2014 Scholarship Recipients

  • Alejandra Silva Hernández 2014
    Vancouver
    Originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, four-time GSBA scholar Alejandra will soon be graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in Microbiology. This will be one of her proudest achievements, not only because of the rigor of her program of study, but because she will be one of the few women of color to complete it. Cancer research is incredibly important to Alejandra, as her mother has battled the disease for almost four years now. She is currently working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as a translator, and has just accepted a position in a lab there to study the anti-carcinogenic properties of cruciferous vegetables.
  • Carmel Aronson 2014
    Corvallis, OR
    A social worker, Carmel is passionately engaged in the addiction recovery community and is returning to school to advance her knowledge in the field. She aspires to eventually combine her passion for social justice, addiction recovery, and holistic healing to support members of the queer community in achieving their full potential. Carmel fervently believes that liberation movements are the most successful when they are based on the strongest force in the universe – love!
  • Heni Barnes 2014
    Coupeville
    Growing up in Coupeville, Heni realized she was a lesbian in middle school and spent the next few years coming to understand herself. She started a GSA and organized the All-Island Rainbow Prom, connecting the three high schools on Whidbey Island and creating stronger awareness for LGBT equality. She plans on earning a dual degree in Geology and Geophysics in order to become a planetary geologist and work for NASA.
  • Alik Brundrett 2014
    Boulder, CO
    A web/graphic and user-experience design student at the Art Institute of Seattle, Alik has spent the last 8 years working in digital marketing, copywriting, and public relations. He frequently works with nonprofit and advocacy organizations, specifically those concerned with HIV/AIDS and transgender and women’s healthcare providers. He will continue using his skills in digital media, communications, and design to assist public outreach causes. In his spare time, Alik is an active triathlete, marathon runner, and long-distance cyclist, and runs for causes such as the AIDS Life/Cycle, Race for the Cure, and the Race to End Blindness.
  • Miki Cabell 2014
    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. A three-time GSBA scholar, Miki is completing her Master’s this year and will continue on to Whakatane Awanuiāranga, a Māori university in New Zealand, to earn a PhD in Indigenous Studies. She is deeply committed to being a voice, changing fear into promise and hope for her people in the future.
  • Audrey Chavarria Calderon 2014
    Mexico City
    Born in Mexico, Audrey’s family moved to Alabama in search of a better life. While in Alabama, he became aware of his identity as a young gay Latino man. Faced with the double challenge of a rising wave of anti-immigrant laws and a deeply homophobic community, his family then relocated to Washington. Currently studying Computer Science at the University of Washington – Tacoma, Audrey is a two-time GSBA Scholar and is one of the leaders of El Batallon Unido at the Rainbow Center. One of his deepest desires is to change his community and help others around him so that they don’t have to face similar challenges by themselves.
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    Maksym Dedushko 2014
    Chernihiv, Ukraine
    Maksym won an exchange student scholarship at the age of 16 to study for a year in the U.S. Afraid to return to Ukraine and mandatory military conscription after coming out, he received asylum here in the United States. Currently studying at the University of Washington, Maksym is a double major in Chemistry and Molecular Biology. He has been accepted to a graduate program at UW and will pursue a PhD in Biological and Inorganic Chemistry. His dream is to do basic research that will lead to breakthroughs in the treatment of HIV and other infectious diseases.
  • Dong Dinh 2014
    Seattle
    A first-generation American and college student, Dong is studying Spanish and Communications at Western Washington University. His immigrant family continues to struggle to pay the bills and keep a roof over their heads, but, despite these struggles, he was able to go to college and find himself. He works hard to support fellow students by providing peer-to-peer mentoring and advocating for social justice. After completing his Bachelor’s, Dong intends to earn a Master’s in Student Affairs Administration to create a safer and more inclusive environment for underrepresented, marginalized and first-generation college students.
     
  • Deanna East 2014
    Lacey
    An activist, volunteer, educator, community organizer and mother of two, Deanna enjoys supporting people in creating lives they love. She has founded and run three independent programs for homeless and low-income students. She has co-founded and led several community organizations, including a Bisexual Women’s Support Group in Lacey for the last seven years. Her current challenge is creating the time and resources to complete her Bachelor’s at the Evergreen State College. This will be her first step toward becoming an administrator for an agency offering services to homeless or low income populations.
