Press Release

Awards to 45 LGBTQ Students in Programs Ranging From Community College to Advanced Degrees

LOS ANGELES, JUNE 22, 2018 — Point Foundation (Point), the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students, today announced its 2018 scholarship recipients. The 20 LGBTQ students were chosen to be Point Scholars from more than 2,000 applicants. Point is also welcoming 25 LGBTQ students to its Community College Scholarship Program.

This year’s scholarship recipients include seasoned advocates for LGBTQ rights and social justice, impressive young scientists, industrious medical students, and competent young people who will undoubtedly impact professions from law to business and the arts. In addition to their accomplishments, many of the scholarship recipients have overcome barriers to their success that are all too common among LGBTQ individuals, including discrimination, immigration status, homelessness, family rejection, and abuse.

A complete list of scholarship recipients appears below; bios for each are available on Point’s website,

“Point’s diverse class of scholarship recipients give us hope and make us proud,” said Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Point Foundation. “These young leaders are determined to make our nation and our world a much better place than it is today. Point is incredibly grateful to the people and companies that support our work and make these opportunities possible for our scholars.”

For 2018–2019, there will be 98 LGBTQ students receiving financial assistance and programmatic support from Point as they pursue their associate, bachelor’s, or advanced degrees. After graduating, students become part of Point’s growing alumni network, connecting them with hundreds of caring individuals and professional contacts throughout the nation. In late July, Point will bring its current scholars and many of its alumni together for its National Leadership Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Notable facts about the 2018 Point Scholar class: 

  • 70% identify as people of color or bi/multiracial.
  • 60% identify as other than male.
  • 55% identify as bisexual, polysexual, or queer.
  • 45% identify as transgender or gender nonconforming.
  • 35% are first-generation college students.

Notable facts about the 2018 Community College Scholarship recipients:

  • 72% identify as people of color or bi/multiracial.
  • 64% identify as other than male.
  • 64% identify as bisexual, polysexual, or queer.
  • 40% identify as transgender or gender nonconforming.
  • 56% are first-generation students.

Individuals, corporations, and organizations can support Point’s mission by designating a scholarship with a “Name,” which recognizes the donor, an individual, or an institution. Named Scholarship donors pledge to cover the financial assistance and programmatic support Point provides its scholars.

Named Scholarships for Point Scholars are generously being supported by: Anonymous; Arnold Schwab; Barbara Epstein Foundation; Barbey; Calamus Foundation; Fry-Garatea Family; George Benes, MD; HBO; HSBC; Janssen Infectious Diseases; John M. Deciccio; Kevin Hummer; Minton-Spidell-Jackowski; NBCUniversal; Novo Nordisk; Herb Hamsher; Point Honors New York; Rand Skolnick;; Took Trust; Toyota; Viiv; Walter M. Decker; Wells Fargo; William J. Levy.

Named Scholarships for Community College Scholarships are generously being supported by: Big Apple Recreational Sports; California Endowment; Christopher Sowa; Donald Cummins; Jerry & Diane Cunningham; Miami Beach Gay Pride.

The 2018 Point Scholars, including their hometown, area of study and degree, school, and Named Scholarship (where applicable) are as follows:

