Novak Family TerpStart Endowed Scholarship in LGBT Studies

Novak Family TerpStart Endowed Scholarship in LGBT Studies is awarded to a student in the LGBT Studies certificate or minor program.

Recipients of the Novak Family TerpStart Endowed Scholarship in LGBT Studies

(2016-17) Sarah Stephens – Sarah, who received her Associate of Arts in Sociology from Georgia State University Perimeter College, writes, “I am proud to be both a nontraditional student and a graduate of a two-year institution.” She plans to continue to graduate school with the goal of becoming a professor and conducting social psychological research. She says it was her LGBT200 course which helped her frame her research interest: studying intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual violence through a non-binary gender lens. “Much of the current knowledge in this area is gathered from a cisgender, heteronormative perspective, which does not speak to the nuanced and multi-layered experiences of the LGBT community. As long as we are invisible in research, we will be lacking knowledge we could use to heal ourselves and our relationships. I aim to fill that need. My scholarship and future research are grounded in my experiences, the experiences that others have shared with me, and my observations of the world. I feel incredibly fortunate to be completing my undergraduate degree at UMD, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to pursue LGBT studies.”

(2015-16) Daniel McLaughlin – McLaughlin, who is from Friendship, Maryland, began his undergraduate studies at Anne Arundel Community College and transferred to UMD in Fall 2013. Daniel says that he has especially enjoyed merging his interest in LGBT Studies with explorations in Digital Humanities and he is interested in exploring further, perhaps in graduate school, the gender and identity politics in Video Gaming and how these ideas are encoded into gameplay.

For his capstone project in the spring 2015 LGBT Senior Seminar, “Queer Futures,” taught by Professor Alexis Lothian, Dan proposed to queer, or radicalize, the very systems of video gaming to produce new experiences and to address the social aspects like audience and accessibility. As part of his work in the seminar, he created a prototype of such a “queer” game called #, which uses Twitter to build dungeons that players can explore. Dan says, “I want to take these ideas further and challenge what we know to be video games, and to also make statements on the state of our online media and social networks.”