     
  • Melissa Ebben 2014
    Appleton, WI
    Melissa recently graduated with high honors from Everett Community College’s nursing program. The week of her graduation, she ran a half marathon in 2 hours and 5 minutes. As the Political Liaison for the Student Nurses Organization, she organized book drives for the Seattle Books to Prisoners and spoke to hundreds of students about volunteering for the underserved. She currently volunteers with forensic nurses as a victim advocate serving sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. After obtaining her Bachelor’s in Nursing, she will continue on with a PhD program in hopes of becoming a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
  • Helena Farrell 2014
    Olympia
    Living in a conservative environment has been a challenge for Helena, but has taught her to be a stronger person. She works to provide a safe environment for mentally disabled adults and, through her writing, she finds it possible to foster a safe environment for youth belonging to sexual and gender minorities. She is moving across the country to Burlington, Vermont to study Professional Writing at Champlain College. Through her writing Helena hopes to raise issues of representation for both the LGBTQ and mentally disabled communities.
  • Miles French 2014
    Seattle
    An openly gay triplet in a family of eight, Miles has been recognized as a leader among his peers through his work with the Congress of Racial Equality and his school’s GSA. He was the captain of the Garfield High School swim team and competed in the state finals. He will attend Lewis & Clark College to study pre-med and then continue on to graduate school to become a licensed naturopathic doctor with a dual degree in Ayurvedic medicine.
  • Katy Imbrone 2014
    St. Paul, MN
    Katy is a 25-year old returning student and three-time GSBA scholar. She is pursuing a BA/BS in applied mathematics and education at the Evergreen State College. Active in her community, Katy serves as a shop steward for the ILWU Local 5 and is engaged in various community organizations. Passionate about education reform, Katy plans to teach mathematics at the middle and high school level to help deconstruct the systematic tracking out of students from mathematical and technical fields. Katy plans to pursue a Master’s in Teaching with certifications in secondary mathematics and humanities.
  • MJ Juhre 2014
    Greenacres
    MJ grew up in a small, conservative town outside of Spokane. They graduated from the University of Washington in 2013 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Diversity. They founded an LGBTQ activist group, worked as a resident advisor and served with the queer mentor program. MJ now works as a behavioral specialist at Ryther, providing coaching and a safe, positive living space for children ages 6-14, many of whom are in the foster system and have experienced abuse and neglect. This year MJ will be starting their Master’s in Social Work.
  • Lane Kaiser 2014
    Bremerton
    Raised in a small navy town, Lane graduated from Olympic College at age 18 and currently studies social work at Portland State University. He is a community educator and LGBT activist working on being a competent agent of change to benefit diverse communities. Growing up trans in a military town was dangerous and terrifying. Lane organized an all-inclusive prom for LGBTQ youth and their allies around the Olympic Peninsula. Lane says that if he can prevent one person from enduring the abuse he endured, then his work will have value.
          
  • Gavin Mast 2014
    Olympia
    Throughout his life, Gavin has faced many challenges and hardships that have shaped him into the person he is today. All of the barriers in his way have sent him on a journey of self-discovery and exploration in finding himself, his passions, and the things that are important in life. With the power and potential to make a difference, he is embarking on a career path that will break down barriers of minority groups and improve equal access and the quality of life for people plagued by oppression and injustice.
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    Rafael Padilla 2014
    Seattle
    Moving from the Philippines at age 7, Rafael was raised with his family’s strict Catholic
    values and only recently came out to his parents. He founded his high school’s math and science club, helped lead the Filipino Club and committed 500 hours to environmental service. He plans on becoming a nurse practitioner to manage his own clinic focused on providing healthcare to disadvantaged and queer youth.
  • Darlene Palmer 2014
    Spokane
    A first-generation college student and four-time GSBA Scholar, Darlene is entering her senior year at Washington State University. She is committed to bringing visibility to Spokane’s LGBTQ community. As a Hispanic lesbian, she is raising her daughter and stepdaughter to be proud, independent people who are true to themselves.
