Launchin Leaders PFLAG Scholarship Awards
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Previous Recipients

Congratulations to the 2020 PFLAG SDC Scholarship Recipients!

Mary Wagner Memorial Scholarship: Jonathan Limon

Mary Wagner Memorial Scholarship: Jonathan Limon

Bio: Jonathan was born and raised in the South Bay area of San Diego where he currently resides. He holds a degree in nursing from San Francisco State University and will be pursuing a Master’s in Higher Education Leadership at the University of San Diego this fall. Jonathan is currently serving as a Registered Nurse on the front lines of this pandemic. He has a passion for increasing access to higher education and working with underserved populations.

John Bessemer Memorial Scholarship: Christopher Harrop

John Bessemer Memorial Scholarship: Christopher Harrop

Bio: My name is Chris Harrop, and I received my degree in International Business and Spanish at the University of San Diego. Since graduating in 2018, I’ve spent two years working for a national mortgage company as a Human Resources Data and Systems Analyst. However, I couldn’t keep myself away from the higher education system for long. I’m thrilled to be joining Harvard’s Graduate School of Education this fall, pursuing my Master’s in Higher Education. My ultimate goal is to empower colleges and universities to better leverage their student data to improve outcomes for diverse students, especially those within the LGBTQ+ community.

Rob Benson Memorial Scholarship: G Trupp

Rob Benson Memorial Scholarship: G Trupp

Bio: G Trupp (they/them) is a Master’s Student studying Library Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They received their BA in Linguistics and Languages from Swarthmore College. G is passionate about intersectional social justice in library and archival spaces, and is currently the Library Assistant at La Jolla Country Day School, as well as one of the co-advisors for their LGBTQ+ group, Spectrum.

Daniel J. Ferbal Memorial Scholarship: Patrick Loehr

Daniel J. Ferbal Memorial Scholarship: Patrick Loehr

Bio: Patrick is currently studying medicine at the University of California, San Diego. As an undergraduate at Pomona College, he studied Spanish Literature and Art History. After graduating, he moved to Madrid on a Fulbright scholarship to study mudéjar architecture and teach literature at a public high school with a bilingual curriculum. He subsequently moved to Paris to work in cultural heritage protection at UNESCO, and then to New York City, where he worked for three years in film and television production and supplemented his time tutoring, coaching after-school debate, and volunteering at an LGBT community center.

Stephen G. Bowersox Memorial Scholarship: Jelani Lizárraga

Stephen G. Bowersox Memorial Scholarship: Jelani Lizárraga

Bio: My name is Jelani Lizárraga. Some of my favorite hobbies are cooking, dancing, and creating new memories with my friends and family. I was 13 when I moved schools to Hoover High School. I started from the bottom at Hoover with low grades and no friends. Luckily, with the help of a fantastic program at school, I was able to not only improve my classes but also get out of my comfort zone socially. I developed my social skills, and in my sophomore year, I decided to come out as gay. Now I’m graduating high school at the top of my class. I will be attending UCSD and majoring in NanoEngineering, this fall.

Raytheon STEM Scholarship: Evelyn Anderson

Raytheon STEM Scholarship: Evelyn Anderson

Bio: My name is Evelyn Anderson and I am a senior at El Capitan High School. I love to run and am on my school’s varsity cross country and track and field team. Outside of school, I like hiking, camping, reading, and doing calligraphy and hand lettering art. In the fall, I will be attending Harvey Mudd College and plan to major jointly in mathematics and physics.

Kendall Family Memorial Scholarship: Ángel Gonzalez

Kendall Family Memorial Scholarship: Ángel Gonzalez

Bio: Ángel Gonzalez is a second year doctoral candidate at San Diego State University in their Ed.D in Community College Leadership. Their research agenda focuses on 1) conditions, experiences, and outcomes in community colleges for minoritized students with an emphasis on LGBTQ+ and Latinx students; 2) Latinx professionals identity development at the intersections of queerness and latinidad; 3) racial equity policy implementation. His work is guided by his own narrative as a first generation, queer, Latinx student from South East Los Angeles. Ángel has worked across post-secondary education institutions in an array of functional areas supporting students’ success. He is proud to be a queer educator who aims to magnify the queer/trans* community voice in research and practice.

Qualcomm Merit/STEM Scholarship: Christina W

Qualcomm Merit/STEM Scholarship: Christina W

Bio: Christina is a graduating senior who is thrilled to head to the University of Pennsylvania in the fall! She is passionate about all things STEM and politics, and especially their intersection in the realm of healthcare policy. She has furthered her interests by participating in neuroscience research at Boston University and by working with hospitalized neurodegenerative patients through Palomar Health’s Pathmaker Internship. She plans to explore the multiple facets of health insurance and healthcare delivery through a double-major in Neuroscience and Economics. Christina dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon one day. Above all, Christina is beyond grateful for the opportunities provided by the PFLAG’s San Diego County Chapter and is excited to see what the future holds!

