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Meet Our Scholars

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Shawn Padley

Madison Area Technical College

Liberal Arts & Women and Gender Studies


Community College

Christopher Sowa Scholarship Recipient

Shawn Padley is a 25-year-old transgender man from south-central Wisconsin. After coming out to his far-right-leaning family in 2011, he had to drop out of college and spent the next several years struggling to get by before moving to Madison and applying to school again in August 2016. Shawn originally planned to explicitly not get involved on-campus, but after noticing a lack of queer representation at his school, reached out to a professor who recommended get involved. Shawn joined the Madison College Student Senate in October 2017, became the first openly-transgender student at Madison College to serve as a Student Senate officer in January 2018, and in April 2018, Shawn was elected Parliamentarian of the Wisconsin Student Government for the 2018-2019 school year. After graduating from Madison College, Shawn plans to transfer to Marquette University in Milwaukee to major in gender and sexualities studies, with possible minors in sociology and theater. With this degree, he wants to work to design and advocate for the use of comprehensive, inclusive, and scientifically-accurate sexual health education curriculum in Wisconsin’s K-12 public schools.

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