The first two HIV League Scholars have been announced! The HIV League selected Nicole Begay and Kristefer Stojanovski to receive a $7,000 scholarship award, each.
Eighteen-year-old Nicole Begay, a graduating senior from Mountain View High School in Mesa, Arizona, is pursuing a career in fashion design. Receiving the scholarship will help her make her dreams come true, she said, in a prepared release. Already an award-winning fashion designer, she loves “designing modest clothing for women that is trendy and cute” as well as upcycling clothes.
“I am so proud to be doing what I do and pursuing my dream of becoming a designer. It has been a struggle throughout these past four years of high school, but I have learned how to stick with what I love no matter what people say and to be determined, motivated, and persevere through anything. I believe that anyone can do anything as long as they put their best efforts forward and never give up. No one can stop me from pursuing my dream except for myself,” Begay said.
Also excited by this boost is Kristefer Stojanovski, a second-year doctoral student at the University of Michigan studying health behavior and health education. Bringing with him solid backgrounds in academic and applied research in public health, mental health, and criminal and social justice, as well as consultancy work on the county, national and international level, Kristefer hopes to share his expertise in several ways—now, researching the structural causes to mental and sexual health among sexual, gender, and ethnic minorities, in the U.S. and internationally; and later, to reframe how we talk about and historicize HIV and sexual health within academic disciplines and in society at large. Ultimately, the scholarship will help him with one of his priorities—to examine and eradicate stigma and advocate on behalf of individuals living with HIV.
As the only national-level scholarship for students living with HIV, The HIV League Scholarship seeks to help change-agents across sites of higher education hone leadership, knowledge, and skills. The scholarship embodies the mission of The HIV League, a nonprofit organization founded by Daniel Szymczyk that works to strengthen the self-efficacy of the HIV community through supporting student’s academic pursuits, wellness, and education.
In the prepared release, the nonprofit weighed in: “The HIV League couldn’t be happier with their first two Scholars since both Nicole and Kristefer have already shown an unlimited amount of potential as leaders of their local communities, the global community, as well as the HIV Community.”
For more information about The HIV League and their scholarship for students living with HIV, log on to: www.hivleague.org.
Reporting by Chael Needle