Qualcomm Merit/STEM Scholarship: Carissa Young

Qualcomm Merit/STEM Scholarship: Carissa Young

Bio: Carissa (she/her/hers) is an eighteen year-old high school senior pursuing a career in Neuroscience. She enjoys composing and playing music, learning languages, running, coding, and painting in her free time. She hopes to one day work with Doctors Without Borders in the future, as well we research neurological diseases such as Dementia and Alzhiemer’s.

Martha Lynne Austin Memorial Scholarship: Madeline Garrett

Martha Lynne Austin Memorial Scholarship: Madeline Garrett

Bio: Madeline Garrett (she/her) is eighteen years old and has lived in La Mesa, California for her whole life. There have been times in her life that it was not a sure thing that she would graduate from high school at all, so being recognized in this way is an especially huge acknowledgement. Madeline is graduating from Grossmont Middle College High School with over a year of college credits completed before graduation. After the pandemic passes, Maddie is working to transfer to UC Davis to study botany and mycology in the hopes of working to improve the environment for future generations.

PFLAG San Diego County Merit Scholarship: Kai Catapang

PFLAG San Diego County Merit Scholarship: Kai Catapang

Bio: Hi, My name is Kai! I have been on the Mission Vista High School speech and debate team for four years and I helped create my school’s first home economics club. Outside the classroom, I enjoy playing tennis and volleyball with my family and friends. This fall, I hope to major in economics at UCSD and hopefully pursue a career in government.

We Believe in You Award: Athina Reyes

We Believe in You Award: Athina Reyes

Bio: Athina Reyes (King) has been different since she was three. Realizing at a young age she was gay, and being bullied through elementary and middle school because of it was not easy. As hard as it was, she now feels proud of being who she is. Through her hardships and heart breaks, she has made her way. A quote that Athina lives by is, “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” -Dolly Parton. Athina said, “I’ve been through a lot and I’m happy. I have that rainbow now. And it’s pretty long and strong. I like who I am. If I’m happy, then no one can rain on me.”

Did You Know that San Diego City Council Member Todd Gloria was one of the very first recipients of a PFLAG San Diego scholarship?

toddgloriaHe took the time out of his very busy schedule to talk about his experience and how he put the scholarship to good use!

PFLAG: Tell us a little bit about your background (where you grew up and the high school you attended).

GLORIA: I am a native San Diegan. I attended James Madison High School in Clairemont.

PFLAG: What issues did you deal with as an out LGBT youth?

GLORIA: I encountered many of the same issues that today’s out LGBT youth deal with while growing up. There were the issues of bullying, name calling, and social isolation that are sadly too common. These challenges, in addition to typical adolescence angst, makes the high school experience for LGBT youth particularly tough and why support groups like PFLAG are so important.

PFLAG: How did you find out about the PFLAG scholarship program?

GLORIA: I learned about the PFLAG scholarship by reading a call for applications in the Gay & Lesbian Times. (The publication is no longer in print.)

PFLAG: How did you use your scholarship funds and what did you study in college?

GLORIA: I used my scholarship to cover the cost of books and other fees during my final year of college. It was a godsend as I ended my undergraduate studies in History and Political Science and prepared to enter the workforce.

PFLAG: Did you always want to be involved in public service?

GLORIA: Yes. I have always been drawn to serving my community. I volunteered a lot as a student. I started my career at the County of San Diego in the Department of Social Services and have never looked back. I feel fortunate to have a career that allows me to spend my time focused on making San Diego a better place to live for everyone.

PFLAG: Overall, why is higher education so important to San Diego’s LGBT Youth & community?

GLORIA: Knowledge is the currency of the 21st century economy. Higher education is what prepares today’s students to succeed in what is an increasing competitive environment where the talent pool is not only the students in your class, but students around the globe. In terms of the LGBT community, I believe that our youth have an obligation to build upon the opportunities created by our community’s trailblazers. If we want to continue our march toward full legal equality, we need well-educated young people capable of doing the hard work required in a civil rights movement.

PFLAG: If you could speak to any student who may be on the fence about applying, thinking they don’t have a chance or it’s too much work, what would you say to them?

GLORIA: I would encourage anyone who is considering applying for the PFLAG scholarship to just do it. We are fortunate to have a very generous community that wants to support our LGBT youth.

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