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    Landyn Pan 2014
    Bothell
    As a trans person and Chinese immigrant raised by a single mother, Landyn has experienced marginalization and internal struggles much of his life. He works with Trans Student Equality Resources, creating viral infographics on trans terminology, youth and safe school statistics. He is a GSA leader, a photographer, and a SIFF committee member. Last month Landyn was named to the 2014 Trans 100 list. His interest in societal impacts has driven him to pursue a degree in PR and Advertising at Chapman University, and he hopes to continue queer activism throughout his life.
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    Mara Rae 2014
    Tacoma
    Mara has been extremely active in the community and has long-standing dedication to the Oasis Youth Center, the Rainbow Center and Pierce County AIDS Foundation. She is completing her second year in the Molecular Biology Program at Tacoma Community College. Her goal is pursuing a career in medical research and working toward finding a cure for HIV/AIDS.
  • Kyle Rapiñan 2014
    Shoreline
    Struggling with homophobic family members and a period of homelessness, Kyle has overcome his rough start to shine as a community leader. Among other accomplishments, he was a lead organizer of Queer Youth Space. As a mixed-race and queer individual, he is very passionate about racial, economic and immigrant justice. After four years as a GSBA scholar at the University of Washington, Kyle is now a third-year law student at Northeastern University Law School.
  • Julius Rodriguez 2014
    Seattle
    A two-time GSBA scholar at the University of Washington, Julius will graduate next year and continue on to graduate school. He hopes to pursue UW’s Queer and Sexuality Studies certificate program and follow an activist path involving both teaching and academic writing. He has committed his education to studying systemic inequalities and solutions from marginalized points of view. As a queer trans first-generation immigrant, he is invested in building political and interpersonal connections between marginalized communities. Julius was named the New Century Scholar of Washington State by Phi Theta Kappa and has also received the David Kopay GLBT Scholarship and a Pride Foundation Scholarship.
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    Alberto Rodriguez-Escobedo 2014
    Aguascalientes, Mexico
    Growing up, Alberto felt torn between his Hispanic heritage and American culture. In a delicate dance between these two worlds, he always felt like he lacked a vital piece of the puzzle, which just never seemed to click. The day he learned that he will never belong to one specific group allowed him to become one with himself. He realized that what he thought was a curse was a blessing, that he had the best of both worlds. Now he is pursuing a degree in Psychology to make sure that no one else feels hatred because of who they are.
                  
  • Cade Schmidt 2014
    Ephrata
    When Cade was 15, he set his sights on a career in journalism. Now, after four years at Western Washington University, he has nearly completed his degree in Visual Journalism, with a second major in Studio Art. A three-time GSBA scholar, Cade currently works as the editor-in-chief of a school newspaper and has worked to establish ground rules for inclusive and respectful reporting on marginalized identities. He also worked to create a process that allows students and faculty to have their preferred name listed throughout the university system. After graduating, Cade will continue to be a champion for marginalized people and issue with a career in media and photojournalism.
  • Tyle 2014
    A junior English major and Theatre minor at Whitman College, Tyle is an editor for several campus publications including Whitman College’s blue moon, quarterlife, and QUEERING. A visual artist, poet and playwright, Tyle crafts plays for Instant Play Festivals and one-act play competitions at Whitman, continuously building upon their directing, acting, design and gender illusion experience. Tyle assists with Feminists Advocating Change and Empowerment and their publication promoting awareness of sexual violence and gendered oppression and The Breaking Ground Monologues. Tyle also serves as an Artistic Chair for the GLBTQ Club and committee member for Whitman’s annual DragFest.
  • Cady Smith 2014
    Eatonville
    In her final year at Pacific Lutheran University, three-time GSBA Scholar Cady says that her personal mission is to have her work give voice to those who have been silenced due to oppression. A small-town girl at heart, she is preparing to spend a semester abroad studying graphic design in Denmark. Cady has worked tirelessly to promote diversity and provide support for LGBTQ youth in rural communities like her hometown of Eatonville. She has big plans after graduating and aims to continue her work advocating for the LGBTQ community.
     
  • Harley Tonelli 2014
    Seattle
    Harley is a vocalist and guitarist currently studying Music Business & Management at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Harley works as a Peer Advisor for incoming students and a Student Government Representative, and is a Managing Member and DJ Trainer at the Berklee Radio Network. In the past, Harley served as a founding member of the gender and sexuality justice initiative We Need Queer Youth Space Seattle. Harley hopes to use their college education to further the visibility of LGBTQ+ artists in the music industry through a career as an artist manager.
