LGBTQ Student Scholarship

To Donate Visit: LGBTQ Student Scholarship Campaign

GALA ND/SMC is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020/2021 LGBTQ Student Scholarships.  This year’s recipients are Sam Ayala ND ’20 and Ivol Fraiser SMC ’21.  Congratulations to both winners!

November, 2019 – GALA ND/SMC announces the naming of its LGBTQ Student Scholarship to The Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas LGBTQ Student Scholarship.  The naming of the scholarship reflects the enormous contribution Phil and Marlo have made over the years to the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s LGBTQ community, and is a way of continuing their legacy well into the future.  In addition, it also recognizes the life-long commitment each of them has made to helping others through their various professional and personal contributions. For more information, go to:  Scholarship Announcement.

Purpose and Background

In the spring of 2015, the Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College created The GALA ND/SMC LGBT Student Scholarship to assist qualified LGBTQ undergraduate students of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College.  Through September – 2020, twelve scholarships have been awarded.  The long term goal is to award a minimum of four scholarships each year.

The students this scholarship helps are the new generation of Notre Dame and St Mary’s grads. Even with the changing times, LGBTQ students still face significant challenges that their straight peers may not.  The purpose of this scholarship is to provide financial assistance and support to full-time undergraduate students who identify with the LGBTQ community. This scholarship will assist the recipients with reducing the financial costs incurred (~$75,000 for ’19/’20) while pursuing their education as well as allowing them to make a positive impact at Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, and/or the South Bend community.

2020/2021 Recipients Sam Ayala ND ’20 and Ivol Fraiser SMC ’21


Sam Ayala earned a dual degree from both ND & SMC.  He finished up his academic studies at ND graduating in Dec ’20 after starting his education at Saint Mary’s.  He studied Physics and Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Math.  During his time at SMC & ND he was a PrismND & SAGA officer.  He is a hockey player and was the PrismND alumni outreach officer.  


Avol Fraiser is a Psychology and Gender & Women’s Studies major at Saint Mary’s with a minor in Neuroscience.  Ivol was a Resident Assistant at SMC and very active in various psychology department projects.  She was selected to present her research Institutional Religious Affiliation and College Experience For LGBTQ Students.  She is also a member of the women’s choir.  


2019/2020 Recipients César Moreno ND ’20 and Genesis Vasquez SMC ’20

César Moreno is a senior at Notre Dame majoring in Chemical Engineering, Neuroscience and Behavior, Pre-Med with a minor in Biomolecular Engineering.  They are a member of the Balfour-Hesburgh Scholars Program and is the President & co-founder of the Balfour-Hesburgh Scholars Program Student Board providing support & outreach for students including retreats for LGBTQ+ students.  César was named after civil and workers’ rights leader César Chavez.  Given their namesake’s work as an activist, they have always felt called to be a part of something greater than themselves.  Amongst their many activities, they were co-founder of We StaND For, standing up and fighting for the marginalized communities of ND, SMC, & Holy Cross, and included the “Pride Flag Drop” during the 2017 commencement weekend.  They are currently serving as a translator for National Immigrant Justice Center.

Genesis Vasquez is a senior at Saint Mary’s College majoring in Global Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies and Spanish.  She will be the first person in her family to graduate from college.  Genesis’ activism started at an early age in her home town of Chicago, and has become a part of her fabric.  She has been RA at SMC encouraging programming to promote diversity.  She is also on a number of boards in clubs like Feminist United, College Democrats, Spanish Club, and in the past, La Fuerza and First-Gen Family.  Genesis completed an internship with TREES, Inc. where she researched transgender policies of Catholic schools throughout the United States and held an event on SMC’s campus about being trans-inclusive.  In 2018, Genesis reactivated SAGA, Saint Mary’s Straight and Gay Alliance, and currently serves as the group’s President.

