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Nicholas L. Calvin - Nashville, TN - Nashville State University - Two-Year Full-Time 2019 HIV League Scholar ($7,000)

Nicholas L. Calvin is a native of Nashville, TN. Growing up in Nashville, Nicholas served on the Mayor’s Youth Council and was a member of several organizations including, but not limited to, East Nashville Magnet School’s Allies, SGA, FCA, and the National Honor Society. 

After graduating from East Nashville Magnet, Nicholas attended Howard University in Washington D.C. where he completed his freshman and sophomore years. While attending Howard, Nicholas worked in the U.S. House of Representatives for United States Congressman Jim Cooper, served as a co-chair for Howard University’s Women’s Week, and became a member of Howard University’s Society of Collegiate Black Men.

Once he returned to Nashville, Nicholas began working at Nashville CARES, an HIV/AIDS non-profit organization with a mission to end the spread of HIV/AIDS in Middle Tennessee. For over 3 years, Nicholas has impacted the lives of many by offering HIV testing, serving as a peer navigator, and granting them access to healthcare and personal care services. In 2018 Nicholas hosted the first Mahogany Honors Empowerment Gala to honor those of color in the Middle Tennessee area who serve on the front lines in the fights against HIV/AIDS and positive LGBTQ+ progressions. The event is now in its second year and had over 100 guests to attend 2019’s gala with more than $1,500 in proceeds to benefit those in the community.

Nicholas hopes to run for public office to initiate further change. His favorite quote is, “It’s when things seem worse, that you just don’t quit.” from the poem, “Don’t Quit”.

 
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Troizel D. L. Carr - Newark, NJ - New York University - The 2019 Eagle NYC HIV League Scholar (Two-Year Full-Time; $7,000)

An artist, advocate, and academic, Troizel is black + alive and that means more than these words can say. They are pursuing their PhD at New York University in Performance Studies, where they also earned their MA. Currently, their research wants to consider figurations of black children in post-emancipation aesthetics and the capacities of those figurations to articulate the possibility of black freedom. They also hold a Teaching Fellowship at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City, where they lead weekly New Perspective tours.

Troizel enjoys facilitation and curriculum development and created a retreat for black queer and trans students at NYU to create community and consider strategies for finding liberation in the every day. Above all else, they are committed to fully living whatever life they choose for themselves.

 
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John Arthur Jackson, III “JJ” - Jacksonville, FL - The Chicago School of Professional Psychology - Two-Year Full-Time 2019 HIV League Scholar ($7,000)

JJ is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. JJ’s current research interests are centered on counseling queer youth of color, communities most impacted by HIV/AIDS through a mental health context, and social determinants of health that influence the sexual behaviors of QPOCs. JJ also has interests in vicarious trauma, pathological altruism and how that affects help-seeking behaviors for queer persons of color. JJ currently works as an HIV/AIDS Care Coordinator at a non-profit LGBTQ safe space. JJ was the sole recipient at his school of the National Board for Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship which requires him to directly impact transition-aged youth and he used the funding to create operational policies, competencies, and documents to enhance overall engagement and care to LGTBQQIA youth of color.

JJ is seeking to reintroduce the concept of Transparency as a healing mechanism for divergent and minoritized identities that did not have space for their voices to be heard, specifically, Black and Latino MSM.

JJ is extremely humbled and honored to be an HIV League Scholar with one of his long-term goals is to be a licensed clinical psychotherapist working directly with sexually and gender divergent minorities. Aside from “attempting” to be Superman by day and Clark Kent by night, JJ loves playing tennis, smiling, watching scary movies, reading, and being a father to a rambunctious Chihuahua mix named Zoe. On a more freeing note, this is the first time JJ is coming out about their status since finding out their diagnosis.

 
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Anthony R. Lucas - Oakland, CA - Wright Institute - Two-Year Full-Time 2019 HIV League Scholar ($7,000)

Anthony holds an M.A. in Psychology from the Wright Institute and a B.A. in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently a third-year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the Wright Institute in Berkeley. His doctoral research focuses on romantic relationship dissolution and the impact of heartbreak on the self-concept of LGBT identified people. He is also currently training as a psychotherapist with LGBT and HIV-affected clients at UCSF Alliance Health Project. He is an ambassador for the American Psychological Association and a member of the International Association for Relationship Research.

In 2018, Anthony was a panelist at the 10th Annual UCSF LGBTQIA+ Health Forum where he presented on brief evidence-based psychological interventions along with his experiences working with HIV+ men of color as both a clinician and person living with HIV.

