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Meet Our Scholars

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Gregory Payton

Columbia University

Clinical Psychology



Merle Aronson Point Scholar

Born and raised in a small Missouri town just west of the Mississippi, Greg grew up as one of six children in a large, Catholic family. Becoming ever-more conscious of his sexual orientation, he struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide. As a freshman, Greg moved to Chicago and hoped that a diverse, urban environment would offer a safer climate to come out. In that first year, he was the victim of a hate crime that pushed him further into the closet. Greg transferred to the University of Missouri and graduated summa cum laude three years later. After teaching in a migrant farm-worker community in rural Oregon, and a fifth grade classroom in South Central Phoenix, Greg felt drawn to working within the LGBTQ community. Becoming more proud of his identity and increasingly interested in human development and psychology, Greg moved to Boston where he completed his Masters Degree at Harvard University. As a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, he has played numerous roles in the LGBTQ community: therapist, researcher, activist and writer. Greg looks forward to a career dedicated to outreach efforts, supporting the healthy development of LGBTQ youth and adults, and portraying the dignity and resiliency of the LGBTQ community through his work.

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