2018/2019 Recipients Anne Jarrett ND ’20 and Tim Jacklich ND ’20

Anne Jarrett is a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame, majoring in philosophy and gender studies. She is the community service chair for PrismND, and spent the past summer interning with TREES, Inc., a South Bend foundation focused on bringing educational resources about transgender people to rural areas. “Anne’s plan to research French LGBTQ movements provides a fascinating opportunity for us to support,” said board member and scholarship committee member Gustavo Hinojosa. “I am excited to see how her findings inform the work for LGBTQ progress here in the United States.” During her studies next year, Anne will be maintaining a blog for those interested in following her studies and her experiences.

Tim Jacklich is also a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame, where he majors in political history and Spanish. His application highlighted experience in Student Government’s Department of Gender Relations, the annual LGBTQ retreat, and the Notre Dame Glee Club. “Tim has been an excellent role model on campus, particularly in his leadership roles representing LGBTQ student concerns to the Notre Dame administration,” noted Jack Bergen, past chair and a member of the scholarship committee. “He also provides an important service to the Notre Dame community by creating space for LGBTQ students to explore their faith.”

2017/2018 Recipients Morgan Haney SMC ’18 and Sushi Le SMC ’20

Morgan is a Psychology major at Saint Mary’s College with a minor in biology and sociology. While active in extracurricular activities in high school, Morgan has been required to focus on working three jobs outside of her academic studies at St Mary’s and has been financially independent since the age of 19.  Morgan is interested in research, and this scholarship will allow her the freedom to get involved with research professors at Saint Mary’s College.  For her community service project, based upon her personal experience, Morgan would like to help other LGBTQ homeless in the South Bend area during her senior year.


Sushi is an intended Art/Psychology double major achieving an impressive 4.0 GPA her freshman year while holding down several work/study jobs. During her first year, Sushi was very involved in Project SHE (Spreading Hope through Education) providing graphics, technical and website support. She is also active in the choir and equestrian club.  For her community service project, Sushi worked with various campus and community organizations to host a LGBTQ Resource Workshop at St Mary’s to enlighten and spread awareness by encouraging people to think and make a difference.


2016/2017 Recipients Samuel Cho ND ’18 and Maranda Pennington SMC ’17

Sam Cho pic_1Sam Cho is double majoring at Notre Dame in Computer Science and Graphic Design.  He has been active in PrismND, the Asian American Association and was the co-chair of the student Diversity Council in 2016/2017.  For his community service project, Sam would like to organize an event that celebrates the LGBTQ community and recognizes its importance in relation to Notre Dame’s campus similar to other diversity groups such as Latino and Asian American.  As Sam shared, “I would very much like to change Notre Dame for the better and really increase the visibility and awareness of the LGBTQ community on campus….”.


Maranda picMaranda Pennington is a Nursing student at Saint Mary’s with a minor in Biology.  She has been Vice President of SAGA and has held many positions for the SMC Dance Marathon which supports the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.  Next year, she looks forward to being the president of the Dance Marathon event.  For Maranda’s community service project, she feels that “sharing personally stories allows us to see the humanity and commonality in one another”.  To accomplish this, she would like to document the stories of LGBTQ SMC and ND students, and create a video and/or blog to be shared throughout both campuses.

2015/2016 Recipients Adrienne Whisman SMC ’17 and Bri O’Brien SMC ’16 

For their community service projects, Adrienne and Bri worked together to create a panel for educating the Saint Mary’s community on LGBT tolerance and inclusion.  The panel which took place in September 2016.

Adreinne pic
Adrienne Whisman studied History and Humanistic Studies at Saint Mary’s.  Adrienne was the SMC student representative to GALA’s board in 2016/2017, and moved on the be the SMC alumnae rep upon graduation.  To hear Adrienne describe her feelings being the scholarship recipient go to: 2015/2016 GALA ND/SMC LGBT Student Scholarship Recipient.


Bri O’Brien graduated in 2016 from Saint Mary’s College Social Work.  She spent her senior year actively supporting LGBT issues on campus.



HOW TO HELP (Alumni and Friends):  To help deserving students like the ones above continue their education, please consider donating to the LGBT Scholarship Fund.

HOW TO APPLY (Students):  For information on the application process, go to:  LGBT Student Scholarship Application Process