Scholar Class – 2011
Sarah Young, who identifies as bisexual, grew up in a rural Upstate New York town where there were few people who openly identified as LGBTQ, and where teachers permitted and often participated in using homophobic language in the classroom. Sarah is a social worker by profession and a community organizer by practice. She graduated Summa Cum Laude and with Honors from Syracuse University in 2004 and was the first Social Work major selected as both Class Marshall and a Syracuse University Scholar (the highest academic honor given to undergraduates). She has lived and practiced social work in London, England and has worked for UNICEF in Jamaica prior to graduating with her MSW from the University of Michigan in 2007. Her work organizing youth led her to Mississippi, a state she loves and now calls home.
In 2008 she was awarded a New Voices Fellowship to further her work with LGBTQ youth. This led to the creation of the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition (MSSC), a youth-led organization that trains, supports and organizes LGBTQ youth and allies. Sarah has helped MSSC with grant acquisition, board training and development, and organizing major events such as the Second Chance Prom, a queer-friendly prom in the very conservative and religious context of Mississippi. She serves on the Steering Committee of the National Safe Schools Roundtable, and is currently an instructor at Mississippi State University. She is pursuing a PhD in Social Work at the University of Alabama, where she is also a Graduate Council Fellow.