Before graduate school, Anthony worked with newly HIV/AIDS diagnosed youth at the East Bay AIDS Center as a youth advocate and linkage/outreach coordinator to the C.R.U.S.H Project, in which he expanded access to PrEP and HIV/AIDS primary care to people of color in San Francisco and the East Bay. In recognition of this work, Anthony received the CEO Circle Award from Sutter Health and the Pedro Zamora Award from La Clinica de la Raza.

Anthony is Puerto Rican, a long distance runner and likes listening to bachata, reggaetón, rap, and ‘90s hip-hop. He is a cat dad to an orange tabby, loves crime documentaries, and can recite Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 from memory.

 
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Medical Student - Chicago, IL - Two-Year Full-Time 2019 HIV League Scholar ($7,000)

Because of the nature of the HIV League Scholarship, recipients have the option to not make their name public. This HIV League Scholar requested to keep their name private, and we are respecting their wishes.

 
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Tankut Atuk - Minneapolis, MN - University of Minnesota, Twin Cities - One-Year Full-Time 2019 HIV League Scholar ($3,500)

Tankut is a second-year PhD student in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He holds two master’s degrees in Gender Studies and Sociology/Cultural Studies. His current project looks at the socio-political dimensions of the world’s fastest growing HIV epidemic in Turkey. He specifically asks, “What does the refusal to recognize and prevent the national HIV epidemic reveal about the Turkish State's institutional approach towards sex, sexuality, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?” He seeks to understand and redress the ways in which the Turkish State violates access to health(care) and fails in responding to the HIV epidemic.

Although he is passionate about teaching and researching, he is also aware that radical transformation is not possible without activism and community involvement. He tries to be an active part of the grassroots HIV organizations not only in Turkey but also in the US. Being a member of differently marginalized groups, he is especially invested in producing academic work that is not divorced from the lived realities and aims at challenging structural inequalities and injustices.

Outside of academy, Tankut is a proud dog and plant daddy. The only thing he is not humble about is his cooking skills. He is vegan as he is convinced that environmental justice, animal rights, and human rights are inextricable. Besides cooking, he finds his happiness in movies and books, particularly dystopias and feminist/queer sci-fi. He desperately wishes he could sing, yet he is good at lip-syncing.

Tankut is especially excited about being an HIV League Scholar because it means becoming part of a new and growing family to him.

 
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Nicole Begay - Mesa, AZ - University of Arizona - One-Year Full-Time 2019 HIV League Scholar ($3,500)

Nicole Begay is a 20-year-old third year student at the University of Arizona. She is studying Retail and Consumer Sciences to work with her Fashion minor. Her plans for the next 5 years include starting up a small business selling fashionable trends and eventually RED products to continue supporting the HIV community. Nicole loves everything crafty and creative, can never give up on a hobby until it is perfect, and when she puts her mind to something there is nothing that will stop her.

She is proud of the volunteer work she has put into the HIV community. Last year she had the honor of being a Co-chair of the Phoenix Aids Walk in Arizona. She has been a speaker numerous times at events around Arizona along with many other communities. Her favorite places to volunteer are the middle schools where she shares her story and status with young kids.

Nicole takes pride in herself and her work as an advocate in the community of HIV/AIDS and abuse. She has a passion and burden for young adults who suffer with these issues. She plans to continue her volunteering at police stations, on reservations, and at the University of Arizona. She is blessed to be working with The HIV League to help continue her journey through school to become the person she wants to be someday.

 
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Rod McCoy Jr. - Silver Spring, MD - Widener University - One-Year Part-Time 2019 HIV League Scholar ($1,500)

Rodney “Rod” McCoy, Jr. has been in public health for over thirty years. In this work, Rod brings his expertise in HIV, STI and Hepatitis prevention and education, as well as his real-life experience as a Black gay man living with HIV. An Oberlin graduate with his Bachelor’s in Sociology and Black Studies, Rod has worked in a variety of capacities for a number of organizations. In his time as an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University, Rod established the “HIV, Culture and Sexuality” course for the school’s Global and Community Health Department (where he still presents as a guest lecturer). 

Rod will pursue his Master’s of Education degree from Widener University in the Fall 2019, with a concentration in Human Sexuality Studies. About his studies, Rod offers the following: “I am an openly Black, openly gay, openly kinky, openly HIV-positive man in my fifties. Yet, as positively as I feel about my sexuality, I have encountered people who feel that I should somehow feel ashamed about my sexuality and/or my HIV status. I have also encountered others who have had similar struggles in embracing their own sexuality and maintaining their sexual health. I want to further explore the idea of sex positivity as a social determinant of health, not just in HIV/STI Prevention, but in all aspects of health. This has been the reason for me to continue learning and speaking about the intersectionality of sexuality, race, gender and gender identity and health.”

