The Queer Spotlight Series is a new campaign on the LGBTQ+ Agenda where we will be featuring successful LGBTQ+ individuals that are role models within the queer community. Our first spotlightee is Angie Gonzalez, a rising senior student at New York University studying Physics and Electrical Engineering and also a 2015 Point Foundation Scholar. Angie was lovely enough to let me interview her about her experiences with being a Point Scholar.
The Point Foundation is a charitable organization that awards high achieving LGBTQ+ students scholarships along with a comprehensive professional network. Applications for the 2017 – 2018 year open up November 1st!
Tell me a little about yourself: Where do you go to school, how do you identify, what are your pronouns, what do you study, and what’s some other key information about you and your involvement in the LGBTQ+ community?
“My name is Angie Gonzalez and I’m a senior at NYU. Even though I’m a senior, I’ll be graduating in 2018 with two bachelors’ degrees in physics and electrical engineering. I usually use she/her pronouns, but I sometimes use they/them. I am also an HSBC Point Foundation scholar. I have been involved in a number of LGBTQ groups and clubs throughout my time at NYU, including two clubs called Campgrrl and SHADES. For my first two years at NYU, I worked the NYU LGBTQ Student Center and coordinated their OUTSpoken Peer Education program. Currently, I am a part of the OUTSpoken Peer Education program at NYU as an OUTspoken Peer Educator. I interned at NASA this summer and have recently accepted an offer to NSF for a fellowship from 2016-2018.”
What is the Point Foundation Scholarship and how did you first hear about it?
“Point Foundation is a prestigious scholarship organization that offers scholarships to LGBTQ students in higher education. I first heard about it through the NYU LGBTQ Studnet Center’s weekly e-mails (OUTpost).”
What has the Foundation given to you? What have been some of the strongest benefits of the program?
“Point Foundation has literally given me LIFE! As I come from a low-income, single-parent family, financial assistance is one of the most important things that Point offers. With their support, I will graduate from NYU with a very small amount of loans. Additionally, Point gives us a mentor who is someone in our field who can identify most with us. My mentor is currently a front-end engineer at a company in Manhattan. She’s been really helpful by listening and identifying with a lot of my struggles, while also providing me the career support that I know I will need soon, as I will be searching for summer internships and applying to graduate school. Lastly, Point has provided me with the largest family of the most amazing and inspiring individuals. Because we all identify within the LGBTQ community, I know that I am always safe when I’m with my Point family.”
How has Point enriched your academic and/or personal future?
“As mentioned before, Point provides us with mentors in our fields who provide us with professional (and also personal) support. I know that my mentor has been especially beneficial in supporting my first steps into the networking world. She’s given me so many tips and tricks to networking and has built bridges between me and important organizations that all LGBTQ engineers should know about, such as oSTEM, Lesbians Who Tech, Out in Tech, and others!”
As a Point Scholar, how have you contributed to the LGBTQ community?
“Each year, Point requires us to partake in a community service project. Last year, I decided to host a photo campaign at NYU to highlight the experiences of LGBTQ students. You can view photos from the campaign here “
What is some advice you could give to other students that want to be involved in the LGBTQ community but don’t know how?
“Just go for it. If you’re nervous about going to a club, a meeting, or an event, just push yourself out of your comfort zone and do it. For me, I made a promise to myself when I got to college to be out and to live as my true self. I quickly got involved in the LGBTQ community, although at times, I felt I didn’t fit in because I had not a single clue what social justice was. Even though I didn’t know what LGBTQ stood for, what intersectionality was, or any other LGBTQ jargon were, I had a very strong support system of fellow peers and administrators who helped guide me. They helped me form my own opinions and beliefs, while also educating me in a way that was accessible.
I promise you, attending that club or event will definitely be worth it!”
How was the application process like for you?
“Point’s application process was no joke, I cannot lie. To start out, there were a number of essays I had to write, things I needed to look up (like household income), scores/transcripts I had to revisit (What up, collegeboard.org?), and recommendations I had to start looking out for if I made it to semi-finals. Once I hit semi-finals, I had to find two established people (usually professors or other important people) to give recommendations and write a couple more things. Lastly, for finalists, I had to travel to California for the in-person interviews. To be honest, even if I didn’t receive the scholarship, Point finalists weekend was amazing and completely worth it. I built so much community during Point finalists weekend and felt very supported and loved. Point is very different from any other thing I’ve ever applied for because you can tell that the board members actually want you to succeed. They understand our struggles, our nervousness, our awkwardness. They don’t expect us to be the most established and prestigious individuals – they want to help us become that, if that’s what we aspire for.”
What are some tips for future applicants for the process?
“It’s going to be hella corny, but honestly, you really just need to be yourself. My essays for Point were driven by all the issues I was facing the beginning of my sophomore year. For me, that was the first time I examined my racial identities and the saliency of both my racial and ethnic identities, in addition to my LGBTQ identities. I used my Point application to voice the concerns I had for my future as an engineering student and for the LGBTQ and POC communities that I am so graciously a part of.”
You can check out the rest of Angie’s achievements on her Point Foundation profile