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GCEF presents 2021 scholarships

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The Gay Community Endowment Fund recently awarded scholarships to four students who have positively impacted the LGBTQ+ community. In total, the GCEF Scholarship Fund awarded $8,000 this year to help local students achieve their higher education goals, bringing the fund's cumulative scholarship distributions to more than $35,000 since its first awards in 2016.

Congratulations to this year's winners:

Moira Armstrong

Moira Armstrong is a senior at Kent State University, where they study a variety of fields, including English, U.S. history, LGBT studies, and religion. After graduation, Moira plans to pursue a graduate degree in gender and sexuality studies. Outside the classroom, Moira is involved with several LGBTQ+ programs, including the QUEST mentorship program, which pairs LGBTQ+ students with a supportive adult role model. Moira is also a writer and managing editor for Fusion, a student magazine focusing on queer issues. During their time at Fusion, Moira has written pieces exploring the difficulties faced by queer people seeking health care, the struggle of queer asylum seekers, and more. Moira is an honors student and holds multiple on-campus jobs and internships, including serving as a peer advisor in the department of Career Exploration and Development.

"In the 26 years that I have been at this university, I have seen many talented students who excel as scholars, as activists and as leaders, but never have I seen someone who consistently surpasses expectations in all categories as does Moira – while also being a genuinely kind and generous human being," wrote Molly Merryman, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, in a recommendation letter.

Brooklynn Campbell

Brooklynn Campbell is a sophomore at the University of Akron, where she studies biochemistry. Brooklynn serves as the outreach chair for the university's Pride in STEMM student group, which brings LGBTQ+ students in STEMM majors together in a safe and educational space. She is also a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Union of Akron and is part of a team working to create a website with resources for current and potential LGBTQ+ students at the university.

"This scholarship will benefit me because I am paying my own way through college," said Brooklynn in her application. "Earning this scholarship will help reduce the amount of money I have to pay out of pocket or borrow with loans and reduce the stress of having to come up with a way to pay for college."

May Cheline

May Cheline, a second-year recipient of the GCEF Scholarship Fund, is a sophomore at Kent State University, where she studies chemistry. May is involved with Kent State's LGBTQ+ Center and frequently volunteers at LGBTQ+ festivals both on and off campus. She also volunteers at a secondhand store run by Margie's Hope to provide affordable clothing for members of the transgender community.

"I am a rather unique student, as women are already a minority in the field of chemistry, let alone a trans woman," May wrote in her application. "This scholarship benefits me by making this education possible."

Shawn Schreckengost Jr.

Shawn Schreckengost Jr., a second-year recipient of the GCEF Scholarship Fund, is a junior at Kent State University, where he studies business management and public health. In 2019, Shawn served on the Akron Pride Festival planning committee as the director of environmental conservation, where he was charged with generating new and measurable initiatives to increase the festival's sustainability. For the last several years, Shawn has interned at Kent State University's LGBTQ+ Center, where he assists with the center's fundraising and marketing initiatives, including those for the LGBTQ Emergency Fund and annual Rainbow Run. Shawn also serves as the vice chairman of the Committee on Health at Kent State University with a focus on addressing health disparities in the LGBTQ+ community.

"(Shawn's) initiative, compassion, intelligence, professionalism, leadership, energy, and passion for life are admirable and competencies that make him a powerhouse," wrote Elizabeth Sinclair, assistant dean at Kent State University, in a recommendation letter. "There is no question Shawn is most deserving of (this scholarship)."

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About the GCEF Scholarship Fund

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. Please consider investing in the next generation of LGBTQ+ students and allies by making a gift to support future scholarships.

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