 
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Ciara Owens - Las Vegas, NV - Grand Canyon University - One-Year Part-Time 2019 HIV League Scholar ($1,500)

Ciara Owens is working on her doctoral degree of Education in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in K-12 Education from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. Her dissertation focuses on the secondary teacher experience of the use and implementation of distributive leadership by principals.

Ciara is an energetic, data-driven, passionate educator highly committed to the empowerment of students in diverse and inclusive communities to become leaders and advocates of their own education through high expectations and sustained support. Ciara’s contribution to the Las Vegas community was formally recognized when she won the 2018 Heart of Education Award. Ciara currently serves in the Clark County School District as a project facilitator in the English Language Learners Division.

Ciara is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Ciara is honored to be an HIV League Scholar and looks forward to advocate for reducing stigma in the African American community.

Ciara’s vision for her life is based on Maya Angelou’s quote, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style”.

 
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Alex Aldana - Los Angeles, CA - Los Angeles City College - Two-Year Full-Time 2018 HIV League Scholar ($7,000)

Alex Aldana, is a 31-year-old undocumented queer activist, movement organizer from Guadalajara, Mexico raised in the fields of the Coachella Valley, CA. Alex fights against the criminalization and human rights violations of trans/queer immigrant communities in the United States. Aldana works with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with more than 12 years of experience in the HIV-prevention field under the Healthy Young Men’s Study, a 5 year study that seeks to improve the health and wellness of black, latinx and mixed YMSM regardless of the HIV status.

Mx. Aldana’s commitment to the community has been reflected through the years with protests and actions, from joining a national walk with Campaign for an American DREAM & the OFA Office’s occupations in Denver, which pushed president Obama for the DACA Executive Order to stop the deportations of young immigrants in 2012. Most recently, Aldana joined the “Bring them Home” campaign in 2014 with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, which fought to reunite 150 immigrant families organizing inside CCA Detention facility at the times of the border humanitarian crisis. As an openly HIV-Positive asylum seeker under deportation proceedings, Alex is fighting the current administration to stay alive with family and loved ones in this country.

Alex is enthralled to be part of the HIV League Scholars since one of his short-term dreams is to provide more funding opportunities for asylum seekers & previously incarcerated immigrants that seek a better education and quality of life.

Aside from resisting the system, Mx. Aldana loves plants, Tequila Mules, Sci-fi books, J-Balvin, and his husband. He is also one of the three subjects for the films Gay Latino LA, Coming of Age, and American Dreamers.

 
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Tranisha Arzah - Seattle, WA - Seattle Central College - Two-Year Full-Time 2018 HIV League Scholar ($7,000)

Tranisha Arzah is a first-year and full-time student starting in the fall quarter. She will be attending Seattle Central College to study within the Community Health and Education track and to receive an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree with an emphasis in Equity and Social Justice. Her aim is to continue advocating in support of women and youth to help drive change in institutional systems that do more harm than good. Her long-term goal is to provide education and implement policies that support comprehensive sexual health models for students and adults especially among marginalized communities, such as the queer and trans youth of color in the South.

The past five years, Tranisha has diligently and fiercely worked as a Peer Advocate for a peer-led supportive program based in Seattle called BABES-Network within the YWCA. BABES-Network provides supportive services for women living with HIV including trans women, a few lucky men, and their families in the state of Washington. They serve over 200 women each year. She has been a member of the BABES family since 2010. Having lived with HIV since birth in 1990, Tranisha has been a huge benefit to educating and advocating on behalf of vulnerable and marginalized communities through the BABES-Network such as youth, the queer community, and women of color in Seattle and surrounding areas.

Being an HIV League Scholar will help Tranisha with her in achieving her new educational goals.

 
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Michael B. Clark - New York, NY - New York University - Two-Year Full-Time 2018 HIV League Scholar ($7,000)

Michael B. Clark is pursuing his Masters of Public Health at New York University, with a focus on Social and Behavioral Health. His primary interest is how stigma impacts the health and HIV-vulnerability of marginalized populations, with much of his research being with sexual minority refugees and migrants in East Africa. 

While in Kenya as a Fulbright US Student Researcher, Michael helped LGBT refugees create the Refugee Coalition of East Africa, an organization who advocates for research and representation in the larger human rights mechanisms in Kenya and Uganda. Many of the people he works with experience stigma through multiple intersecting identities: as a sexual minority, a refugee, being gender non-conforming, living in poverty, as a sex worker, and often as living with HIV. Michael’s research and advocacy seeks to find the power though those intersections. 

