Two North Carolina students have been chosen among 34 young adults across the nation for inclusion in this year’s Point Scholar Class. The youth each receive high-profile scholarships through the Point Foundation, a non-profit group which provides financial support, leadership training, mentoring and hope to LGBT individuals who are marginalized because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Winston-Salem’s Sarah Marshall, a graduate of West Forsyth High School, received the Darden Restaurants Point Scholarship. She will attend John Hopkins University pursuing a master of public health. Raleigh’s Kyle Vey, a graduate of the N.C. School of Science and Math, also received a Point Scholarship. He will attend N.C. State University pursuing a bachelor in biomedical engineering.
Marshall says the Point Scholarship she received will substantially assist her efforts to build a career in medicine.
“The magnanimous support of Point Foundation will exculpate me from an otherwise massive burden of student loans,” she said in a statement sent to qnotes. “Unfettered from this debt, I will be free to focus on the care of medically underserved persons, placing special emphasis on helping disadvantaged members of the LGBT community. Also, I believe that my Point mentor will help me to function at my best, even when I encounter transphobia at the hospital or clinic. Medical residency will no doubt be challenging, but I need not face the additional stressors of isolation and loneliness.”
That sense of loneliness also strikes a chord with Vey. He says the mentorship provided by Point will assist him.
“I remember how I felt before I had come out; it was a mixture of a lot of loneliness, hopelessness, and worthlessness,” Vey said. “I don’t want LGBT youth to feel like that way anymore. Whether it is providing support groups or spreading knowledge to the community, I believe my main goal would be to prevent as many adolescents from feeling the way I did before came out.”
The Point Foundation is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. In its first year of operation, the group awarded just eight scholarships. Since then, they’ve helped more than 160 individual scholars with over $5.3 million in direct financial support for their college education.
“We founded Point in 2001 with the goal of providing both financial support and mentorship to the best and the brightest LGBT scholars,” co-founder Bruce Lindstrom, who began the organization with his longtime partner Carl Strickland, said in a release. “We had no staff when we started, but we had a wonderful group of individuals willing to volunteer their time, as well as entrepreneurial donors who shared a dream of a national scholarship organization. Today, Point consists of a full staff and nearly 300 volunteers, all working passionately to support the LGBT leaders of tomorrow.”
In June 2011, a total of 71 Point Scholars will be supported in their respective colleges or universities and 124 Point Alumni will continue to pursue their life goals. : :