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Meet Your Scholars, Hear Their Stories

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Abbigale Smith (she/her) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar & Wilson Novasio Scholar 

 

Abbigale Smith grew up in Mansfield, WA and is now attending the University of Washington in Seattle. She goes back to live with Family and Friends across different states in the summers. She is majoring in pre-nursing. Before she can be in the nursing program, Abbigale must apply for it in her second year of college. Her long-term goal is to become a traveling nurse who can provide comfort and security for any patients who feel anxious at hospitals. When Covid-19 stops spreading, she has plans to volunteer for some local LGBTQ+ centers as well as homeless shelters. She wants to help young LGBTQ+ individuals accept and come to term with their identities. Her goal is to stop the stigma's surrounding the LGBTQ+ communities. Abbigale wants to help homeless shelters as well because she wants to help give opportunities to homeless people. Homeless people are often looked down upon and dismissed as humans, but Abbigale wants to help give them their lives back in any way that she can. 

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Abby Sanders (she/her) | 1st Year GSBA Scholar 

Abby Sanders was born in Chenzhou, China, and lived in an orphanage for the first year of her life. She was adopted by her parents, naturalized, and has grown up in rural Port Angeles, WA. Experiencing discrimination as a minority on many fronts, her mission is to revolutionize the acceptance of POC and LGBTQ+ people on both a legal and social front. She plans to attend either the University of Washington, the University of Maryland, or the University of Arizona to pursue a degree in political science and become a lawyer. 

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Alejandra Silva Hernández (she/her & they/them) | GSBA Graduate Scholar 

Alejandra Silva Hernández is originally from Mexico, she grew up in Vancouver, Washington before moving up to Seattle for her Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology at the University of Washington. She is currently a Master of Public Health student at Columbia University and a clinical trials research coordinator at the University of Washington Medical Center. She is studying to become a physician and public health practitioner to improve the health of LGBTQIA+ and immigrant communities both inside and outside the clinic. Her goals are to treat patients' physical ailments and address structural racism and disparities which impact their health outcomes.   

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Alexander Pacheco (he/him & they/them) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar & Richard C. Rolfs Scholar 

Alexander Pacheco first grew in Aberdeen, WA, but now lives in Union Gap, WA. He is currently a freshman in Eastern Washington University and is doing well for the fall quarter. He would love to continue his studies for his bachelors to become an art teacher, or if not, somewhere around the art field. He still wants to teach of others on the good of how art can be a coping mechanism and will want to help anyone in need. He truly wants to be a "comfort" person to many LGBTQ youth who are closeted or who do not feel safe around others. He wants to make sure that everyone is safe and valid around him, no matter from what background, gender or sexuality. Regardless of where his path is, he wishes to still help those around him and wishes to be a positive role model, especially towards LGBTQ+ youth.   

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Anna Rink (she/her) | 4th Year GSBA Scholar 

Originally from Bellingham, WA, Anna Rink currently attends the University of Washington, and is studying English and Education with the goal of teaching in public schools and eventually even shaping education policy. She understands the importance of a strong and inclusive support system, particularly while growing up, and strives to help build community in all she does. 

Arath Orozco (he/him) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar 

Arath Orozco was born and raised in Moreno Valley, California, then moved to Washington State where he then lived in Mount Vernon for 10 years and now resides in Vancouver. He has completed two years at WSU Vancouver and is now taking a break to pause and reflect on what his true calling and passion is. Arath has only ever wanted to see a difference in the world where equality really means something. Having a career, where he will be able to make an impact on people’s lives and working within communities to help defend their rights is what motivates him. He knows that he will be able to make a difference in whichever field he chooses to pursue by being his authentic self and leading with his values of equity and inclusion.  

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Art Hamilton (they/them) | 1st Year GSBA Scholar 

Art Hamilton grew up and currently lives in their community in Vancouver, WA. They are currently attending Western Washington University with a pre-major in Industrial Design. Afterwards, Art plans to use their degree in the science field to engineer solutions for LGBTQ+ life, and to also serve as a testament to the fact that LGBTQ+ youth can grow up to be any career they dream. 

Bee McVicker (he/him & they/them) | 3rd Year GSBA Scholar & Beeks Family Legacy Scholar 

Bee McVicker grew up in many places in the PNW and is now living in Richland, WA attending Columbia Basin College for now, pursuing a degree in Entomology. They hope to change how transgender people are viewed in STEM fields in a positive light by working in a science field. He wants to help destigmatize how LGBT+ people in general are viewed, maybe by becoming a professor in entomology to help other LGBT+ people in STEM or just by being a helpful and welcoming person in the field. 

