school to become an elementary school teacher. Chris feels it's important to provide a strong male role model for these young students. Originally from California, Chris now calls the Northwest area his home. He'll be attending Evergreen State College in Olympia this fall. Christopher's desire is to see diversity as the ability to "speak your own truth."
Jessica Warmbo wants to be a social worker in order to help queer youth who've faced abuse or rejection as a result of coming out. Abuse and rejection were woven into the fabric of Jessica's life. She has overcome emotional and physical abuse, as well as the deaths of her aunt, grandma and the suicide of her abusive father. She relied on herself to get through high school and to become a happy, healthy college student. Jessica's proudest accomplishments include: teaching a class at the University of Washington's Q-Center called "Queer 101," and volunteering with homeless youth in the University District. Jessica works several jobs, and participates in a number of LGBTQ clubs and organizations. This third-year GSBA scholar is indeed a remarkable woman with a bright future ahead of her. Jessica's accomplishments at 20 are an inspiration to us all.
Elizabeth Ward represents all that is good in our diverse community. She has a stellar academic record. She is a political activist at the local, state and federal levels, where she lobbied for sex education rights for LGBTQ youth. She also proved her leadership ability volunteering with NARAL. Abused in her youth, Elizabeth has risen above the abuse to become a strong woman who works three jobs to support her family, all while putting herself through college. In fact, she's is the first person in her family to seek higher education. Her passion for photography took her to the Academy of Art University in California where she earns straight "A"s. Elizabeth leads through the courage of her convictions, not as a victim, but with confidence to make fundamental change. A fighter in every way, she has a black belt in Taekwondo.
Monica Thomas, age 20, discovered her love for the environment and began volunteering at local parks at an early age, determined to spread awareness regarding environmental issues. Monica's ultimate career goal is to work for an environmental organization, exploring how interaction with our surroundings affects how we interact with each other. Right now she's pursuing her degree in Environmental Science at the University of Washington. Outside of school, Monica's devoted to youth empowerment within the queer community through the Put This on the Map and Queer Youth Space campaigns. Monica will continue with her LGBTQ mission, believing that anti-oppression work is closely tied to environmentalism.
For Destry Taylor life hasn't been easy. She's a Seattleite who considers herself a Southern girl at heart. A preacher's kid and oldest of seven siblings, Destry, now 36, lost her sister to cystic fibrosis and worked tirelessly to help her family cope. This nurturing spirit fits in well as she studies nursing at the University of Washington. She's also a powerful advocate for change, combating power, privilege and heterosexism through volunteer work with Lesbian Avengers, the National Organization for Women, the homeless and needle exchange programs. Destry has already accomplished much in her life and is poised to be a powerhouse of leadership and advocacy in our community.
Second-year GSBA scholar Landon Tan, 19, has a commitment to social justice. He's an excellent student, currently completing studies in social work at the University of Washington. Landon is a confident and gifted performer who enjoys writing poetry and public speaking. Last year, he and eight other undergraduates created a credited college course called "Mixed Identities and Racialized Bodies." He volunteers with groups such as Bend-It Extravaganza, in order to broaden understanding of transgender and multiracial people like himself. Landon seeks to create solidarity and progress among different groups within the LGBTQ community, and beyond it, by empowering future leaders. One of the brightest of these leaders is Landon Tan.
Cody Tacderas, 19, knows a thing or two about challenges. Cody comes from a multicultural background in a rural community in Hawaii. Openly bisexual, Cody has confronted issues regarding gender and sexuality in his fraternity at the University of Puget Sound. He's also experienced harassment at work. Yet, Cody believes in working within the system to effect positive change. He is determined to take the benefits of his education back to his island community. He believes that education is the key to changing hearts and minds, and after graduation from UPS, he hopes to work with Teach for America, a group seeking to end educational inequality. Later, Cody plans to study in London, obtain his teaching credential and teach high school students. Despite life's challenges, Cody has emerged with clearly defined goals and a desire to help others.
Third-year GSBA scholar Sergey Smirnov could be the poster child for GSBA. He understands the nexus of business development, philanthropy, and the value of community. A Russian immigrant, Sergey's family settled in Redmond. He received his AA degree from Bellevue Community College, where he created the LGBTQ and Allies Resource Center. It was the first fully-funded program of its kind at a community college. He then transferred to the University of Washington to complete course work, where his major is Higher Education Administration. In addition to his community service work, Sergey has become a keen supporter of the arts and education. He volunteers at the Henry Art Gallery and at the Seattle Art Museum, where he received the Volunteer of the Year Award. Serving on the Board of Seattle Works, he also gives generously of his time to several GSBA programs, including the TASTE and Young Professionals with Pride. At 22, Sergey epitomizes what it is to be a servant leader, yet still be out and proud.
