The Commission for Gender and Sexuality awards scholarships


The Commission for Gender and Sexuality at Bloomsburg, a Commonwealth University, awards two scholarships each year to provide financial support to students in the LGBTQIA+ community. The first scholarship is endowed directly by the Commission through its annual fundraiser. The second is endowed through the generous gift of friends of the Commission, Joshua Payne '89 and Randy Lyons. 

"I congratulate each of this year's scholarship recipients and thank the Commission for Gender and Sexuality for its recognition of our students’ dedication and its scholarship support," said Bashar W. Hanna, University president. "The individuals involved in the Commission are doing great work in supporting our students as we strive for a more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming campus community for all." 

The Commission for Gender and Sexuality awarded the Payne-Lyons LGBTQA Scholarship to Katie Eyler, a junior majoring in chemistry and education. The scholarship is given to a current Bloomsburg student with sophomore academic standing, a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0, and participates in LGBTQA programs, clubs, or conferences. The scholarship is renewable as long as all the criteria continue to be met. 

“My name is Katie Eyler (they/she) and I am bisexual and nonbinary (newly identify as nonbinary). This is my second year at BU after transferring in the fall semester of 2021,” said Eyler. “Since coming to this school, I have felt very welcomed as an LGBTQ+ individual and have greatly enjoyed being a part of the community here on campus through organizations such as BUEA, and through my work last school year at the LGBTQA Resource Center. This award has been extremely helpful to me. Scholarships such as these are the reason that I am able to continue attending university and pursuing my career goals. In regards to my career goals, I hope to one day become a university chemistry professor, though I plan to begin by teaching chemistry at the high school level. I want to be able to inspire my students to join careers in STEM, and I also think it’s very important that students have representation in all different fields, and if I can be that representation for even one student that inspires them to pursue their career goals, then I will have achieved my goal.”
Abby Stoudt, a senior majoring in media and journalism on the public relations track, and Rachel Kessler, a second-semester sophomore dual majoring in early childhood/special education, were jointly awarded the LGBTQA Scholarship given to current Bloomsburg students with financial need and at least 24 credits remaining until graduation. The student must participate in LGBTQA programs, clubs, or conferences and submit an essay detailing how receiving this scholarship will assist their education at Bloomsburg. 

“I am so grateful to have been named a recipient of the LGBTQA Scholarship this year,” Stoudt said. “I could name a dozen reasons for why receiving this scholarship has been meaningful to me, but I would say that perhaps the most important reason is that it has allowed me to continue working with the Bloomsburg University Equality Alliance (BUEA) as their secretary to create safe spaces for LGBTQIA students on campus. Being able to serve on the executive board for BUEA has given me so many skills that I am excited to bring with me into my career after I graduate. Those skills range from exercising leadership skills, to event planning, to educating others, to simply interacting with such a diverse group of folks has proved truly invaluable to me both personally, academically, and professionally.”

“I transferred from Lehigh Carbon Community College last semester with an associate's degree in education,” Kessler said. “The award has helped me continue my education since I come from a lower-income background and I would not have been able to do so without all the financial aid/grants I am receiving. I also do not have a job during the school year and did not want to get one so I can focus on my education. So, it is helped me prioritize my education which is what I’m here for. BUEA is an important club for me. I’m bisexual and not everyone accepts that. Being with people who fully accept me for who I am means a lot. It’s also a great environment to hang out with people from the club and do fun activities together.”

"The Commission wishes to thank all those who worked to make these scholarships a reality as well as congratulate our winners," said Damien Marken, scholarship committee chair for the Commission for Sexuality and Gender. 
Current Bloomsburg students can apply for the annual scholarships. To be eligible, students must demonstrate financial need, have at least 24 credits remaining until graduation, participate in LGBTQA programs, clubs, or conferences, and submit an essay detailing how receiving this scholarship will assist their education. Bloomsburg students are encouraged to apply for the 2023-224 academic year. 
For more information on the LGBTQA Scholarship, contact BU faculty member Damien Marken at 570-389-4333 or