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Brenda Pham (she/her) | 1st Year GSBA Scholar & Symetra Empowers Scholar 

Brenda Pham was raised in Kent, WA and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree at the University of Washington in Business Administration. They hope to create collective change by supporting low-income communities, POC, and the LGBTQ+ community academically and personally on their path to achieving an education. Brenda's goal is to become one of the first in her family to receive a higher education degree, working in business supporting disadvantaged communities. 

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Bryan Rincon-Ochoa (he/him) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar 

Bryan j. Rincon-Ochoa grew up in El Plan Del Zapote, Mexico and Tecoman, Mexico up to the age of eight, in which his mother and him immigrated to Washington, where he is currently living with his family. He will induce change by motivating, and inspiring LGBTQ+ youth, undocumented immigrants, and POC to perceive their social disadvantages, erect social change, and defeat social disadvantages. Bryan is pursuing an associate in business administration at North Seattle College with the goal to transfer to the University of Washington in winter quarter of 2021. Bryan has made becoming a Maxillofacial and Oral Surgeon their long-term goal. He believes his studies in business, social justice and life experiences will allow him to open a dental and maxillofacial practice that serves and inspires LGBTQ+ youth, undocumented immigrants and POC. 

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Bryant Allen (he/him & they/them) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar 

Bryant Allen grew up all around the Seattle area and is now living in Issaquah, attending Cascadia College finishing his associate transfer degree in Cultural Ethnic Studies. He hopes to inspire others with his story and promote wellness through healing, inspiring LGBTQ youth to recognize their own potential, and understanding that true healing and compassion come from within. Bryant plans to transfer to Life Chiropractic College West in Hayward, California to pursue his doctorate in Network Spinal Analysis. Bryant has made becoming a Chiropractor his long-term goal, working with communities, marginalized LGBTQ youth, and ultimately providing them with chiropractic care so they can perform at their highest potential. 

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Casey Williams (he/him) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar 

Casey Williams grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and moved to Olympia, Washington to attend the Evergreen State College in pursuit of his undergraduate degree in Political Science. He has now transferred to the University of Illinois to complete his undergraduate degree. He hopes to go on to law school after graduation in order to channel his passion for the law into tangible changes that protect the rights of members of the LGBTQ community through civil rights litigation, particularly in relation to Title VII. His long-term goal is to make a meaningful impact through his work on how vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community view the U.S. legal system and to shift that perspective towards one of opportunity and trust in its guarantees of equal protection and justice. 

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Cashayla Rodgers (she/her) | 3rd Year GSBA Scholar & Giblett Family Memorial Scholar 

 

Cashayla Rodgers grew up in Seattle, WA and is currently attending Norfolk State University, pursuing a Bachelor’s in Political Science. Cashayla plans to pursue a career as a human rights attorney, to advocate for the civil rights of marginalized communities while using her voice to empower others to enact change. Her goal is to confront and reform the education system oppressive and inaccessible for black and brown students. As a youth organizer and activist, Cashayla has spent numerous years immersed in her community; participating in organizations and events that advocate for equity and social justice. Cashayla graduated from Hazen Senior High school where she was honored as a 2018 Outstanding Senior. She balanced her academics with maintaining two part-time jobs, serving as President of the Black Student Union, volunteering, as well as participating as an active member of several community organizations. 

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Chivon Ou (he/him & all other pronouns) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar & Wozumi Family Scholar 

Chivon Ou was raised in Hillsboro, OR, and now lives in Vancouver, WA, attending the University of Portland. He is a first-generation, Khmer-American student pursuing an undergraduate degree in Nursing with a Neuroscience Minor. Inspired by the stories of his parents’ survival as refugees of the Khmer Rouge regime, Chivon aspires to become a nurse researcher to serve communities disproportionately affected by trauma. One of Chivon’s long-term goals is to invalidate the practice of conversion therapy with research. He also has an interest in pursuing research related to HIV using his experience as a biomedical intern. Chivon hopes that along his journey, he will inspire LGBTQ+ youth to pursue their ambitions confidently. 

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Daniel Kim (he/him) | 1st Year GSBA Scholar & Andrew Lee Wong Memorial Scholar 

Daniel Kim lives in Bellevue, WA, attending Newport Senior High School, pursuing an intended undergraduate degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Gender Studies at UW. He is visionary. He minces with queer quandaries of our age, community organizes through city-led equity initiatives, and spearheads anti-discriminatory work at school, to materialize his visions into reality. He is an individual whose intellectual vitality is contagious as he fosters forward-thinking, unconventional, paradigm-shifting conversations with his peers. He also thrives under high expectations because he grounds himself in character development; he doesn't join easy crowds but rather goes where the demands and expectations to perform are high. Growth, whatever those means are, is the incentive for him. Growing up Mormon and queer has shaped how he conceptualizes the world. He seeks to become a plastic surgeon to create a free transition-surgery clinic for BIPOC trans/gender-nonconforming people. 