Hard work, dedication and motivation! That's what has gotten Kevin Simison through the hard times growing up in a conservative small town in Eastern Washington. Kevin currently attends Pacific Lutheran University, where he majors in Business and Economics. He has a 3.7 GPA, which ranks him in the top 10 percent of his class. Three-time recipient, Kevin also holds leadership roles in the Accounting and Finance clubs on campus. His goal upon graduation is to work in health care as a hospital administrator. Kevin sees his contributions to GSBA and the Pride Foundation as an integral part of his education and his life.
Jayme Schroeder grew up the eldest of six siblings in the town of Colbert, just north of Spokane. After being home-schooled, he started his college career early with the Running Start program at Spokane Falls Community College and then transferred to the University of Portland. He's studying Nursing, Psychology and Biology, with an emphasis on pre-medical coursework. With his strong convictions, Jayme, 22, was able to help start the University's first sexual minority club, called the Gay Straight Partnership, to which he has been elected President for next year. His greatest aspiration is to provide a positive role model for gay youth and eventually work as a psychiatrist serving indigenous communities.
A junior at the University of Washington Tacoma, two-time GSBA Scholar, Andrea Roper's studies are concentrated in philosophy, politics, economics, and human rights. Despite a difficult family background, she is a true scholar who works hard, has top grades and is very driven to continue her education in the field of human rights. Andrea, 21, is currently a member of the Global Honors Program, an inter-disciplinary, upper-division honors program at the UW Tacoma. Andrea's life aspiration is to travel the world while working in a career that allows her to employ her passion for protecting people's political, social, economic, cultural and civil rights.
Nathan, 18, grew up working on his family's dairy farm. Because of his Mormon background, he had issues accepting his sexuality during his youth. However, through his involvement with the Gay Straight Alliance in high school, he's grown more confident and he realizes that, despite his sexual orientation, he's still able to pursue his chosen career path. Nathan has been an activist and volunteer in his community, working with the Boy Scouts, youth activist groups and volunteering at a hospital. His twin passions — medicine and languages — have inspired him to help people all around the world. Nathan's ultimate goal is to combine his interests in languages and medicine in a career as an international nurse. He'll be attending the University of Washington.
Kyle Rapiñan 2010
Kyle Rapiñan, now 20, was homeless as an adolescent and suffered at the hands of a homophobic brother. Kyle's already overcome his rough start to shine as a leader in the community. He's a lead organizer with the Queer Youth Space initiative and aims to create a new cultural arts center led by queer youth on Capitol Hill. Kyle also co-chairs the international Safe Schools Coalition and volunteers with many other LGBT organizations. This Political Science major and third-year GSBA scholar at the University of Washington is pursuing his dream of becoming a community organizer — a job for which he's passionate and eminently qualified. When he's not organizing massive community projects or studying, Kyle enjoys exploring the city and riding his bike.
Carlos Ramirez, 19, has aspirations to help homeless youth living with HIV/AIDS and to open a LGBTQ-friendly dental practice. In his young life, Carlos has overcome many challenges. At the age of 7 his mother was unconscious for 6 months from a car accident and at the age of 10, he was the only member of his family to care for a beloved uncle dying of AIDS. Carlos immigrated to the United States during his adolescence adding the challenge of learning a new language and moving to a new country. A second-year GSBA scholar, Carlos has persevered and is now attending the University of Washington where he majors in Biology. This inspiring young man has volunteered for the Kids Shelter, the Latino Vote Project and Recycle Life. He also coaches youth soccer and formed a Gay Straight Alliance in high school. Carlos says he wants others like him to have the opportunity to achieve their dreams.
Losing his father at an early age, Israel Perez now 24, demonstrated his ability to remain strong in the face of adversity. The eldest in his family, he grew up quickly to help his mother raise his younger brothers. In his teens, he was committed to helping others and improving his community. Israel has been active in numerous political campaigns and in comprehensive immigration reform. Many young Latinos have benefited from Israel's work as a youth development specialist. The first in his family to go to college, Israel made the Dean's List at Pierce College for two consecutive quarters. Israel aspires to run for political office.
Darlene Palmer 2010
Darlene Palmer is a first generation Hispanic student graduating soon from Spokane Falls Community College. She's been accepted into the Human Development Program at Washington State University. Darlene deliberately breaks the terrible cycle of child abuse by raising her daughter without the terror she endured. She shows her daughter — and the rest of us — that you can succeed regardless of what has happened to you in the past. Darlene age 30, considers her greatest accomplishment to be her own personal growth while raising her daughter. She's overcome challenges associated with living in a small town, demonstrating confidence and leadership through her involvement in her community. Darlene's ultimate goals are to continue on to graduate school, study Clinical Psychology and work in the family court system. Her aspiration is to help people grow and thrive, despite being separated from their parents.
