Each year, Greater Boston PFLAG awards one scholarship to a high school senior who has demonstrated leadership in improving their community’s climate for LGBTQ+ youth.
Thanks to the parents of Thomas V. Earle in honor of their son’s courage and leadership in promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion, we were excited to be able to award a second scholarship in 2021 and again in 2022 to a deserving LGBTQ+ graduating high school student to help them realize their dreams and achieve their potential by pursuing challenging and fulfilling higher education.
Thank you to all of our 2022 GBPFLAG Scholarship Applicants!
We’re thrilled to introduce our 2022 GBPFLAG Scholarship Recipients:
Sai Gudempati (he/him) and Zoe Lemos (she/her)!
Learn more about the amazing work they did in ‘making it better now’ in their communities for LGBTQ+ youth!
Sai Gudempati (he/him)
A member of Hopkinton High School’s Class of 2022, Sai Gudempati (he/him) is on a mission to make the world a more inclusive place. He’s especially passionate about making BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) spaces safe for LGBTQ+ people and ensuring everyone’s identity is celebrated.
Sai serves as the co-chair of his school’s Diversity Club, a group that grew from ten members to more than fifty under his leadership. In that role, he also helped establish a Diversity Club at the local middle school. As the Student Voices Committee leader of his high school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion team, Sai created a bias incident form for LGBTQ+ students and students of color to report harassment. And he also helped organize Hopkinton’s first Pride parade.
During the pandemic, Sai connected online with the Spokane Tribal Education Department in Washington state and established a virtual tutoring program, pairing students in Massachusetts with their peers on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Through this partnership, a Two Spirit Youth Group for LGBTQ+ young people was also formed.
In the fall, Sai is attending Dartmouth College to study education and Native American Studies. After completing his education, he hopes to continue advancing social justice and fostering a culture of LGBTQ+ acceptance.
Zoe Lemos (she/her)
Raised in Western Massachusetts, Zoe Lemos (she/her) discovered the power of music at a very young age. And she’s been turning her musical talents into a vehicle for advocacy and social change ever since.
Zoe started writing original songs, playing in bands, and performing in public to raise money for justice when she was only eleven years old. Since then, she’s performed at many events including the March for Our Lives, the Women’s March Northampton, and a fundraiser for the LGBT Asylum Task Force, which she helped organize with the Institute for Musical Arts in 2019.
When she’s not using her artistic gifts to effect change, Zoe is making a difference in other ways. She volunteered at Standing Rock during three critical weeks in November of 2016 when protests against the Dakota Access pipeline were at their peak. She also interned at the International Indigenous Youth Council, helping with their March for Unity in DC in 2017. And she marched 50 miles for gun control in 2018.
Zoe graduated from Pioneer Valley Performing Arts School in 2021 and self-identifies as a biracial queer woman. She will be attending The New School in New York City this fall and intends to study contemporary music with a focus on protest music and social change. As a singer-songwriter, Zoe believes “it’s my job to tell the stories of the world around us.”
For many years, Greater Boston PFLAG has continued its mission through its yearly scholarship award program, making higher education more accessible and better enabling those who have committed their time and energy to making a difference in their local community to succeed in their goals.
Since 2021, in partnership with the parents of Thomas V. Earle in honor of their son’s courage and leadership in promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion, Greater Boston PFLAG has expanded its scholarship program to award a second scholarship. We are excited to partner with them to extend this opportunity to help another deserving high school student realize their dreams and achieve their potential by pursuing challenging and fulfilling higher education.
Applicants must be planning to enroll in a 2 or 4 year college or technical/vocational school in the next academic year, and are awarded for years of consecutive enrollment. All students are welcome and encouraged to apply, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Applications open in the fall and winners are announced in the early spring. If you are interested in applying for our 2023 Scholarship Award, please sign up for our newsletter to be notified when the 2023 Scholarship Application Form will be available. You can access our 2022 Scholarship Application if you would like a preview of what the form will likely look similar to and to learn more about the application and review process.
Meet some of our previous scholarship recipients below:
Nicole Jo (she/her)
Raised in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, Nicole Jo is a high school senior at Phillips Academy and a first-generation American. With a passion for arts, music, and theater, Nicole found her voice on the stage. By incorporating messages of advocacy and allyship into her performances, she hopes to inspire others to find their voice and speak out for justice and social change.
In addition to her creative talents, Nicole is a leader in her school’s GSA club and an active member of DECA, a business competition club for student entrepreneurs and innovators. After observing the small number of women and people of color involved with DECA, Nicole organized to create a cultural advisory board for the state chapter. Through this effort, she advocated for increased visibility, representation, and inclusivity of LGBTQ+ people. One concrete outcome of this work is the increased sharing of pronouns as part of people’s identities at DECA events.
Sawyer Keegan (they/them)
High school senior Sawyer Keegan has already done more advocacy in their 17 years than many people do in a lifetime. As a student at The Victor School, they’ve been a leader in the GSA and also served on the statewide GSA council.
Outside of school, Sawyer has been active with legislative campaigns, ballot questions, and public education initiatives. They testified in support of the Healthy Youth Act and the Gender X bill. They spent countless hours on the “Yes on 3” campaign to defend transgender nondiscrimination protections. And through their role on the board of GLSEN Massachusetts, Sawyer worked with a team creating comprehensive sex ed that is LGBTQ+ inclusive. For Sawyer, activism has not only changed public policies, it’s changed their life. After joining their school’s GSA, Sawyer found a community and had a feeling of belonging for the first time. And the “Yes on 3” campaign made them realize they have the power to make change.
Meet our 2020 Scholarship recipient Banti Jaswal!
Our 2020 GBPFLAG Scholarship recipient was Banti Jaswal (they/them)! We are honored to share the incredible work Banti Jaswal has undertaken as an advocate for the intersex community. Watch to learn more about them and their incredible impact!