2020-08-28: 2020AY Out to Innovate™ Scholarships awarded to Grigorian, Meashy, Abrams, Matsuda, Pham, and Barkakati


Scholarships Awarded for LGBTQ+ STEM Students™
National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals Announces Out to Innovate™ Scholarship Winners

Pasadena, CA, August 28, 2020 — Today, the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) is proud to announce the winners for the 2020 NOGLSTP Out To Innovate™ Scholarships, made possible by an Innovation Generation grant from the Motorola Solutions Foundation.

photo Arpi GrigorianThe winner of the 2020 Out to Innovate™ $8000 Undergraduate Scholarship is Arpiar Avetis Grigorian. Arpiar is a senior majoring in Physics and Math with minors in Creative Writing and Art Practices at the University of Colorado, Boulder campus. Arpiar’s objective is to be a cosmologist and astrophysicist and write science fiction. “One of my goals, as an aspiring scientist, is to help LGBTQ+ students reach their potential in STEM. Because of my own experience as an LGBTQ+ person, I am aware of the obstacles that LGBTQ+ students encounter on their STEM journeys. I want to translate my negative experiences into actions that will help remove these obstacles and allow LGBTQ+ people to contribute unique, creative solutions to scientific problems.”

photo Jay MeasheyThe winner of the 2020 Out to Innovate™ $3000 Undergraduate Scholarship is Jay Meashey. Jay is a non-traditional student who has come back to the academic setting after years of being in the workforce. Jay is a senior at Salisbury University with a major in Urban and Regional Planning with a career objective of becoming a city planner. “The Out to Innovate scholarship from NOGLSTP means so much to me. It is a recognition of commitment to learning and to service for our community – which I like to think of as our family! My technical education in urban planning is informed by my experience as an out gay man. My personal background equips me to be a more nuanced, sensitive, and aware planner, and to be an ally to other communities that have experienced historical exclusion or marginalization in the area of planning.”

photo Matthew AbramsThe winner of the 2020 Out to Innovate™ $8000 Graduate Scholarship is Matthew Abrams. Matthew is entering the 3rd year of medical school at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine. Matthew was previously a U.S. Fulbright Scholar among other honors. After medical school, Matthew hopes to specialize in psychiatry and pay forward the optimism and compassion others have shown with the ultimate goal to provide addiction treatment and rehabilitation services to underserved LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities (including undocumented and uninsured patients) and treat them with the empathy and quality of care that they deserve. “It means the world to me to be recognized for my service to marginalized communities and my efforts to promote inclusivity for everyone no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, or documentation status. Throughout my career I will continue to use science and evidence-based medicine to break down the language, cultural, socioeconomic, and structural barriers that LGBTQIQ communities, racial minorities, and immigrant patients face when accessing culturally-informed treatment plans. Thank you again NOGLSTP for your amazing financial support of my path to becoming a physician and medical educator. Especially given all the uncertainties surrounding Covid-19, this scholarship has lifted a huge burden off my shoulders and I am so grateful. As a NOGLSTP Scholarship recipient, I hope to inspire others to advocate for the LGBTQIQ community.”

photo Shayle MatsudaThe winner of the 2020 Out to Innovate™ $3000 Graduate Scholarship is Shayle Matsuda. Shayle is entering the final year of PhD program in Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii, Manoa working on the susceptibility of coral reef bleaching. Shayle already has an impressive 14 professional publications and presentations and was previously a Point Foundation scholar. “Being LGBTQ+ and a graduate student in marine biology has its challenges. While my commitment to enhancing diversity in STEM is an integral part of my academic identity, it is work that is primarily volunteer, and seldom recognized or valued as part of the career path in STEM. But with support from the Out to Innovate scholarship and the NOGLSTP community, I am better able to achieve my academic and social justice goals.”

photo Peter PhamPeter Pham – 2020 Out to Innovate Community College Transfer Scholarship for $1500. Peter Pham is transferring from Foothill College to the University of California, Berkeley this fall. His major is environmental engineering with a career objective of becoming a lawmaker. Peter is a first generation student and one of only a few community college students to be selected to be a 2020 Udall Scholar for work on renewable energy, conservation, and sustainable transportation in the Bay Area. “Neither of my Vietnamese immigrant parents went to college and came to this country with a third grade education. I never saw a clear future for me in higher education and constantly struggle with belonging. Being gay only adds to the imposter syndrome and feelings of not being good enough. Being a recipient of a NOGLSTP scholarship is an affirmation that I have achieved great things. But more importantly, a NOGLSTP scholarship connects me to a national community of queer scientists and STEM professionals that I can look to as role models, and I’m excited to contribute to scientific inquiry, discovery, and application for the common good.”

photo Leonie BarkakatiLeonie Barkakati – 2020 Out to Innovate Community College Transfer Scholarship for $1500. Leonie is transferring from Holyoke Community College to University of Florida with a major in Civil Engineering. Leonie plans to become a materials scientist to help create carbon neutral cement. Leonie has previously been named a National Science Foundation Scholar. “I feel so lucky to have stumbled upon NOGLSTP. This organization is such a great contradiction to the feeling of “I’m the only one” that I carry with me as a queer person in stem. I am honored to be recognized for my work in the stem and LGBT communities. My dream is to complete my master’s degree and develop climate change solutions as a transportation engineer. I am so grateful to NOGLSTP for getting me one step closer to that goal.”

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

Funded at $8,000 and $3000 each for graduate, undergraduate, and $1500 each for community college students transferring to a four year institution, the scholarships will be disbursed in Fall for the 2020-2021 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 invited to attend the Out to Innovate™ 2020 / oSTEM National Conference, a virtual two-day summit for LGBTQ+ students, faculty and professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics November 12-15, 2020.

The NOGLSTP scholarship program is marking its 10th year as a source of educational support. Contact scholarships at noglstp dot org for more information on Out to Innovate Scholarships. For information about NOGLSTP, contact Rochelle Diamond, chair at NOGLSTP dot 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 dialog 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, a participating professional society member of MentorNet®, a sustaining member of the National Postdoctoral Association, a member of the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute Presidential Advisory Project’s Coalition, a partner with the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium, a partner of the Society for Women Engineers, a sustaining partner of the National Postdoctoral Association, 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.