Amanda Ostman, 18, has a well thought-out career path — she wants to become a LGBTQ youth counselor. Amanda knows from experience what it's like to grow up "different" — she identifies as bisexual and gender fluid. Being from a rural community, Amanda has navigated a long road toward achieving self-acceptance. She's managed to excel at life, maintaining a strong high school GPA. She's also been involved in a number of LGBTQ causes. Throughout high school, she balanced advanced courses with her community activism through her school's Gay Straight Alliance. This poised, confident and articulate young woman plans to major in Psychology. Amanda says, if she can change even one life, she'll have made a significant difference.
"Fight for those who cannot fight for themselves" – one of the most influential forces in Hanna O'Donnell's life is her passion to make a difference in the lives of others. She wants to fight for the rights of the under-represented and educate herself in the realm of social justice. Hanna, age 19, plans to continue her work to see that all people have the same rights and opportunities, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, race or social class. She's strongly committed to her professional goal of working with disabled children and is very determined that she'll make a difference! Hanna has showed a strong dedication to the GSBA and attends Central Washington University.
Two-time GSBA scholar, Charlie Kloub, 18, comes from a low-income family that immigrated to the United States from Jordan eight years ago. College was a distant reality for her. Adolescence is never easy, but it's especially difficult for a young woman searching for equilibrium between her religion and her sexual orientation. Charlie attends Fairhaven College. Her interest is the Law, Diversity and Justice Program, which focuses on queer theory. A freshman, she interns at the Social Issues Resource Center, helping with events and raising awareness about important social issues on campus. Charlie has also become involved with socially conscious and powerful productions such as the "Vagina Memoirs" and continues her work as a queer Arab activist.
How is leadership measured? This second-year GSBA scholar has set a high bar. Emily now 19, grew up in the suburbs near Spokane, where she founded her high school's Gay Straight Alliance. She was on the wrestling team and served on the planning committee for a regional LGBTQ youth conference. Majoring in business management at UW, Emily continues her work with Seattle Out Protest, where she helped organize various equality events last year. She founded an activist group on the UW campus called SOLE - Students Organizing for LGBTQ Equality. The group campaigned hard for the passage of Referendum 71, and screens films of interest to the community, like "Milk." SOLE also organized a "kiss in" to celebrate R-71's passage, and held a transgender vigil. Transgendered herself, Emily knows how to make things happen. Is it any surprise that her goal is one day to manage a LGBTQ organization?
A second-year GSBA scholar, Jordon, 20, is passionate about the potential of the life-sciences to improve our quality of life. Majoring in Biology and BioChemistry at the University of Washington, Jordon was recently selected to conduct cancer research with the support of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He plans to continue his education with a graduate degree in Pharmacology. Jordon aspires to develop drug-based therapies that will profoundly limit the ability of illness to affect our lives. Jordon's an advocate for LGBT legislation, and he currently volunteers with the GSBA. His focus is to reach out to younger students who are curious about science.
Leader and activist, 20-year old Ian Feis, created the first Gay Straight Alliance and "Over the Rainbow", a two-day LGBTQ education and Pride fair in Skagit County. A sophomore at Lewis and Clark College, he aspires to attend law school with a goal of becoming a family lawyer for the LGBTQ community. He'll be an intern with Lambda Legal in New York City this summer, and in the spring he plans to do another internship in England. A two-time GSBA scholar, Ian's currently working on the Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project, raising awareness and advancing reform on behalf of LGBTQ youth in child welfare, juvenile justice and homeless systems.
Danielle Carver's educational success is in direct contrast to the obstacles she faced during her young life. She even struggled to graduate from high school. However, Danielle is clearly a strong-willed and resilient woman, unwavering in her educational goals. Now 25, she recently returned to school where she is completing her A.A. degree at Spokane Falls Community College . After receiving her AA degree, Danielle plans to transfer to a four year university to work towards a Masters degree in social work. An ongoing challenge for Danielle is balancing her studies, work and extracurricular activities. She aspires to be a positive force for change in the lives of all young people, with a personal interest in LGBTQ youth. A strong advocate for social justice, Danielle's story demonstrates that perseverance yields life-changing results.
