What were some of the highlights/favorite moments from your time as a Point Scholar?
Being a Point Scholar has given me many memories and special moments that I will always cherish. Some of the best moments I had as a Point Scholar involve the Scholar and Alumni Leadership Conference. Spending four days with the Point family is amazing enough in itself, so it’s no surprise that wonderful memories come from our gatherings. I will always remember how much I grew as an LGBTQ activist, student and person each time I attended the annual Leadership Conference. One of the best experiences at the conference was sitting in a theater filled with the Point family watching the play, “The Normal Heart.” It’s heavy subject matter and devastating plot developments (AIDS and the creation of ACT UP) somehow become beautiful and poetic because I was experiencing all of my feelings with a group that completely understood what I was going through. Growing up it was extremely rare for me to be amongst individuals who could share my view of the world. I would find myself alone and isolated, feeling as if nobody knew how it felt to be me. But at that moment when I was watching the play, I didn’t feel alone anymore. It was an extremely moving experience for me. I will take it with me for the rest of my life.
What are you personally going to be taking away from your Point experience?
Point has given me a chance in life that I never thought possible. When I was younger, I never thought I would amount to much because I was transgender. I couldn’t find any successful transgender adults or members of the LGBTQ community that believed in me and told me I would succeed. From the moment I became a Point Scholar, that all changed. Point has given me hope, motivation and purpose in life. I will be taking away a family and knowing that wherever I go in life, there will be people who believe in me.
What was your favorite experience with your Community Service Project (CSP)?
I really enjoyed working on my CSP, and it’s hard to pick a favorite experience. My CSP started as a social group for transgender individuals, and blossomed into a full blown 501c3 non-profit organization called TUFF (slightly modeled after Point) that helps assist transgender individuals with transition costs.. TUFF gives me purpose, and I am extremely proud to help others the way Point helped me. If I had to choose a favorite experience, it was allocating my first transition scholarship. Not only was I assisting in changing someone’s life, but it confirmed that I am on the right path.
What was your favorite experience with your mentor?
Alan Guno is such an incredible part of my life. Like my CSP, it’s also hard to pick a favorite experience. TUFF would not exist without Alan, and I am truly grateful that he came into my world. I know that Alan and I will continue to work together and remain friends after I graduate. Now that Alan is part of my life, I cannot imagine it without him.
What advice would you give a Point applicant?
DON’T GIVE UP! The first time I applied to Point I didn’t even make it past round one. But I tried the next year, and now look at me! Point is not just a scholarship for school, it’s an opportunity to achieve goals you don’t even know exist. Point will be there for you, no matter what you choose to do in life. Keep trying, and don’t be discouraged. Finish the application – I know it’s long – but it’s completely worth all that work to be part of the Point family.
What are your future plans?
I’d love to be able to work in the non-profit community, and hope that one day TUFF is as successful as Point. Right now I am applying to graduate school for business and non-profit management, so I am taking the right steps. I’d also love to give back and work for Point one day.