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Dawson Dang (he/him) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar & Kenny Olson and John Reed Scholar 

Dawson Dang grew up in Longview, WA, and is now living in Seattle, attending the University of Washington, pursuing an undergraduate degree in Nursing. Dawson hopes to become a Family Nurse practitioner/ Midwife to open a clinic that directly serves LGBTQ+ patients wishing to start families. 

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Elle Harwood (they/them) | 3rd Year GSBA Scholar 

Elle Harwood grew up in Spokane, WA and is currently living in Seattle attending the University of Washington. They are currently a sophomore working towards undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry (BS) and Int. Studies: Comparative Religion (BA) with minors in Jewish Studies and Microbiology. Elle anticipates pursuing a career as a pediatric research oncologist and hopes to work to find unique solutions to bridge the seeming gap between spirituality and science. They also hope to participate in activism and equity work for LGBTQ and BIPOC youth who have spent time in the foster-care system. 

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Ellie Spencer (she/her) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar & Symetra Empowers Scholar 

 

Ellie Spencer grew up in the small western Washington town of Packwood. At the age of 16 she moved to the city of Tacoma, where she still lives now. Ellie attends the University of Washington Tacoma, though she intends to transfer to main campus when coronavirus subsides. She is a business major who plans to use her future influence and success to promote the welfare of intersex people everywhere, by raising awareness and giving back to the intersex support communities that helped shape her own identity. 

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Elizabeth Braatz (she/her) | 1st Year GSBA Scholar & Charlie Brydon Memorial Scholar 

Elizabeth Braatz was adopted at birth in La Mesa, CA. She grew up in San Diego, CA and Anacortes, WA. She is a third-year student at Western Oregon University, majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Legal Studies. In high school, she was a founding member of the Activist Student Union and the Volunteerism Club, organizing marches and protests and giving speeches against gun violence and hate crimes, while also promoting community service. She is currently a Resident Assistant at WOU. She is active in student government as the Vice President of the Black Student Union and a member of the Multicultural Club and Triangle Alliance. She has been Vice President of the Residence Hall Association and Vice President of her dorm. Elizabeth organized a March Against Hate following racist vandalism incidents at WOU. After graduation, Elizabeth plans to attend law school, then become an attorney fighting for equal opportunity protections for minorities and people in under-served communities. 

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Elyse Decker (she/her) | 3rd Year GSBA Scholar 

 

Elyse Decker grew up in Seattle, WA and is now going to school right outside of Philadelphia at Swarthmore College. When she comes back from school on breaks, she stays just north of Spokane, Washington. She's planning on majoring in Global Studies so she can create an impact for the LGBTQAI+ community worldwide. She has been becoming more involved with her Indigenous history and tradition and is also planning on studying the intersections between Indigenous culture and LGBTQAI+ history. Elyse is hoping to continue in academia becoming a professor to help guide the next generation to be more open and comfortable with expressing themselves. 

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Erin Howard (they/them) | 1st Year GSBA Scholar 

Erin Howard is a non-traditional, genderqueer and neuroqueer undergraduate at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, who grew up in the Navy town of Bremerton. They are pursuing a double major in Physics and Math/Computer Science, with minors in Astronomy and Statistics. They hope to increase visible representation and financial support of ALL underrepresented genders in STEM by advocating for change in scholarship distributions that are only for women. Erin also seeks to increase disability awareness in STEM and Queer communities, ensuring that all are accessible to people with disabilities. 

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Evelyn Stovin (she/her & they/them) | 1st Year GSBA Scholar 

Evelyn Stovin was born and raised in Federal Way, WA. She plans on going to the University of Denver to pursue a degree in American Studies and to explore their independence. They do not know what career path she wants to go down, but she knows that they want to utilize history to enact change. They have far flung hopes to become a champion of LGBT+ rights and help their state become a safe place for LGBT+ youth. 

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Evon Mahesh (he/him & they/them) | 3rd Year GSBA Scholar & #BeYou T-Mobile Scholar 

Evon Mahesh grew up in Sammamish, WA, and is now in his second year of college at the University of Rochester in western New York. He is in a 5-year Education Policy program. He hopes to help transform education into a system that affirms and uplift students of color, LGBTQ students, and other young people who are underserved in our current education system. Evon aspires to teach elementary school in the future and continue his current work in education justice and policy. 

