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GCEF presents 2019 scholarships


The Gay Community Endowment Fund recently awarded scholarships to 2 students who have positively impacted the LGBTQ+ community.

In total, the GCEF Scholarship Fund awarded $4,000 to help local students achieve their higher education goals, bringing the fund's cumulative scholarship distributions to more than $20,000 since its first awards in 2016.

Kate Croteau
Kate Croteau

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 took the lead to restart QGrad, a social and volunteer service group for LGBTQ+ graduate and professional students. Most recently, she helped found the Kent/Ravenna chapter of PFLAG.

This is Kate's second year of receiving a scholarship from the GCEF Scholarship Fund.

"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."

Erin Kessler is a senior at Kent State University, where they study public health, LGBTQ studies, and health care ethics. Upon graduation, Erin plans to pursue a master's degree and become an advocate to help LGBTQ+ people access the quality health care they deserve.

Erin has worked as both a tutor and an intern in the LGBTQ Student Center, and they recently completed a visual oral history project on the experiences of transgender people in the health care system, which will be incorporated into their thesis. Erin has served as the president and vice president of Trans*Fusion; the secretary for Pride Kent; and the secretary for Students Against Sexual Assault.

"With my work in health care, I hope to help other queer and trans people navigate difficult situations, so they are able to be at their healthiest and happiest," Erin wrote in their application.

GCEF is proud to support both of these accomplished students in their education journey. Congratulations, Kate and Erin!

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.

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