Freddie Mora is a first generation Mexican-American, and the first member of his family to attend college. He dreams of flying high as a pilot, and aspires to work for social justice among oppressed communities. He attends the University of Washington, where he majors in Business Administration and plans on obtaining a law degree. His roots in service to the community run deep. In high school Freddie was a regional champion of Washington DECA and was president of a social justice group called UNITY. A second-year GSBA scholar, Freddy, 19, volunteers with Q.P.O.C.A. (Queer People of Color Fighting against Oppression) and is a Hispanic Business Association Scholar. "Family" is important to Freddie. He aspires to give back to the community that has supported him, as well as to his nuclear family, which continues to struggle in Mexico.
Tamika Jackson is not afraid to think or dream big. This powerful second-year GSBA scholar is a community activist and a committed advocate for homeless, abused and HIV positive women. Tamika is a two-time Seattle Central Community College Foundation Scholarship recipient, and Seattle Central's Phi Theta Kappa Chapter President. She's been internationally recognized as one of Phi Theta Kappa's Most Distinguished Presidents, and she'll graduate from Seattle Central this June and will continue her studies in Psychology and Sociology at Columbia University. Tamika has the global vision and local influence to make things happen as she dares to dream about the possibilities of creating change.
Craig Hauser's a gracious person who leads from his heart. His goal is to help others and spread the voice of respect for all. His amazing leadership skills have kept him active in the Gay Straight Alliance at his high school for the past four years. He has participated in the Day of Silence each year. To raise awareness, he started the Amnesty International Club during his sophomore year, and protested in Seattle for LGBTQ rights. Although he's been subjected to harassment at school for his involvement in the Gay Straight Alliance and Amnesty International, he's never waivered in his support for equality and rights for all. Craig struggled to overcome ADHD and a reading disorder, working with his disabilities to restructure the way he studies and learns. Craig is a senior at Mount Si High School and plans to attend the University of British Columbia in Vancouver next fall.
Diana Estefania Estrada-Alamo
Diana Estrada Alamo comes from an immigrant family, which has struggled for 22 years to achieve the American Dream. Her parents worked hard to advance the lives of their children by juggling low-wage, blue collar jobs. Only 21, Diana has a deep interest in social justice, which she nurtures and empowers by attending protests, rallies, trainings and workshops. Two years ago, Diana co-founded Food Empowerment Education and Sustainability Team (FEAST), an organization geared towards creating access to organic food and fitness in poverty-stricken communities. She also coordinates several youth summits, voicing the concerns of her peers and identifying funding for solutions. Diana, 17, wishes to continue the fight for social justice by pursuing a career in global health.
LaShawnta Ervin is entering her first year as a student at Tacoma Community College where she'll study social work. She's already been involved for some time working with youth and setting an example for succeeding in spite of adversity. She's helped to create a youth council for the Oasis Youth Center, serving on its leadership team. Advocate, leader and activist, LaShawnta integrates her personal experiences with her professional and academic work, drawing upon those experiences to help others. LaShawnta demonstrates exemplary motivation and perseverance and works to transform adversity "into moments that make life worth living".
Anna Cairns grew up in a small conservative town and for many years struggled with her identity. Adopted and a lesbian, she survived multiple instances of discrimination. However, at 26, she has gained the strength to embrace her sexual orientation, find a more comfortable place for herself in society, and better define herself as an individual. Anna has endured both the joy and the hardship of being a single mother. She focuses on her priorities, particularly her ability to overcome her own challenges and create a good life for her daughter. She's determined, realistic about life, doesn't dwell on adversity, and realizes the need to support others. Anna moved to Seattle to give herself and her daughter a more diverse environment. She aspires to a career in social work, where she intends to help others who struggle with discrimination.
Overcoming many personal challenges, Brianna Bragg's life goal is to create a safe, loving, anti-bias education and development center for children and families. With the support of her partner, this Native American lesbian attends Portland Community College where she's working to earn several degrees, including an ATA in early childhood education, as well as a B.A. in business. She'd also like to achieve a Masters degree in Social Work. Learning-disabled herself, this engaging young woman is dedicated to serving children, young adults and families with varying backgrounds including the deaf, hard of hearing, blind, differently-abled and the LGBTQ community. Brianna at 22, believes every person deserves a chance to take advantage of life's opportunities and she dreams of changing the world into a safer and better place where every individual is valued.
Chelsea Adams loves children. Her background is working with kids, enriching their lives through academics and athletics. Her experience volunteering with youth inspired her to become a licensed speech language pathologist and to focus in the pediatric clinical arena. Chelsea is very busy in school. She volunteers and is a full-time student at Western Washington University where she majors in Communication Sciences and Disorders, as well as in English literature. Twenty-year old Chelsea's future is as bright as the many children whose lives she will enrich.
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