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Fatima Al-Rikabi (she/her) | 4th Year GSBA Scholar & Chester Podlodowski Memorial Scholar

Fatima Al-Rikabi is from Everett, Washington, although she currently lives in Marysville while attending the University of Washington at the Seattle campus. She is majoring in History and Sociology and is in the process of studying for the LSATs so that she can apply to law school towards the end of 2021, and she plans on going to law school for public advocacy. She hopes to work for a pro-LGBTQIA non-profit and has met many people in this field that have motivated this. 

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Fialuai’a Lamositele (they/them & she/her) | 4th Year GSBA Scholar & Sandy Peterson Memorial Scholar 

Fialaui’a Lamositele is from Bellingham, WA. They are attending Western Washington University's Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies creating their own concentration of Healing in Education, Leadership, and Organizational Change emphasis in Indigenous and Ethnic Studies while Minoring in Education and Social Justice. They hope to keep honoring indigenous ways and tools to address contemporary issues for healing individuals and communities. Fia is a long-time poet and co-facilitates workshops focusing on identity, reflection, art, and self-community care. Their life plan is to continue to love and serve our community by honoring our ancestors, ourselves, and future generations to come. 

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Fukui Shen (he/him) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar 

Fukui Shen was born in Hsinchu, Taiwan. He moved to Vancouver, Washington in 2015 as a 1.5 generation immigrant. Currently, he is attending the University of Washington intending to graduate with a degree in Urban Planning. If possible, he will also double majoring or minoring in either Political Science or Japanese. His ultimate career goal is to become a transportation planner and work under a transportation agency in the Seattle area. In his career will provide unisex/all-gender restroom options at bus and train stations. In his senior year of high school, he had worked with the local LGBT community such as Q Center and QSA at Clark College. When the pandemic is ended, he will restart in-person activities related to LGBT and Asian-American communities. 

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Inés Marti Devolx (they/them) | 3rd Year GSBA Scholar 

Inés Marti Devolx is a non-binary, pansexual senior at Gonzaga University working towards a B.S. in Biology with a Research Concentration on the Pre-Med track. Their current research studies the effects of extreme drought on shortgrass prairie composition and productivity in northern Colorado through a partnership with Colorado State University and Gonzaga. They are currently split between choosing a graduate program or taking to the medical track, but their definite plan is to take at least one gap year following their commencement next Spring. If they were to take the medical route, their dream is to start up a community LGBTQ+ center offering medical services, counseling, inclusive sexual education, etc. Inés is passionate about art and music, intersectional social justice, and learning about other cultures. They were born in The Netherlands, moved to Chile at age 9, and moved to Boulder, CO, in 2013 before moving to Spokane, WA, in 2018. 

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Isa Jolie (they/them & fae/faer) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar 

Isa grew up in south Texas & after being displaced for being queer, came to live in Bellingham, WA for faer education. Fae is building the concentration Queer Ecology within Fairhaven College at Western Washington University, while pursuing a minor in Queer Studies and Spanish. Fae is a co-founder & lead facilitator of the Queer Eco Justice Club at WWU, finding deep inspiration in the Queer Ecojustice Project & the life-giving act of growing your own food. Fae is also a volunteer with the Birchwood Food Desert Fighters, gardening locally to feed community members who have been left without a grocery store, & a volunteer with the north Texas organization LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S. serving at-risk queer youth. Faer long-term goal of learning how to honorably cultivate food from land is rooted in faer continued journey of recovery from trauma & food insecurity, placing emphasis on respecting Indigenous land rights & addressing the devastation of food scarcity in the queer community. 

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Isaac Bullock (he/him) | 1st Year GSBA Scholar 

Isaac Bullock grew up in Tacoma Washington and is currently living in University Place; currently enrolled with Tacoma Community College. They are working on their AA in Communications. Isaac hopes to cultivate differences and new ways of thinking through communication for, and with, the LGBTQ community. Isaac plans to use their Master’ degree in communication to advocate for those whose voices are not yet heard in the LGBTQ community. Isaac’s further endeavors are to attend UW-Tacoma where they will work on obtaining their BA in communications and on to their master's degree. Isaac is interested in counseling and mental health services for young teens and adults. Isaac later plans on obtaining knowledge in personal entrepreneurship with the stock market and to use the wealth gained towards LGBTQ awareness. 

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James McAndie (he/him) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar & Wells Fargo Scholar 

James McAndie grew up in rural Carson, WA and attended school both there and in Vancouver, WA. He recently moved to New York City where he is majoring in math and economics as an undergraduate at Columbia University. He is pursuing a career in economics where he hopes to establish an LGBTQ+ presence in a field lacking such diversity. Once there, he aspires to be a role model for others in the LGBTQ+ community who want to follow a similar career path who may not have a leader to see themselves in. 

