GCEF presents 2018 scholarships
The Gay Community Endowment Fund recently awarded scholarships to 3 students who have positively impacted the LGBTQ+ community.
In total, the GCEF Scholarship Fund awarded $3,000 to help local students achieve their higher education goals, bringing the fund's cumulative scholarship distributions to $16,600 since its first awards in 2016.
Congratulations to this year's winners:
Kate Croteau is a graduate student at Kent State University, where she studies the cultural foundations of education. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community herself, Kate is a strong advocate for the safety and well-being of LGBTQ+ people. In community college, Kate joined OutLoud and participated in LGBTQ+ awareness events on campus.
At Kent State, she immediately joined PRIDE! Kent, an activism organization for KSU's LGBTQ+ and ally community, and became a resident of the university's LGBTQ+ Living-Learning Community. She also served as secretary of KSU's Trans*Fusion group and has taken the lead on restarting QGrad, a social and volunteer service group for LGBTQ+ graduate and professional students.
"As a deaf student, Kate has had to fight for educational accommodations for much of her life, and this has sensitized her to the experiences of other marginalized students on campus," wrote Natasha Levinson, an associate professor in KSU's Cultural Foundations of Education program, in a recommendation letter. "I'm incredibly impressed by her initiative, commitment and drive."
Jennifer Mills is a senior at the University of Akron, where she studies social work. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, advocacy has been a priority for Jennifer since the age of 18, when she and a group of friends fought for job equality in the city of Canton. They attended city council meetings and eventually were successful in getting a city ordinance passed. She also worked with volunteers from Equality Ohio to collect signatures to get marriage equality on the ballot in Ohio. For the past eight years, Jennifer has served in leadership roles for local LGBTQ+ clubs, attended national and regional conferences, volunteered at Cleveland Pride, and hosted LGBTQ+ events in her community. She plans to use her career in social work to continue her advocacy efforts and ultimately create a mental health agency for LGBTQ+ individuals.
"While at Stark State, (Jennifer) was able to reach out to the LGBT community and help foster a feeling of 'fitting in' and a sense of purpose," wrote Elizabeth Barkan, Fine Arts Department chair at Fairless Local Schools, in a recommendation letter. "She has been the poster child for rising up against circumstances and meeting goals."
Anton Van De Motter is a freshman at the University of Maryland, where he studies vocal music education and broadcast journalism. Anton, who identifies as bisexual and transgender, served as president of Hudson High School's Gender and Sexuality Alliance club. As president, he was instrumental in securing gender-neutral restrooms for transgender and gender fluid high school students. He also helped transgender students navigate school policies for overnight trips, preferred pronouns in the classroom, and more.
As an editor on the school newspaper staff, Anton ran a column called OUTLoud, which provided advice on common issues LGBTQ+ students face and brought important discussions into the spotlight. He also traveled to Columbus with Hudson staff and administrators to speak with the Ohio School Board Association about the need for GSAs and inclusive restrooms in all schools. His presentation was so successful that he later shared it with the Summit Educational Service Center.
"To me, Mr. Van De Motter exemplifies what it means to be an advocate for social justice, and I know he will continue to be a voice for this important community beyond the sphere of high school," wrote Lani Banner, Hudson High School's GSA advisor, in a recommendation letter. "I have no doubt he will assume a similar and important role at university."
GCEF is proud to support all three of these accomplished students in their education journey. Congratulations, Kate, Jennifer and Anton!
The GCEF Scholarship Fund awards postsecondary scholarships to LGBTQ+ and allied students who live in the geographic area served by GCEF and participate in initiatives that benefit the local LGBTQ+ community.