A recent graduate from City University of New York's Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies with a BS in Public Health and Human Rights, Michael's research began in 2016 while conducting research on similar populations in Uganda through grants from the Fund for Education Abroad and the US Department of State-funded Benjamin Gilman Scholarship. Since then, he has continued research and advocacy for sexual and gender minorities in East Africa and in the United States. Michael's interest in displacement comes from the traumatic resettlement his family experienced as a member of the Pit River Tribe of Northern California. 

Prior to academia, Michael served as a combat medic in the US Army and was a personal trainer and competitive bodybuilder. Although currently living in New York City with his sometimes partner Christos and their two dogs, Bacon and Eggs, he considers the Pacific Northwest his home. Online, he tweets @HealthLGBTQ.

Michael is honored to be an HIV League Scholar, and looks forward to continue his work to reduce stigma and improve health.

 
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Drew Hockman - Minneapolis, MN - University of California, Berkley - Two-Year Full-Time 2018 HIV League Scholar ($7,000)

Drew Hockman is a first-year Master of Social Welfare student at the University of California, Berkeley. Drew’s research interests focus on the intersections of social welfare with public health, where social determinants of health push care systems to look beyond medical interventions and address the norms and values that make people vulnerable to HIV in the first place. Drew hopes to use social justice frameworks to examine ways that culturally responsive services can improve HIV care and support the whole person, not just their HIV.

Drew holds a bachelor degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from the University of Minnesota, focusing on anthropology, philosophy, and art. Prior to starting his graduate studies, Drew worked as a case manager with the Minnesota AIDS Project. He has worked one-on-one with individuals living with HIV, supported HIV testing outreach teams, conducted research with the organization’s syringe exchange, and served as co-chair of the Minnesota Council for HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention Disparities Elimination Committee. He has clocked over 700 miles finishing the Chicago AIDS Marathon and Minnesota’s Red Ribbon Ride, raising nearly $10,000 for HIV services.

Drew is overjoyed and humbled by the opportunities the HIV League Scholarship makes possible, to study and practice in an area with deep ties to grassroots HIV advocacy. Drew believes storytelling is fatal to stigma and is honored to continue the work of previous generations who set the groundwork for a status-neutral generation. Beyond his academic pursuits, Drew spends his time woodworking, building bikes, developing the perfect smoothie recipe, and summiting mountains.

 
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Nicole Begay - Mesa, AZ - Mesa Community College - Two-Year Full-Time 2017 HIV League Scholar ($7,000)

My name is Nicole Begay, I’m eighteen years old, and I live in Mesa Arizona. I am so honored to receive this scholarship since I have always had a dream of going off to college to study the arts. My wish and utter most desire is to major in Fashion Design and continue helping people. I love designing modest clothing for women that is trendy and cute. I have gone to school for fashion design already and have competed in competitions where I won Gold in state and Silver at nationals. I am starting my own business helping people by upcycling (creative reusing) and fixing clothes. I recently put on a fashion show where I designed a collection based off of Main Street Disney and won Third place.

I am so proud to be doing what I do and pursuing my dream of becoming a designer. It has been a struggle throughout these past four years of high school, but I have learned how to stick with what I love no matter what people say and to be determined, motivated, and persevere through anything. I believe that anyone can do anything as long as they put their best efforts forward and never give up. No one can stop me from pursuing my dream except for myself.

 
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Kristefer Stojanovski - Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Two-Year Full-Time 2017 HIV League Scholar ($7,000)

Kristefer Stojanovski is a second-year doctoral student in health behavior and health education at the University of Michigan. Kristefer has extensive experience conducting academic and applied research in public health, mental health, and criminal and social justice. His current research focuses on structural causes to mental and sexual health among sexual, gender, and ethnic minorities, in the US and internationally. Kristefer’s long-term goals are to change societal and research narratives and discourses about HIV and sexual health. For example, while research indicates that young, men who have sex with men of color are at “higher risk of HIV;” Kristefer aims to reframe such understandings to correctly identify why the “higher risk exists.” He believes that programs, interventions, and policies do not adequately meet the needs of persons of color subsequently creating their “higher risk of HIV.”

Prior to his doctoral studies, Kristefer worked as a consultant with county and state governments in the United States, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and other non-governmental organizations in the Balkans. He was also a former Fulbright grantee to Macedonia. He has a dual master of public health in epidemiology and health management and policy.

Mr. Stojanovski is ecstatic to be continuing his education as an HIV League Scholar. He hopes to leverage the scholarship in order to address issues of stigma and advocate on behalf of persons living with HIV. Outside of his educational and research pursuits, Kristefer enjoys Crossfit, traveling, reading, and coloring in his adult coloring book!