By Megan Wadding, September 2017 Issue.

The QU Scholarship Fund was started in 2012 by Kevin Axx and Dr. Shel-Don Legarreta, both avid supports of one•n•ten.

Each year since, the fund has presented one recipient with a $10,000 award over a two-year period. In return, recipients must complete a modest community requirement and each scholar is paired with two mentors that they meet with on a quarterly basis over the two years.

“We both felt that something was needed to help the youth with post-secondary education,” Axx explained. “We thought we’d raise a few thousand dollars to help a worthy student go to college. Little did we know how generous the community’s response would be and how big a need there was for a program such as ours.”

Donations for the scholarship come from a combination of community members, local businesses and national corporations. According to Axx, a significant amount is raised through individual donations, through donors who offer matching opportunities and through small community events, such as pool parties and cocktail parties that are underwritten by the hosts.

In previous years, there has only been one QU Scholarship, but this year Axx said that the overwhelming community support the fund received allowed them to offer two scholarships for the first time.

This year, Kelsey Williams and Baileigh Thompson, both from Phoenix, were named the QU Scholarship recipients and were presented their checks at the one•n•ten Fresh Brunch in February.

“They are both shining example of today’s LGBT[Q] students pursuing their dreams and giving back to our community,” Legarreta said.

As they are each year, Legarreta said he and Axx are “honored and humbled” to help the recipients of the scholarship with their “academic and professional dreams.”

As part of the award, Axx explained that the recipients are "paired with an academic mentor who helps them navigate the sometimes-daunting freshman year of college and also a professional mentor, who is usually a community member that is in, or is very familiar with, our scholars' prospective field or major."

The mentorships, he added, were instituted as a way to maintain contact with the scholars and to ensure that their college years are a success.

“We have given out seven scholarships in the the past five years. Six of those scholars continue to be enrolled in school full time, completing their degree programs,” Legarreta said. “Most are very involved with campus and community LGBT[Q] programs. Most have been enrolled in their respective honors program or been on the Dean's list. We are looking forward to their continued successes as they graduate and make a difference the communities in which they live. We are positive they will go on and do great things in the future.”

Kelsey “KJ” Williams.

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