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Jay Robles (he/him & they/them) | 1st Year GSBA Scholar & Pyatt Family Social Justice Scholar 

Jay Robles is from Bellevue, Washington. He is currently a first-year student with Junior standing at Western Washington University. They are residing in Bellingham while taking classes remotely. As a Sociology major, he is working towards a BA in Sociology as well as an interdisciplinary minor within the Honors program. Jay would also like to pursue the History of Culture minor that his school offers. They are interested in advocacy, cultural studies, and activism. Through everything that they pursue, Jay is working to incorporate accessibility, diverse representation, and intersectional thinking. His future career will be an accumulation of his work in equity and inclusion and his passion for culture and knowledge. They hope to serve underrepresented communities and provide a unique perspective to their field. 

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Jesse Reidy (he/him) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar & Russell Investments Future Leader Scholar 

Jesse Reidy grew up in Port Orchard, Washington and is currently a sophomore at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is pursuing a Communications major, with a minor in sales and marketing. His broader goal is to help foster supportive communities, especially in career fields that often have very few LGBT voices. Jesse hopes to use his passion for sports to advocate for diversity and acceptance in a community that is important to him. He believes that everyone should feel welcome expressing themselves in all aspects of their lives, and he wants to work to make that a reality. 

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Jessyca Ramonette (she/her) | 4th Year GSBA Scholar 

Jessyca grew up in CA & HI. She studied Psychology & Sign Language at Ventura College, Kapiolani Community College, & Walla Walla Community College. There she found passion for leadership. Justice & activism are integral parts of her. She proved capable of earning a 4.0, leading others into action, & found a zeal for community education. She volunteers w/ Planned Parenthood doing voter-registration, Census work, & lobbying at the Capitol. Jessyca resides & studies at Washington State University Tri- Cities. She’ll graduate 2022 with her B.Sc. degree in Psychology. Plans include Graduate school & dreams of Law School eventually. She dreams of effecting change. Racial justice, Queer/Trans rights, & Womxn Equality are stronger callings, but she also supports immigrant & indigenous rights. Jessyca’s survived sexual abuse/assault, is permanently disabled, & battles chronic depression/anxiety. To know Jessyca is to know she’s tough. The quality she's most proud of is resilience. 

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June Amundson (he/him & they/them) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar 

Juniper Amundson grew up in Seattle, WA and currently lives in Bellingham where he attends Western Washington University. As they pursue their Bachelor's in both Public Health and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, he aims to become a sexual health educator and provide accessible sex education for high school students that focuses on principles of LGBTQ2+ inclusion and pleasure activism. His particular areas of interest lie in supporting the sexual development of persons with physical disabilities. 

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Katie Wehrman (she/her & they/them) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar 

Katherine "Katie" Wehrman uses she/her and they/them pronouns and identifies as a lesbian. She was born and raised in Kirkland, Washington, though they are a current first-year at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Katie plans to major in psychology, with long-term goals to offer therapy to LGBT+ individuals. They will compete on Smith's swim team, as well, once it is safe to do so. 

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Kendrick Jackson (he/him) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar & Founders Scholar 

Kendrick Jackson is an intersectional Queer and Indigenous scholar in his third year at Western Washington University, where he is majoring in Human Services and double minoring in Sociology and Political Science. He was raised in Lynden, WA, and is now living in Bellingham, WA to attend university. As a foster-care alumnus, a member of the BIPOC community as an Indigenous person, and in identifying with the LGBTQ+ community, he has a unique lived experience which he hopes to use, paired with his education, to provide aid and advocate for marginalized communities. His long-term goals are to represent the marginalized identities he holds and use his voice in positions of leadership in his future career, whether it be in a non-profit organization, in government, or in politics. 

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Kevin Alexander Estrada Alamo (all pronouns) | 3rd Year GSBA Scholar 

Kevin Alexander Estrada Alamo grew up in Seattle, WA and is now living in Bellingham, attending Western Washington University, pursuing an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry/Computer Science. They are developing their career in research and hope to become an innovator in the medical field. By developing novel therapies, developing a deeper understanding of HIV and other microbes, and pushing the limits of what can be done with science. 

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Lacie Lopez (they/them & she/her) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar 

Lacie Lopez currently lives in Olympia Washington. They grew up in San Diego and moved to Washington when she was nineteen. They are currently working towards an Associates of Applied Science in Automotive Technology degree at South Puget Sound Community College. A career goal of hers is to open a cooperatively owned auto repair shop and to create a workplace that is welcoming and comforting for other queer mechanics. 

