Grade: Senior, Hometown: Palos Verdes, CA
Major: Biology, Minor: Chemistry
Three Words: Open, Mindful, Gay
USF became my number one choice in applying to schools after reading its mission and values statement and exploring the programs offered here. I was so excited about the emphasis on educating the "whole person." College was my first chance to decide on the values I am surrounded by. I felt that USF would help me develop more than just my career.
I have been co-president of Queer Alliance for a little over a year. Queer Alliance is a club that aims to foster a LGBTQ community on campus. Our weekly meetings are open to any topic of discussion that a member brings up ranging from personal experiences with our identity to relevant political events.
Benefits of Involvement:
My experience as a leader has given me confidence in my ideas about changes that I want to see. My involvement also opened up a community for me on campus and strengthened my relationships with students, faculty, and staff members. I feel like I have a diverse support system which has been so important to me especially as I become more and more comfortable with my own identity. I never would have been able to come out as lesbian or as trans without my friends from Queer Alliance. Coming out has made me feel so much more comfortable with myself and with others. I have received a care and encouragement from so many people across campus and I know that I will always carry this with me.
Of course leadership requires organizational and creative skills. However, it also requires that one actively listens and responds to the people they are serving. We are all learning that the inequalities and injustices we see are more complicated than one person can understand. Power for change is in our collective knowledge and action.
Advice to First Year Students:
Getting involved on campus is important for your sense of belonging at USF. As many people do, I felt lonely my first semester here until I starting going to club meetings. I know the message sounds cheesy but it is so important to find a group of people who you can relate to. Even if you don't make instant connections with people, keep trying!
Favorite Place in City: The Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park
Random Fact: I got to swim with sharks (I was in one of those cages) when I was in elementary school.