Meet Our Scholars
California State University, Los Angeles
Herb Hamsher Point Scholar
As a transgender youth of color who spent most of her childhood in foster care, Nia Clark consistently struggled to find acceptance and support from the adults around her. While most would understandably distance themselves from such rejection and intolerance, Nia has spent over a decade changing the system from within as a child welfare consultant, direct care counselor, trainer, and LGBTQ youth advocate. From 2015-2017, Nia was the Mentoring Coordinator at LifeWorks, the youth development and mentorship program at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. In her role, she matched over 200 LGBTQ+ youth with adult mentors. In 2016 she served as consulting producer of the Emmy-nominated MTV documentary, ”Transformation,” a film featuring herself and six trans & gender-diverse youth navigating through their identities. Nia is currently a trainer for the Human Rights Campaign’s All Children – All Families Project, an initiative that provides a framework for child welfare agencies to achieve safety, permanency, and well-being by improving their practice with queer youth. Thoroughly impressed by Clark’s hard work and extensive background in child welfare, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) enlisted her help in launching a three-year national pilot project to provide more inclusive mentoring services and resources to thousands of LGBTQ youth across America. She has trained more than 20 BBBS sites including Seattle, Denver, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Washington D.C. Nia is a social work major at California State University, Los Angeles. She plans to obtain her MSW and become a social work professor, so she can continue teaching adults to affirm and support LGBTQ youth in systems of care.