2019-09-01: 2019 NOGLSTP Scholarship Recipients Announced

National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals

Contact: Rochelle Diamond, chair@noglstp.org

P.O. Box 91803
Pasadena, CA 91109


Professional Society Awards “Out to Innovate” Scholarships to LGBTQ+ Students in STEM Fields

Pasadena, CA, Sept. 2, 2019 — Students from California, Indiana, Maryland and Texas are winners of the 2019 Out to Innovate™ scholarships awarded by the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) through an Innovation Generation grant from the Motorola Solutions Foundation.

These scholarships are intended for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) programs who are either lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBTQ+) or an active ally of the LGBTQ+ community. The scholarships are designed to promote academic excellence and increased visibility of talented LGBTQ+ students in STEM careers.

Lark photoThe recipient of the $5,000 undergraduate scholarship is Eilidh Lark. Eilidh is an undergraduate triple-major honors student of physics, mathematics and integrative studio practice at IUPUI (Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis) and the Herron School of Art and Design. Having overcome trauma and housing and food insecurity, Eilidh continues to work hard to provide a positive representation of nonbinary and queer people for Gender and Sexual Diversity (GSD) youth who are interested in STEM. Eilidh’s goal is to show that nonbinary and intersex people can excel in scientific fields and contribute positively to the community.

“As a child, I grew up without either nonbinary or intersex representation in scientific or public figures,” said Eilidh. “I have since seen an explosion of people coming out to the wider world. I hope my selection represents a continuation of that trend, and I serve as an example of what queer, nonbinary and intersex people truly can do. Though I sometimes feel alone, I know standing beside me are future generations of GSD youth and adults who cheer for my success and lift me up as I learn from my failures.”

Castillo photoThe winner of the $2,500 undergraduate scholarship is Luis Castillo. Luis is a senior at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, with a major in mathematics and minors in French and English as second language instruction. After graduation, Luis intends to work as a high school teacher in communities along the U.S.–Mexico border. He also plans to work toward implementing worker protection laws at the state level for LGBTQ+ educators.
“A famous quote by American scholar Gloria E. Anzaldúa is, ‘Caminante, no hay puentes, se hacen puentes al andar’. It translates to, ‘Voyager, there are no bridges, one builds them as one walks’,” said Luis.

Kellan Baker is the recipient of the $5,000 graduate scholarship. He is the Centennial Scholar in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and pursuing a doctorate in health policy and management. Previously he was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, working on health and data collection policy at the federal and state levels with a focus on nondiscrimination law, LGBTQ+ health disparities, Affordable Care Act implementation, and insurance reforms. Kellan is also a Health Policy Research Scholar with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, consulting on LGBTQ+ health equity issues with the Joint Commission, the Open Society Foundations, and the National Academy of Sciences, among others. He has a bachelor’s degree with high honors in astrophysics and Russian literature from Swarthmore College, and a Master of Public Health degree in global public health policy and a master’s degree in international development studies from George Washington University.

“The underrepresentation of LGBTQ+ people and topics in science and technical fields is a major problem, and I was very worried when I applied to doctoral programs that my background and interests would not find a fit in academia,” said Kellan. “Fortunately, I have been embraced by the community at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where many faculty and fellow students have supported my work on transgender health. The Out to Innovate award will enable me to further develop my research and share it with colleagues at conferences across the country. Thank you for believing in me as a face of the future of LGBTQ+ scientists in STEM.”

Victoria Chen is receiving the $2,500 graduate scholarship. She is a fourth-year dental student at the UCLA School of Dentistry. While pursuing herChen photo bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, she co-founded the Penn Queer & Asian Society and served on Lambda Alliance, Penn’s LGBTQ+ advocacy umbrella group, where she spearheaded an ally-effectiveness training for Greek organizations, pushed for queer-inclusive health services and coordinated an intercollegiate conference for LGBTQ+ student leaders to discuss advocacy efforts on campuses and in the greater Philadelphia area. At UCLA, Victoria joined the HIV Education Committee to host discussions unpacking the stigma of infection and improve student awareness around treating HIV-positive patients, organized the school’s first participation in the Los Angeles AIDS Walk and partnered with the Los Angeles AIDS Health Foundation to offer a shadowing program. Victoria co-founded the school’s LGBTQ+ organization for students to talk about their experiences and the importance of LGBTQ-centered care. She hopes to train as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to provide gender-affirming surgeries to transgender patients.

“In this day and age, graduate school costs keep skyrocketing, making higher education less affordable, accessible, and attainable,” said Victoria. “Receiving this scholarship not only reduces the stress of financing my education, but also reaffirms my determination to research, practice and teach culturally competent care to the next generation of dentists. Given the privilege of education and training in dentistry, we ought to provide the most comprehensive and compassionate care we can to our patients, regardless of their identity. For this reason, I am working toward creating stronger and healthier smiles for overlooked patient populations, and in particular, our HIV-positive and LGBTQ+ communities.”

The scholarships are for the 2019 fall academic year. As the embodiment of pride in LGBTQ+ and STEM communities, all scholarship applicants will receive a complimentary student membership in NOGLSTP. The scholarship winners will be honored at the next biennial Out to Innovate™ two-day summit for LGBTQ+ students, faculty and professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

This program marks its ninth year as a source of educational support. Contact scholarships@noglstp.org for more information on Out to Innovate Scholarships. For images of the scholarship recipients and for more information about NOGLSTP, contact Rochelle Diamond at chair@NOGLSTP.org.


NOGLSTP was established in 1980, incorporated in the state of California in 1991, and was granted IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in 1992. NOGLSTP is a professional society that educates and advocates for LGBTQ people in STEM. NOGLSTP presents educational symposia and workshops nationwide and fosters dialogue with other professional societies, academia and industry to facilitate diversity and inclusion in the workplace. NOGLSTP is an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is a participating professional society member of MentorNet®, a sustaining member of the National Postdoctoral Association, a partner with the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium and a founding member of the E-Week Diversity Council. For more information, visit the website at www.noglstp.org or contact scholarships@noglstp.org.

The Motorola Solutions Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola Solutions. With employees located around the globe, Motorola Solutions seeks to benefit the communities where it operates. The company achieves this by making strategic grants, forging strong community partnerships and fostering innovation. The Motorola Solutions Foundation focuses its funding on public safety, disaster relief, employee programs and education, especially science, technology, engineering and math programming. For more information on Motorola Solutions corporate and foundation giving, visit www.motorolasolutions.com/foundation.