Student earns P-FLAG scholarship for achievements, educational goals

    Talking to her on the phone, she seemed just like any other sophomore on campus — patiently awaiting her one day off while I decided to steal a few hours of her time for an interview.

    Tyler Huff

    UCSD student Diana Chase, however, is anything but ordinary.

    Chase’s involvement as a mentor and volunteer at West Hills High School makes her stand out as an involved member of the community.

    Additionally, her position as secretary in the Gay Youth Alliance and her goals of teaching high school English to kids in order to promote “”more productive learning environments”” made her the top choice amongst many qualified candidates for the Mary Wagner Memorial Scholarship.

    Chase received a $1,000 scholarship May 27 in the First Unitarian Universalist Church from the San Diego chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

    The scholarship is in its third year and is annually given to a student who focuses on gay/lesbian/transgender/bisexual education.

    Mary Wagner was a kindergarten teacher who passed away in 1999, and in whose honor her partner and family decided to create a scholarship.

    “”The scholarship honors those who strive to educate. Diana’s involvement with education and her achievements made her our top candidate,”” P-FLAG chair Olivia Dorman said.

    The scholarship requires the candidate to fill out an application available in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Office, submit an essay, along with their S.A.T. scores, GPA, and two letters of recommendation.

    “”The process helps us learn more about the student and their involvement from their own words and experiences rather than by numbers and facts. Diana received this scholarship on her own merit, and as an excellent applicant, she was selected by our chapter,”” Dorman said.

    Chase’s essay caught the eye of the evaluation committee, mainly because of her topic and involvement.

    “”I wrote about one of the girls that I work with when I tutor. She had a lot of pressure about her sexuality, and she was getting questioned by her grandparents,”” Chase said. “”She started to pretend she was straight, and I found this completely wrong. I wanted to help, and this was one of the most memorable experiences.””

    Chase’s future goals include becoming a teacher, first by applying to the Credentials Program on campus at UCSD for 2003-2004. Currently enrolled in Teacher Education Program 136 and 139, Chase is taking the education classes and working with one of her high school teachers at West Hills whom she also received a letter of recommendation from.

    “”I want to make it easier for kids to accept who they are,”” Chase said.

    Her involvement with youth activities add valuable experiences to her life, she said.

    “”My main goal is to create a welcoming and accepting environment so that kids do not think it’s wrong to feel what they are feeling,”” Chase said. “”I have seen all the pain that people go through, and I think that if you have support, it makes everything much easier.””

    Her vision for support is one that she makes a reality every week as the secretary of the Gay Youth Alliance. The “”social support”” group meets once a week to “”create a safe space for LGBT and questioning youth.”” Chase is proud that the organization is “”a youth-run organization by and for the youth.””

    Many have asked her what she will do with the money; she said it will go toward “”regents’ fees.”” The money is given directly to the school and Chase is grateful for the additional money which will go to her education.

    Regarding UCSD awareness and the environment, Chase thinks that “”LGBTA is doing a great job of promoting awareness and building a safe place on campus. The ‘Out and Proud’ Week was great.””

    A new campus star, Diana Chase and her family are excited for her award, as well as very proud of her achievements and contributions to the community.

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