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Lash O’Cain (she/her) | 3rd Year GSBA Scholar 

Lashaunycee O'Cain (Lash) was born in Renton, WA and lives in Seattle interning with Three Dollar Bill Cinema while applying to pursue an undergraduate degree in Film Studies. Her grail is to enlighten the entertainment industry as a national platform by introducing stories that have never been heard before. She has already successfully completed a year of college at Cornell in Mount Vernon, IA and intends to close her gap year at the end of the summer as to attend college again in the next coming Fall

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Leo MacLeod (he/him) | 4th Year GSBA Scholar & C. White Reade Scholar 

 

Leo MacLeod grew up on Vashon Island, WA and currently lives in Seattle to attend the University of Washington and pursue a dual major in Marine Biology and Oceanography. He wants to make STEM a more accepting field for young, queer voices. He currently works three research jobs in different areas of marine science and loves finding ways to make complex topics accessible, especially through the use of art. Ultimately Leo wants to remove the barriers to learning about science and inspire people to take an active role in caring about our environment. 

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Lindze McCarley (she/her) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar & Thoelke-Gaspari Scholar 

Lindze McCarley was raised in Nettleton, Mississippi, but now calls Washington her home. Lindze served as an Aviation Electricians Mate in the Navy where she was actively involved in promoting equality and mental health of LGBTQ service members. She is attending Western Washington University, pursuing an undergraduate degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering and is passionate about advocating for diversity and inclusion in STEM careers. 

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Lisa Ha (she/her) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar 

Lisa Ha was born in Tacoma, WA and she is now living in Kent, WA. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science at Pacific Lutheran University. She aims to become a software engineer in hopes of empowering students from underrepresented and underserved communities, including LGBTQ youth, to explore STEAM and college access opportunities. 

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Lizbeth Chavez (she/her) | 1st Year GSBA Scholar 

Lizbeth Chavez was born in Salinas, California. Shortly afterwards, she moved to Pasco, Washington where she currently resides. She plans to attend the University of Washington to pursue an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Later, she will pursue a master’s and PhD in clinical psychology and seek board certification. Armed with these qualifications, she hopes to battle high suicide rates and poor mental health in the LGBT+ community by working with low-income and homeless LGBT+ and BIPOC youth. 

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Magdalena Pink Sanchez (she/her & they/them) | 3rd Year GSBA Scholar & L. Robb Memorial Scholar 

Magdalena Pink Sanchez was raised on Bainbridge Island, WA and now lives in Bellingham, attending Loyola Marymount University. They are pursuing a double major in Film Production and Screenwriting with aspirations of becoming a showrunner. Magdalena has a passion for storytelling and recognizes the importance of not only having diversity in front of the camera, but within every aspect of the production process. Their goal is to make compelling films that highlight LGBT voices and provide a platform to those who's stories aren't always told. 

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Manny Lopez (she/her) | 3rd Year GSBA Scholar & Glenn Johnson & Michael Melancon Bright Horizons Scholar 

Manny Lopez has lived in Washington for 7 years now. She moved here from a small town in Georgia. She is in her final year at the University of Washington, finishing an undergraduate degree in Microbiology. Her current goal after graduation is to apply to a PhD program, hoping to apply social justice towards scientific research. 

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Marina Westendorf (they/them) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar & Rachelle Mileur Memorial Scholar 

Marina Westendorf has always lived in Washington, often moving between Eastern and Western cities. Currently they live in Renton, WA. They are attending The Evergreen State College pursuing an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Politics. They eventually want to run for Senate, and change the laws to support immigrants, people of color, and those on the gender and sexuality spectrum who are under-served. Though working at the local community level seems more and more appealing.  

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Michelle Rockett (she/her) | 1st Year Scholar & Louise Chernin Scholar 

Michelle Rockett is from Bremerton, WA and now lives in Seattle, WA. She currently attends Arizona State University Online, majoring in Family & Human Development, focusing on Inequity in Education. She plans on becoming a dual certified teacher in Special Education & Elementary Education. Michelle’s personal and professional work prioritizes disability justice from an intersectional viewpoint. Her work and advocacy focuses on supporting LGBTQIA+ and/or disabled students in the K12 system.

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Milla Zúñiga (she/her) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar 

Milla Zúñiga was born and raised in Seattle, WA and continues to reside in Seattle as she pursues her undergraduate degree at the University of Washington. She is majoring in Computer Science and has completed a minor in Mathematics. Milla aspires to create and increase opportunities for minorities to learn and work in the STEM world as it continues to grow. She hopes that her work in the field will be an inspiration to youth in STEM as she progresses through her own journey. 