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    Nyka Tucker 2014
    Mt. Vernon
    Nyka will be graduating next month from the University of Washington with her Bachelor’s in Microbiology and a minor in Global Health. She will continue on with a Master’s in Public Health. She is pursuing a career working with the HIV+ community, having worked in an HIV vaccine research laboratory for two and a half years. Through her research, she was awarded the National Institute of Health’s Diversity Supplement to pursue her own research project. She is also actively involved at the Bailey-Boushay House, which serves the HIV+ community in King County.
  • Mick Wiegenstein 2014
    Hansville
    Mick always knew that he was different. In a conservative town, he was liberal. In a school where few people graduate, he aimed for Stanford. He kept up his GPA even as he looked over his shoulder, aware that at any moment he could be thrown into a garbage can or spat on for openly expressing that he was Mick Henry, instead of Mary Emma as his birth certificate proclaimed. Thanks to the support of his family, he has begun to thrive in his new life in the Bay Area, pursuing his degree and dreaming of a society where no LGBTQ youth need to worry about something as basic as their safety.
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    Antony Xczar 2014
    Milwaukie, OR
    The first member of his family to go to college, Antony is committed to a lifetime of service, dedication to the poor and to the institutionally disadvantaged. He has experienced real life challenges that he has overcome to help others, as well as himself. Antony’s goal is to help those who are most vulnerable in society, such as the elderly and those who have
    experienced trauma.
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    Anthony Yun 2014
    Bellevue
    A queer person of color, Anthony has often felt difficulty finding a position within his communities. A three-time GSBA scholar and junior at the UW Foster School of Business, Anthony is passionate about helping students reach their potential through professional development. On campus, Anthony enthusiastically gives tours, walking backward to help students move forward. He also serves with Out for Undergrad, connecting LGBTQ students across the country to supportive professional networks. He is the Future Business Leaders of America’s state champion in economics, management analysis and business decision making.  His goal is a career designing, planning and improving global supply chains capable of providing quality low-cost medicine to expand HIV/AIDS treatments.
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    Rigoberto Garcia 2014
    Valle de Banderas, Mexico
    From a small town in Nayarit, Mexico, Rigoberto’s father threw him out of his home after coming out at age 17. He immigrated to the United States when he was 19 in hopes of finishing his schooling, but struggled to find the resources. Completing ESL classes at Seattle Central allowed him to earn his GED in 2005, and with the help of merit scholarships, he enrolled at Highline Community College. He is now graduating with honors and transferring to Seattle University. His dream is to complete a Bachelor’s in Accounting & Finance and to apply that knowledge to the LGBTQ community, especially those who struggle the most.
  • Chantelle Korver 2014
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    Born and raised in Southern California, Chantelle is the first person in her family to attend college. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine at Bastyr University, where she is proud to have received straight-As. She plans to complete her degree and continue on for a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine, with the goal of opening her own practice.
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    Jazmine Perez 2014
    Quincy
    Born and raised in what most people consider the middle of nowhere, Jazmine was a surprise to her parents and older brothers. A first-generation college student at the University of Washington, her goal is to become a psychiatrist and life-long advocate for mental health, sexual assault and relationship violence prevention. She enjoys physical activity and catching as many sunsets as possible, and hopes to pick up the violin before entering medical school.
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    Colby Rezayat 2014
    Bainbridge Island
    Colby has always been proud of his Persian-American background and he is driven to be a strong mentor and educator. He attended Skagit Valley College and Western Washington University for his Bachelor’s in Human Services. He worked for Skagit
    Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services as their education and prevention coordinator. He previously served as the President for Washington State PFLAG Council.
    Colby is currently attending the University of Washington for his Master’s in Social Work and loving every moment of it, particularly with the company of his two pugs, Sadee and Bella.
  • Zeena Rivera 2014
    Des Moines
    Zeena is already a leader. She is the founder of Be! Magazine (an online magazine written by and for LGBTQ+ youth and allies), president of her school’s underground GSA, and a student leader of the #keepmrz2013 movement raising awareness of LGBTQ employment inequality in Catholic schools. At school, Zeena is part of the International Thespian Society, National Honor Society and Campus Ministry. She aspires to affect social change through her interests in psychology and journalism, potentially as a university professor. She will be attending Seattle University in the fall.
