Point Scholar – 2005-2009
Amanda Jessen was born in raised in notoriously, socially conservative Orange County, California. After coming out to her mother as a junior in high school, Amanda was met with fierce opposition from within her family. Focusing her energies on positive outlets, Amanda took charge of her high school’s Liberal Youth of America and Gay-Straight Alliance. She lived briefly with her grandmother and father before settling in at University of California, Los Angeles. Alongside majoring in International Development Studies and minoring in Women’s Studies, Amanda built an outreach program designed to target homophobia in Orange County high schools. She has also held a staff position at UCLA’s LGBT magazine, OutWrite. Perhaps her biggest contribution to Point Foundation was her appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show in the fall of 2006. Amanda was able to reach out to millions of viewers with goal of placing national and international spotlight on the life-changing nature of Point Foundation. Amanda hopes to develop her interests in international relations and global human rights into a career as a foreign service officer with the hopes of one day directing a major NGO agency such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch.