Metro Weekly

LULAC Lambda awards scholarships to two LGBTQ Latino professionals pursuing advanced degrees

One recipient hopes to work in the foreign policy sector, while the other is focused on ensuring educational equity.

Brian Castro (left) and Victor Javier Rodriguez – Photos courtesy of LULAC Lambda.

Two LGBTQ Latino professionals who one day wish to work at the highest levels of the federal government have been selected by the local Latinx LGBTQ organization LULAC Lambda to receive scholarships that will help them pursue advanced degrees.

For the fourth year in a row, LULAC Lambda, one of 1,000 chapters across the United States affiliated with the League of United Latin American Citizens, is providing scholarships to highly-qualified LGBTQ Latinx students seeking to further their education. The scholarships are intended to help deserving scholars achieve their pursue bachelor’s, Master’s, or doctorate without taking on a substantial debt burden.

This year’s recipients, Brian Castro and Victor Javier Rodriguez were chosen based on their stellar academic performance as well as demonstrated community service and their work on behalf of social justice, according to Erik Rodriguez, the president of LULAC Lambda.

This year’s scholarships were made possible due to funding from the BHT Foundation, the D.C.-based organization that provides financial support to local nonprofits benefitting members of the LGBTQ community. BHT’s generosity allowed LULAC Lambda to offer two scholarships during a year when fundraising and events came to a standstill because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Castro, who currently works for a public health consulting firm, will receive $1,000 scholarship to help him attend the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where he will pursue a Master of Science in Foreign Service beginning in the fall of 2021.

“The generous scholarship provided by LULAC Lambda will complement my studies by going directly into my tuition costs,” Castro said in a statement. “I bring my experience and expertise to the 2023 cohort and hope to further advance my effectiveness and contribution to practicing equitable and inclusive practices to the United States’ efforts in international relations.

“My ultimate professional goal is to join the United States Agency in International Development and use my experience living in the intersections as a queer, first-generation, Latino-American to support health and social justice in all countries,” he added.

Related: LULAC Lambda awards scholarships to three D.C. high school students

Rodriguez, who currently works as an equity and empowerment specialist at the District of Columbia Public Schools, will receive $1,300 to pursue a doctoral degree at Florida State University. His research interest lies in exploring the relationship between school districts’ implementation of anti-racist practices and student success.

“While in my program, I will continue working with the District of Columbia Public School system, as we work towards becoming an anti-racist school district and ensure all of our students and families feel loved, affirmed, and included,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “A long-term career goal of mine is to affect change at the federal level through the United States Department of Education, in which I would work to address our nation’s education crisis by advocating for equitable policies and practices that improve the outcome for all our students, especially those who are most vulnerable.

“I will utilize the funds awarded by this scholarship to offset the cost of tuition and book expenses,” he added. “Doing my best to not take any loans and graduate debt-free.”

LULAC Lambda will begin accepting applications for its 2022 scholarship program on Nov. 1, 2021. For more information, visit www.lulaclambda.org.

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