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    Parisa Yekalamlari 2014
    Gig Harbor
    Parisa says that her hometown of Gig Harbor has gifted her with opportunity beyond measure. She is President of the REACH/WAYS Club at Gig Harbor High School, helping families with or affected by HIV. She teaches her peers about sexual health as part of Planned Parenthood’s Teen Council and her school’s AIDS Peers Educating eXchange. She was a Running Start student at Tacoma Community College. Parisa is moving to Manhattan in the fall to attend NYU, where she will major in politics and eventually become a civil lawyer. Through civil law she will fight to change the American judicial system to better protect marginalized people.
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    Ruben Zecena 2014
    San Salvador, El Salvador
    A queer Latino man, Ruben is a three-time GSBA scholar pursuing an English degree with a Women’s & Gender Studies minor at Washington State University. He worked to bring Delta Lambda Phi - a fraternity for GBT men – to his campus. He applies the academic theories he learns in the classroom to his real-world activism. He volunteers for Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse and the WSU Gender & Sexuality Alliance. He hopes to increase the visibility of queer and people of color writers in his lessons and provide his future students with the ability to recognize social inequalities and the importance of fighting for social justice.
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    Angela Tang 2014
    Seattle
    The first in her family to attend college, Angela is passionate about social justice, economics and psychology. As a first-generation American, she struggled reconciling her Chinese-Vietnamese heritage while growing up in Seattle. Angela faced being disowned after coming out, but she persisted in hopes of being accepted. A two-time GSBA scholar, Angela attends Whitman College, where she is Co-President of their LGBTQ group. She hopes to continue to serve as a role model to the first-generation, LGBTQ and Asian communities. This summer Angela will be working as a fellow with Washington Bus, where she will learn how to create progressive change through politics.
  • Ash Peers 2014
    Snohomish
    Growing up in a small town in the Sky Valley has helped Ashley foster a great sense of civic duty. While she loves where she grew up, it was not always easy to be a young lesbian there. Now living in Bellingham, she has found her place within a larger queer community. A two-time GSBA scholar, Ashley attends Western Washington University where she is studying Biology. She plans to continue on to medical school and become a surgeon specializing in helping the queer community of the Pacific Northwest.
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    Jake Funkhouser 2014
    South Bend
    Facing a rough time after coming out, Jake immersed himself in a variety of activities and worked to craft a safe space for himself. He successfully emerged as valedictorian of his class and served on the Washington State Legislative Youth Advisory Council. A two-time GSBA Scholar, he is studying Primate Behavior & Ecology and Psychology at Central Washington University, with the goal of working in a career in primate advocacy and animal behavior, social work or academic counseling.
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    Krystal Campagna 2014
    San Jose, CA
    Krystal is a Counselor for YouthCare, where she provides a helping hand to homeless youth. She knows firsthand the challenges they face, having gone through 23 different foster placements before age twelve and then becoming homeless at thirteen. The first woman in her family to attend university, Krystal has been advocating for herself and the LGBTQA community for as long as she can remember. She is pursuing degrees in Nutritional & Culinary Arts and Nutrition & Clinical Psychology from Bastyr University, with high hopes to one day open her own homeless youth facility.
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    Zane Rapiñan 2014
    Shoreline
    Zane faced academic repression and a repressive home life. They developed the self-determination to move out and gain their diploma early. To advocate for other gender nonconforming people, Zane initiated a non-binary breakout group at Ingersoll Gender Center, and serves as the creative director of Trans Lives Matter. An engineering student at Seattle Central, they are active in Phi Theta Kappa and the Queer Straight Alliance. Passionate about transforming, improving and creating systems of empowerment in social justice movements, Zane has dedicated their career toward equalizing underprivileged communities’ access to social and physical resources.

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"The GSBA scholarship gave me the affirmation I needed to pursue my dreams.   There was always a strong sense of support from my friends, family and community.  I knew that one day I would be in a position to give back with the hope that I could help support new scholars in their journey."


–  Ryan Digges, former scholar and current GSBA Board member