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Press Release, June 14, 2012

 For Immediate Release — June 14, 2012


29 New Scholarships Awarded to Diverse Group of LGBTQ Students

– The path to a higher education degree is now possible for 29 undergraduate and graduate students from around the country who will receive Point Foundation Scholarships (see pages 3 and 4 of this release for list of names and information). Nearly 2,000 scholarship applications were submitted, a 12 percent increase from 2011, making this the second highest number of applications the Foundation has received in its 11-year existence.

Point Foundation (Point) is the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students of merit. The 29 new scholarship recipients all demonstrate academic excellence, leadership skills, community involvement and financial need. Many of these young people have unfortunately experienced the loss of financial and social support of their families and/or communities, as a result of revealing their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

“What unites all our Point Scholars, no matter what their background, is that they are incredibly committed to improving society. They all want to be agents of change,” said Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Point Foundation. “In the last year, the 29 new scholars collectively devoted an amazing 16,000 hours of volunteer time leading projects and events benefiting their communities. These young people are incredibly eager to make the most of the quality education and leadership training their Point Scholarship provides.  Based on the example of the 145 Point Alumni, I know our current scholars will soon go on to excel in their chosen professions and become leaders in the LGBTQ community.”

The 29 new scholarship recipients join 47 current Point Scholars, for a total of 76 students who will receive financial assistance and programmatic support from Point during the 2012 – 2013 academic year. The average amount of annual scholarship support, which includes direct financial and programmatic assistance, is on average in excess of $25,000. Point’s multifaceted support for scholars extends far beyond a direct financial contribution toward the cost of their education. Each scholar is paired with a mentor, and participates in leadership development and training in civic engagement.

Point Scholars agree to give back to the LGBTQ community through the completion of an individual community service project each year. After graduating, Point Scholars become part of Point’s growing alumni network – 145 strong as of June 2012 – connecting them with caring individuals and professional contacts throughout the nation.

Some notable demographic facts about the 2012 Scholar Class:

  • The most racially diverse new scholar class in Point’s history, with 45 percent of the new scholars identifying as other than White.
  • 41 percent of the scholars in the 2012 class are female, vs. 32 percent of the 2011 class.
  • 39 percent of the new scholars are either currently living in, or were from, rural areas when they attended high school.
  • 28 percent of the new Point Scholars are the first generation in their family to go to college.
  • The most ever “STEM” students in a Point scholar class: four students planning on studying Science, Technology, Engineering, and/or Math.

Point partners with individuals, corporations and organizations to support Point’s mission by designating a scholarship with a "Name" -- recognizing the donor, or an individual or institution they wish to honor. Named Scholarship donors pledge a major gift of $100,000, or $25,000 per year for four years, to cover the financial assistance and programmatic support Point provides its scholars.

New Named Scholarships created for 2012-13 include those with support from Janssen Therapeutics, Motorola Solutions, NBCUniversal, as well as five additional Wells Fargo Point Scholarships (bringing the company’s total support to ten Named Scholarships).

Current Named Scholarships exist thanks to the continued generosity of: Allan Gilmour & Eric Jirgens, Bob Fennell, Darden Restaurants, Erickson-Zoellers, George Benes M.D. & Michael Mallee Ed.D., HBO, Joan R. Heller, Johnson & Johnson, Jonathan D. Lewis, Kevin Hummer, Larry King /Jeffrey Fashion Cares, Minton-Spidell, Paul W. Speier, Phyllis Mandler & Gary Elden, Point Honors LA, Point Honors NY, Rand Skolnick, Toyota Financial Services, Tyler Clementi, Vorobek, Walter W. Decker and Wells Fargo.

For the list of 2012 scholarship recipients please see the following pages of this release.   Detailed biography information on each new Point Scholar can be found online, as well as an interactive map showing where each new scholar grew up or resided at the time they were awarded their scholarship. Biography information on the full list of current Point Scholars is also online at the Point website.