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Nahum Yanez (he/him) | 1st Year GSBA Scholar 

Nahum Yanez immigrated from Mexico to the United States at the age of 19 years and has always lived in Seattle. Unacceptance, discrimination, violence, and a lack of opportunities made him leave home. He is an undocumented student who completed his ESL, GED and 2-year transfer degree in Global Studies at Seattle Central College. Now, he pursues a 2-year transfer degree as an IT and Network Support Administrator at North Seattle College. His short-term goal is to complete his IT degree and get a job in Microsoft as an administrator. His long-term goal is to take 3 short degrees: in programming, web development, and web design to expand his job opportunities. Getting this education will give Nahum the tools to advocate and make a difference for his LGBT community. He wants to develop websites for LGBT organizations that promote inclusion, fight to make gay marriage a federal right, tutor his HTML, Java Script, Linux and Cisco skills, and encourage his LGBT community to study technology. 

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Nate Jo (all pronouns) | 4th Year GSBA Scholar & Theodore and Rosemarie Ockels Memorial Scholar 

Nate Jo was born in Pasco, Washington and now lives in Bellingham where they attend Western Washington University.  Nate is majoring in Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics while focusing on environmental and housing security policy.  At WWU, Nate has served as the Associated Students (AS) Vice President for Business & Operations, AS Business Director, Queer/Trans People of Color Board Member, and also currently serves as a WWU Swim Team Captain in addition to volunteering for The Trevor Project.  Nate hopes to achieve a master’s degree in public policy from a leading university and make positive progress in government by addressing environmental issues and housing insecurity.  Specifically, Nate hopes to support LGBTQ youth who face elevated risks of housing insecurity. 

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Navouny Swanson (they/them & she/her) | 1st Year GSBA Scholar 

Navouny D. Swanson, preferably known as Navouny Divinne, was raised in the Greater Seattle Area, creating a ruckus with their ingenuity and flair. Starting fall of 2021, they will commence their college journey at Western Washington University in pursuit of an Interdisciplinary Studies degree. Focused in, Marine Biology, Botany, Philosophy and the Arts. Being of many Queerities (Trans, Enby and Queer) and Multi-raciality, with diverse lenses of experience, Navouny's long-term goals include a life and career that encompasses the use of their distinct voice, ability, and uniqueness to create, not only complete sustainably of all human societies, but together as one, a species that celebrates innovation, unity, creativity and freedom. As well, and most importantly, honor the incredible biodiversity of life, inclusive of all species. In doing so, they will be an example to all of what could be, and what can be when you forge your own path. They will break down barriers and encourage the voices/actions of future and current BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+, neurodivergent, differently-abled and all other beings. 

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Omid Assadi (he/him) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar & Symetra Empowers Scholar 

Omid Assadi grew up in Karaj, Iran and now lives is Lake Forest Park, WA, attending Bellevue college perusing bachelor's degree in healthcare informatics. His dream is empowering his skills and social communications to help Iranian LGBTQIA refugees. Omid has a background in Nutrition science and a passion in information technology and the combination of these two lead him to an interdisciplinary major, healthcare informatics. One of his visions is developing a cell phone application to help youth LGBTQIA track their required health services. 

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Rafael Padilla (he/him) | GSBA Graduate Scholar 

Rafael Padilla was born in The Philippines and immigrated to The United States at a young age. After moving countless times to seek out more opportunities, his family finally settled in Seattle, Washington. Here, Rafael attended the University of Washington and completed his Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2018. Now, Rafael works at a public health clinic where he tests and treats sexually transmitted infections for a largely LGBTQ patient population. He also assists high-risk individuals in accessing the clinic's HIV PrEP program and delivers nursing care to HIV+ persons facing extensive barriers to accessing traditional HIV care. After years of being a Pride Foundation undergraduate scholar, he hopes to return as a doctorate student to pursue his goal of finally becoming a Nurse Practitioner serving LGBTQ communities and HIV+ individuals under a greater scope of practice. 

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Ro Boyce (she/her) | 3rd Year GSBA Scholar & Thomas W. and Mary W. Yetman Memorial Scholar 

Ro Boyce grew up in Miami, FL and is now living in Seattle, attending the University of Washington, pursuing an undergraduate degree in Health Science and Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies. She hopes to continue public speaking and hosting leadership and self-identity workshops centering on the black trans voice and uplift LGBTQ youth voices to be the positive representation we so greatly need. 