  • Kevin Canton Mancia; El Salvador; Applied Mathematics; BS; UC Berkeley; HSBC Scholar
  • Nia Clark; Boston, MA; Social Work; BA; California State University, Los Angeles; Herb Hamsher Scholar
  • Jose Cortez; Chino, CA; Medicine; MD; UC Berkeley/UCSF, CA; William J. Levy Scholar
  • John Daniel; New Albany, MS; Health Professions Education; California State University, East Bay
  • Lucas Dickerson; Hurley, MS; Computer Science; University of Mississippi; HSBC Scholar
  • Jimmy Ding; Flower Mound, TX; Medicine; MD; UPenn School of Medicine, John M. Deciccio Scholar
  • Ryder Fox; Dallas, TX; Atmospheric Science; Ph.D.; University of Miami; HSBC Scholar
  • Leanne Ho; Orange, CA; English; BA; University of Oklahoma
  • Mark Jeng; Phoenix, AZ; Medicine; MD; Stanford University; George Benes, MD Scholar
  • Lis Jimenez; Los Angeles, CA; Sociology; BA; Occidental College; Wells Fargo Scholar
  • Alice Liou; Edison, NJ; Social Studies/Education; Ed.D; Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Miah Miller; Wellston, OH; BA; Finance; Columbia University; Barbara Epstein Foundation
  • Marisa O’Gara; Hudson, NH; Law; JD; Cornell Law School; Rand Skolnick Scholar
  • Anthony Pacheco; Cathedral City, CA; BA; Applied Mathematics; USC; Fry-Garatea Family Scholar
  • Teague Shattuck; San Jose, CA; BA; Philosophy; Reed College; Wells Fargo Scholar
  • Zoe Ridolfi-Starr; San Jose, CA; Law; JD; New York University School of Law; Took Trust Scholar
  • Will Tong; Dallas, TX; BS; Computer Science; UC Berkeley; Wells Fargo Scholar
  • Vanessa Warri; San Francisco, CA; BA; Anthropology; UCLA
  • Jimin Won; Gardena, CA; Finance; MBA; Cornell University
  • Calliope Wong; New Haven, CT; Medicine; MD; Stanford University; George Benes, MD Scholar

The 2018 recipients of the Point Community College Scholarship, including their area of study school, and Named Scholarship (where applicable) are as follows:

  • Jose Arango; Business and Management; Miami Dade College, FL; Miami Beach Gay Pride Scholarship 
  • Melissa Arizola; Psychology; San Joaquin Delta College, CA; California Endowment Scholarship
  • Sophia Bautista; Political Science; Fresno City College, CA; California Endowment Scholarship
  • Ev Campos; Sociology; Santa Monica College, CA
  • Kyle Casteel; General Studies; Ivy Tech Community College, IN
  • Dylan Chang; Business; Edmonds Community College, WA
  • Yi-Vonne Chong; Mechanical Engineering/Instrumentation and Controls; Bellingham Technical College, WA
  • Eliana Christianson; Liberal Arts; Windward Community College, HI
  • Alisha Davis; Political Science; Whatcom community college, WA
  • Keith Dixson; Business Computer Information Science; Antelope Valley College, CA 
  • Catie Gudino; English; Moreno Valley College, CA; California Endowment Scholarship
  • Tayler Hammond; Criminal Justice Studies; Merritt College, CA
  • Noah Hunter; General Studies; North Central Texas College, TX
  • Carlos Ibarra; Human Services; LaGuardia Community College, NY; Jerry & Diane Cunningham Scholarship
  • Quinn Jiles; Art History; Lansing Community College, MI
  • Lisa LaChapelle-Naranjo; Allied Health/Nursing; Sacramento City College, CA; California Endowment Scholarship
  • Ethan Lares-Salinas; Political Science; College of the Desert, CA;
  • Luna Lund; Sociology; Folsom Lake College, CA; California Endowment Scholarship
  • Omid Mehrage; Business Administration, Mathematics; Diablo Valley College, CA; California Endowment Scholarship
  • Shawn Padley; Liberal Arts/Gender and Women’s Studies; Madison Area Technical College, WI; Christopher Sowa Scholarship
  • Mysterie Peña; Communications; Santa Monica College, CA
  • Laith Ocean Rodriguez; Sociology; Santa Rosa Junior College; Big Apple Recreational Sports Scholarship
  • Paul Sherrer; Marketing; Sacramento City College, CA
  • Emmett Tassin; Landscape Architecture; Berkeley City College, CA
  • Sammie Zenoz; English/Creative Writing; Miami Dade College, FL; Donald Cummins Scholarship

About Point Foundation

Point Foundation empowers promising LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential – despite the obstacles often put before them – to make a significant impact on society.

Since 2002, Point has awarded more than 400 scholarships, making it the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit. The Foundation promotes change through scholarship funding, mentorship, leadership development and community service training. | | | |

Media Contact: Eugene Patron 
212.512.7807 / 917.501.5881

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