2017 QOC Scholarship Recipients

Below are some of the recipients of the 2017 QOC Scholarship.

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Ellisia Castro-Ibey

Ellisia Castro-Ibey currently attends the University of California, Merced as an Anthropology major with a Creative Writing Minor. As a proud queer womxn of color, Ellisia has dedicated her time as a VOICES Peer Educator to educate individuals on the prevention and intervention of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking. Ellisia has also been casted in the Vagina Monologues at UC Merced for the past two years. In addition, she has held leadership positions in Lambda Alliance and the Native American Coalition. Ellisia aspires to be an Anthropology professor or a Museum Coordinator one day. 

The QOC scholarship has helped me pay for my textbooks and other school supplies for my courses the last year. In addition, I will be using the remainder of the scholarship to pay for my summer tuition. I am forever grateful for being chosen to receive the QOC scholarship so I may have the same opportunity to purchase the necessary materials in order to succeed in college. 


Katie Ly

Katie Ly is an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley who is working towards a double major in Political Science and Ethnic Studies. She is involved with many community and on-campus organizations that emphasize queer/trans people of color and youth organizing, juvenile justice research, and healing and transformation through the arts. With a demonstrated history of community organizing and workshop facilitation in the non-profit industry, she is looking to make connections with public policy researchers and other organizers in the Bay Area community. 

This scholarship not only serves as a testament to my abilities as a young leader in California, but also it represents the opportunity to advance my education to the next level. As the last semester of the 2017-2018 school year finishes, I am able to further my studies abroad in South Korea during the summer. Receiving this scholarship will allow me to explore the dimensions of the cultural environment of Seoul, and I am forever thankful for Queens of the Castro for providing me the financial resources to build a stronger platform as an ambitious undergraduate student at one of the most selective Korean institutions. 

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Allan flores

Allan Flores is currently a graduate student at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, studying for his master’s degree in Biostatistics. His long-term goal is to use my education to take part in biomedical research concerning HIV, sexually transmitted infections, modeling infectious diseases, PrEP, and studies on queer health.

The scholarship provided to me by the Queens of the Castro was the equivalent of three month’s worth of rent and groceries in Glasgow. This scholarship was a blessing that alleviated a huge financial burden. I am now trying to live my life here as a student to the fullest with minimized financial worry. When I am not studying, I am running with the Glasgow Frontrunners, Scotland’s largest LGBT sports club. 


Kiana Lailin Young

(they/them & she/her)

Kiana is an unapologetically [gender]queer, mixed race, Chinese-American poet, educator, and activist from Southern California. They have three years of experience as a consent and sexual violence prevention educator in the Bay Area, and has competed on various national stages for slam poetry and debate. In 2017, she was a student journalist fellow for the NLGJA: The National Association for LGBTQ Journalists where they reported on the misrepresentation of asexual people of color in media. She is passionate about the liberation of queer and/or trans Black, Indigenous, people of color, asexual community awareness, disability justice, and ice cream. Kiana will graduate from the University of California, Berkeley in Spring 2018 with a B.A. in Rhetoric and Public Discourse and a minor in LGBT Studies. 

It is an immense honor to be selected for the QOC scholarship. This recognition is especially meaningful, because the work and labor of queer and trans folks, especially queer and trans folks of color, often goes unrecognized, unpaid, and exploited. Tangibly, this scholarship meant I was able to work less hours this past semester in order to pay rent, tuition, and healthcare. It meant I had more time to devote to my passions, my self-care, and community care. It meant I could not just survive, but thrive. 


Kyle Fortner

Kyle Fortner is a California State University, Fullerton student majoring in Biological Science with a Concentration in Ecology. He is hispanic, queer, trans person that is extremely passionate about the legal and social aspects and rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and performs speeches aimed at the education of Non-LGBTQ+ people on LGBTQ+ topics, and has succeeded in causing reform, at the local high school district level, for Transgender students rights for “preferred” names on most available documentation. Kyle dreams of using his degree to restore natural habitats, waterways, and other altered ecosystems to prevent extinction through habitat and resource loss.

Queens of the Castro has help enormously in helping me afford textbooks, mandatory class supplies, and even partial tuition payment! I am eternally grateful for this fantastic group of people who value the academic futures, and success of LGBTQ+ students and allies, and, personally, I would never have been able to continue with my education without their help. 


Saadhana Deshpande

Saadhana Deshpande is a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley, studying Nutritional Science and Public Policy. She hopes to take this information with her and ultimately create a clinic targeted for LGBTQ+-specific issues, as well as for other minority groups. 

The QOC scholarship was instrumental in allowing me to continue my education as a LGBTQ+ person. I am so grateful to have this education accessible to me, as it will allow me to grow as a person and, in turn, help others within the LGBTQ community. 


Corinne O'Brien

Corinne spent her youth as a high-level women’s artistic gymnast training forty hours per week. Since middle school, she has been been involved with LGBTQIA+ rights-oriented student groups at every school she has attended, and has frequently been elected to leadership positions in these groups. She has been highly involved in grassroots social justice community organizing for seven years. She has volunteered with organizations such as The Trevor Project, Standing Up for Racial Justice, Alameda Health System, YVote, and the Homeless Patient Aligned Care Teams in the Greater Los Angeles Veteran's Health Administration. She graduated with honors with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in history.

The QOC scholarship helped Corinne fund her tuition and housing for my senior year at Mills College. It was instrumental in alleviating worries about housing and tuition and making her senior year at Mills College a reality. It allowed her to focus more deeply on her community involvement and academic success. The Queens of the Castro have inspired Corinne by providing positive examples of ways to approach the work that still needs to be done for queer and trans rights and demonstrating the far reach that we can have by investing in education and supporting people in their efforts to help others.