Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity recognizes annual scholarship recipients

April 24, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK Pa. — The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity has announced the scholarship award winners for the 2019-20 academic year.

“Each year, I am filled with pride and enthusiasm as I have the opportunity to see the scholarship recipients selected through our review process," said Brian Patchcoski, director of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity. "Every applicant and recipient for the 2019-20 awards cycle should take pride in their accomplishments and community impact. Through the generosity of our donors, we have the honor and privilege of furthering sexual and gender diversity work both at Penn State and after and this year’s recipients absolutely honor that mission in academic and cocurricular pursuits.”    

Barry H. Marshal Scholarship

Recipient: Celeste Good (Major: Kinesiology, Class of 2021)

Celeste Good is the president of the student group QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color). She has been an active member of QTPOC for nearly three years. As a student leader, she has been given a platform where she is able to speak and use that platform to educate and inform people through QTPOC meetings, events, and other associated advocacy activities.

Good works tirelessly to promote all the organizations' events to the Penn State community in hopes that people will come to learn more about the LGBTQ community and experience at Penn State. She makes it her personal mission to make sure everyone feels like the QTPOC organization is a home or a safer place for them to go to when they need help and/or connection.

She is also a member of the LGBTQ Roundtable organization (newly renamed the Penn State Roundtable for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (P.R.I.D.E.) and in her free time she supports local drag queens at drag shows and works to educate other people about being an LGBTQ+ person of color.

Bruce Miller and Dean LaVigne Trustee Scholarship

Recipient: Jameke Lamar Spencer (Major: Criminology, Minor: Sociology, Class of 2021)

Jameke Spencer is an active ally to the LGBTQ+ community at Penn State and the greater State College community. Spencer has been a member of the Caribbean Student Association at Penn State Altoona, embracing his Jamaican roots, sharing and bonding with fellow members. In addition to his time there, he was the secretary and choreographer for the Black Student Union. He showcased his first college choreography for the ABIC (African Student Association, Black Student Union, International Student Association, and Caribbean Student Association). Spencer also is a member of Urban Dance Troupe at University Park, the first official hip hop dance team at Penn State.

Recipient: Madison Nichole Lippert (Major: Biology, Class of 2022)

Madison is an officer in the Penn State Altoona Pride Alliance. Specifically, she is the Social Media Director. Her responsibilities are to provide information for the student body of LGBTQ+ events on the Penn State Altoona campus. Madison is committed to continuing the work she does on campus as well as the Altoona community. In addition to her work in the club, she has been involved as a volunteer with the American Legion.

Henderson and Marshall Military Scholarship

Recipient: Stephanie McBride (U.S. Navy Veteran, USS Decatur, Major: Health Policy Administration, Class of 2021)

Stephanie McBride is a World Campus student who has advocated for the LGBTQ+ community throughout her life. She was Gunners Mate onboard USS Decatur (DDG73) out of San Diego, California. She specialized in small arms, crew-served weapons and the MK 45-gun system. Her job on board was to have weapons mission-ready and teach the crew proper weapons handling. She’s been deployed three times. Within those deployments, she found herself in Bahrain, the Philippines, Hawaii, Kwajalein, Canada, and Panama.

While serving, McBride witnessed several of her friends being discharged for coming out to their chain of command. To advocate for change, she offered various trainings and educational sessions, where she fearlessly discussed the history of the LGBTQ community, and why they continue to face prejudice specifically in the armed services. From the time McBride joined active service in 2012 and the time she left in 2016, she was able to see the shift in four years and the number of people who were accepting of the larger LGBTQ+ community.

LGBTA Alumni Interest Group Award

Recipient: Lindsay Palmer (Doctoral candidate: Psychology and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, Class of 2023)

As a member of the LGBTQ community, advocacy for queer people has been an enduring feature of Lindsay Palmer’s work. She came to Penn State to earn her doctorates and work with Jessica Matsick—an expert on LGBTQ issues. Under the guidance of Matsick, Palmer has been investigating factors the contribute to social disparities and interventions to improve the lives of LGBTQ people. This past semester, she has started three projects related to bisexual prejudice.

In addition to this work, Palmer has been working with BRIDGE (The Psychology Department’s Diversity Alliance) to prepare a proposal to present to the Committee of Diversity, Inclusion, and Transformation (CODIT) at Penn State. As a pansexual woman on the ace spectrum, her involvement in the LGBTQ community and the passion for the betterment of her community is an enduring passion.

Masel-McClin LGBTQA Scholarship

Recipient: Maria Jose Alvarez-Rodriguez (Major: Aerospace Engineering, Class of 2023)

Originally from Colombia, Maria Alvarez-Rodriguez is a member of oSTEM (Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and her involvement in this group has allowed her to connect with individuals across the gender identity spectrum and work to seek acceptance for them across campus, specifically in the STEM fields. In the College of Engineering she has been an active member of the multicultural engineering program (MEP) that does not only advocate for the students with a diverse cultural background, but also with diverse gender and sexual identities. Alvarez-Rodriguez also is active in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

Richard Lamar Schlegel Scholarship

Recipient: Ptah-Raet Craig (Major: Marketing and International Business, Class of 2022)

A Penn State Abington student, Ptah-Raet Craig is a member of the Spectrum Club, which promotes acceptance, diversity and pride through a platform in which everyone in the community can be heard. The club hosts events like movie nights, National Coming Out Day celebrations, field trips and drag shows. Craig works to educate those around him in ways that are fun and engaging, celebrating and supporting his peers.

Steve Artz and Tom Strickler Arts and Architecture Scholarship

Recipient: Elijah Paul King (Major: Secondary Education and Theatre Studies, Class of 2022)

As a Stand for State Peer Educator at Penn State, Elijah Paul King said, part of his responsibility is spreading awareness on current issues that occur on campus; one of these being bias and discrimination towards individuals that have separate backgrounds as their peers, including sexual orientation. KIng is committed to utilizing this opportunity to help create safer environments for the LGBTQ+ community by educating students about how they can get involved in supporting sexual and gender diverse communities.

Tom Strickler and Steve Artz Engineering Scholarship

Recipient: Zachary Ryan Neff (Major: Civil Engineering, Class of 2021)

Zachary Ryan Neff has focused his efforts to create more of an impact in favor of the LGBTQ+ community at Penn State. Neff is the founder of a new fraternity chapter of Pi Lambda Phi, whose goals are standing for equality and fighting for the end of prejudice. The civil engineering major has been encouraging men in the LGBTQ+ community to join without fear of discrimination. Neff said he hopes to help usher in a new era of fraternity life here at Penn State and believes one of the best ways is to create spaces dedicated to belonging. He said he believes that those types of spaces must foster support that is mindful of racial identity, ethnicity, culture, religion and sexuality.

Further information on the scholarships and awards, along with their requirements, can be found on the center’s website.

Last Updated April 15, 2021