Introducing the incoming class of 2012 Point Scholars

(Named Scholarships noted with an asterisk) 

Sarah Biscarra-Dilley, CA, candidate for a B.A. in Urban Studies, San Francisco Art Institute

Josh Blecher-Cohen, NY, candidate for a B.A. in Philosophy and Classics, Harvard College

*Ved Chirayath, CA, candidate for a Ph.D. in Aeronautics & Astronautics, Stanford University (Wells Fargo Point Scholar)

*Cary Crall, CA, candidate for a M.D., Harvard Medical School (Wells Fargo Point Scholar)  
*Shane Du, CA, candidate for a M.D., SUNY Upstate Medical University (Wells Fargo Point Scholar) 

*Angela Filley, IN, candidate for a B.S. in Financial Engineering, Columbia University (Wells Fargo Point Scholar) 

*Noel Gordon, NV, candidate for a B.A. in Political Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Larry King/Jeffrey Fashion Cares Point Scholar)

Isaias Guzman, CA, candidate for a B.A. in Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

Navidra Hardin, NJ, candidate for a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism, Emerson College

*Marco Herndon, GA, candidate for a B.A. in Economics and Government, Dartmouth College (Wells Fargo Point Scholar)

*Adaobi Kanu, NY, candidate for a M.B.A. in Finance and Marketing, Columbia University (Wells Fargo Point Scholar)

Kathryn Kendall, VA, candidate for a J.D., Boston College Law School

*Tyler Kissinger, NC, candidate for a B.A. in Physics and Mathematics, University of Chicago (Motorola Solutions Point Scholar)

*Tanner Liechty, IA, candidate for a B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Johns Hopkins University (Paul W. Speier Point Scholar)

*Noah Lupica, ME, candidate for a B.S. in the Program in Liberal Medical Education, Brown University (Wells Fargo Point Scholar)

Alyssa Mandula, IN, candidate for a B.A. in Peace, Justice & Conflict Studies and Philosophy, DePaul University

*Monica Motley, VA, candidate for a Ph.D. in Social Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Wells Fargo Point Scholar)

*Patrick Oathout, TX, candidate for a B.A. in Philosophy and Public Policy, Duke University (Wells Fargo Point Scholar)

Kwame Ocran, NY, candidate for a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics & Society, Hunter College

*Nicole Opper, CA, candidate for a M.F.A. in Film, San Francisco State University (NBCUniversal Point Scholar)

*Nicholas Orozco, CA, candidate for a M.D., University of California, Berkeley (Minton-Spidell Point Scholar)

*Xinyi Ou, MI, candidate for a B.A. in History and Sociology, Grand Valley State University (Allan Gilmour & Eric Jirgens Point Scholar)

*Oraia Reid, WA, candidate for a B.A. in Business, Baruch College - City University of New York (HBO Point Scholar)

Zoe Reidinger, NC, candidate for a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Nicole Robert, WA, candidate for a Ph.D. in Feminist Studies, University of Washington

Jeff Sheng, CA, candidate for a Ph.D. in Sociology, Stanford University

*Max Staebler, FL, candidate for a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Duke University (Darden Restaurants Point Scholar)

Pete Subkoviak, WI, candidate for a M.P.H. in Policy and Leadership, Johns Hopkins University

*Kayla Wingert, IL, candidate for a B.A. in Sports/Entertainment/Event Management, Johnson & Wales University (Larry King/Jeffrey Fashion Cares Point Scholar)

 About Point Foundation: Point Foundation (Point) provides financial support, leadership training, mentoring and hope to LGBT individuals who are marginalized because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Point provides its scholars with the financial ability to attend the nation's foremost higher educational institutions and its donors and mentors with the rare satisfaction of directly investing their resources and time in future generations of leaders. |

Media Contact:

Eugene Patron
Point Foundation
Off.  (212) 512-7807     

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