Krisina Armenakis is a Pride Foundation Scholarship alum. In honor of the 20th anniversary of Pride Foundation’s Scholarship Program, Kristina shares with us the story of being a Pride Foundation Scholar.
Like many college students, Kristina Armenakis took a year off from her studies at the University of Oregon to work full time. As she researched different scholarship opportunities that would allow her to continue her education, she discovered Pride Foundation.
“I thought it seemed like a perfect fit,” explains Armenakis. “I was already contributing to queer and trans communities as co-director of my school’s LGBTQ organization, and knew I wanted to pursue a career working with queer folks.”
As she learned about and became more involved with Pride Foundation, Armenakis found the foundation, in her words, to be, “Welcoming, inspiring, and exuberant.”
“I have always loved being part of the Pride Foundation family,” states Armenakis. “Pride Foundation is unique to me in the world of foundations and non-profits. It’s always so genuinely open, welcoming, and warm towards its constituents.”
Armenakis adds that she admires how the foundation manages to achieve major social and policy changes while maintaining an authentic, welcoming, and close-knit community. “I don’t see many organizations strike that balance, and it always makes me feel loved and comfortable,” she notes.
Since becoming involved with Pride Foundation, Armenakis says she’s realized that there is not just one LGBTQ community, but rather a web of communities. She notes that this evident with the variety of scholarships offered by the foundation.
When asked how being a Pride Foundation scholar impacted her life, she says, “I have often felt that I wasn’t a competitive candidate for academic merit-based scholarships, because I’m queer and my work and interests falls outside of mainstream disciplines. Pride Foundation recognized that my dreams and interests are worth something great. Supporting a queer person’s dreams and self-actualization is a powerful antidote to oppression.”
On a more personal level, Armenakis says the scholarship program helped her recognize her own self worth and see how much kindness, hospitality, and generosity exist in our community. She adds, “Scholarship volunteers are so kind and welcoming. Just going through the interviews is inspiring and healing.”
Now a Youth Program Advocate at the Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse in Seattle, Armenakis sees Pride Foundation’s Scholarship Program as a call to action for all scholar alumni, stating, “Those of us who have received Pride Foundation support and met our educational goals have a responsibility to give something back. Every scholar’s dream is valuable and worth pursuing.”
Read more about the Pride Foundation Scholarship Anniversary here.