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Robin Hardwick (they/them) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar 

Hailing from a small town in Southwest Washington, Robin Hardwick is currently a second-year sociology major and statistics minor at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Driven to the subject out of passion to study both social networks and organizations, Robin hopes to combine quantitative and qualitative research methods of social structure to uncover how low socioeconomic status and LGBTQ+ communities differ from expected structures in ways that contribute positively to their success—including chosen families and organizations like the GSBA, which demonstrate how marginalized communities support one another. Uncovering existing social inequalities within vulnerable communities and identifying possible solutions and resources is also within their scope of interest. Robin’s goal is to earn their B.A. from Reed and a PhD in sociology at graduate school. From there, Robin hopes to become a professor, able to research all the above topics while teaching future generations of students. 

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Sam Lacet-Brown (he/him) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar 

Sam Lacet-Brown grew up in Tacoma, WA, and currently lives in Medford, MA studying Cognitive and Brain Science at Tufts University. He hopes to find a way to make algorithms more inclusive by working to mitigate the amplified marginalization of minority groups such as people of color and the LGBTQ+ community that occurs with many machine learning models. 

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Samantha Ayers (she/her) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar 

Samantha Ayers grew up in Shoreline, WA, and has lived in the same area all her life. She is currently going to Shoreline Community College, and plans to transfer to a four year university for a degree in communications.  Her long-term goal is to become an event planner who focuses on creating inclusive events for people inside and outside the LGBTQ+ community. 

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Sarah O’Connell (they/them) | 1st Year GSBA Scholar & Olympic Hot Tub Scholar 

Sarah O’Connell grew up on the southern shores of New Jersey but now resides in Oak Harbor, WA with their spouse and two small children. They have lived on Whidbey Island since 2010 and are currently enrolled at Skagit Valley College and have been accepted to the full-time two-year Registered Nursing program. They have spent the last eight and a half years slowly working on their prerequisites for this program while working full time in various positions of caregiving, most currently as a certified nursing assistant in the local community hospital since 2014. Their goal after finishing the RN program is to continue for their BSN, then to a nurse practitioner program, planning to work closely with LGBTQA+ community, either in a gender care clinic, Planned Parenthood, or another location offering them the opportunity to provide equitable care. 

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Skylar Kaylen (they/them) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar 

Skylar Kaylen (better known as Sky) grew up in the small suburban town of Upland, California. They're attending Seattle Central Community College, pursuing an Associate's of Arts in Global Studies. Sky was accepted to Seattle University and will be pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work with aspirations to be a social work researcher in LGBTQ issues, which help address community experiences disparities. Sky's inspiration is drawn from overcoming various social, economic, and institutional barriers and challenges they experienced while growing up in a single-parent home. Sky also has a passion for plants and horticultural therapy to help cope and manage their behavioral health. 

Tiffany-Ashton Gatsby (they/them & she/her) | 2nd Year GSBA Scholar & David Barzilai Memorial Scholar 

Tiffany-Ashton Gatsby is pursuing a double major in Medical Anthropology - Global Health and Interdisciplinary Visual Art with a minor in Diversity at the University of Washington. They recently completed their Departmental Honors Thesis in Anthropology, exploring how interaction within support systems drives queer-disabled individuals to utilize art as a form of healing and resistance. Next year, their Departmental Honors program in Art will explore the medicalization and desexualization of queer-disabled bodies by subverting expectations through performativity. They plan to continue their research in graduate school and beyond, focusing on empowering queer-disabled individuals through community-based art installation collectives. Tiffany-Ashton is a board member with the Seattle Dyke March, the Parliamentarian for Pi Sigma Phi National Honors Fraternity, a member of the Mortar Board National College Senior Honors Society, and one of the 2021 Husky 100. 

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Click on the videos below to learn more about some current and past GSBA Scholars.

Hear their dreams for the future and how your support has made a difference in their lives.

The GSBA Scholarship
Fund's Impact
Since 1991, the Fund has invested over
$5 million in LGBTQ & allied students.

490 students have become GSBA Scholars
(60 current & 430 alumni)

81% of GSBA Scholars have graduated
(compared to 60% nationally)

91% of Scholars with 3+ years of
funding have earned a degree

38% of Scholars have obtained
post-graduate degrees
The GSBA Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to LGBTQ and allied students who exhibit leadership potential, demonstrate strong academic abilities, and are actively involved in school and community organizations. Founded in 1991, the GSBA Scholarship Fund has awarded over 700 scholarships totaling more than $5 million.
GSBA scholars represent a diverse group of students who have dreams of making our community and the world a better place, and each of them possesses the skills, talents, and dedication to make those dreams a reality.
Investing in tomorrow's leaders is a community effort. We are giving students the gift of education, and they give us hope for a more equitable and just future for us all.

Click here to learn how you can make a difference today.