Angel St. James
Angel St. James (born in 1998, female, from Victoria) was awarded the Clark Walton Scholarship for 2020. Angel is a returning scholar after completing her first degree – a Bachelor of Creative Arts at the Sunshine Coast University in 2018. She is now 21 years of age and is commencing her third year of her Bachelor of Fine Arts (Screen Writing) at Victorian College of the Arts at University of Melbourne.
Angel has stated, “My queer identity is innately entwined with my academic goals as it is the primary reason I am pursuing screenwriting- to give back to the LGBTIQ+ community and provide much needed representation”.
In terms of community engagement, Angel is deeply involved in extracurricular activities centred on LGBTIQ+ rights through on-campus collectives, as well as use of her media and script writing skills with Melbourne International Film Festival and Oz Comic Con.
Anthony Copeland (born in 1994, from Western Australia) was awarded the John Goldbaum Scholarship for 2020. Anthony completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne and an Honours year at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute before undertaking a Doctor of Medicine (Masters) at the University of Western Australia. Anthony will enter his third year of university in 2020.
In terms of community engagement Anthony is the incoming National Coordinator of the Australian Medical Students’ Association’s Queer Project, which promotes Queer health education across Australia’s medical schools and is the peak advocating body for the interests of Queer identifying medical students. Anthony is also starting a Queer Representative position within his local Medical Student Society.
Anthony aspires to “be a doctor who is able to develop a deep understanding of everyone’s individual circumstances. Our current literature shows that there are a lot of barriers to Queer identifying people seeking medical help. Once I am a doctor, I would like to do what I can to make it as safe and simple as possible for everyone to get the medical attention they need. I find that current medical teaching does not adequately cover Queer health, so one of my career goals will be looking at how we could integrate Queer health education at the medical school level as I believe that this will help in reducing the number of health inequalities faced by Queer identifying people.”
SA, Education (Secondary & Special Education)
Anu Francis (South Australia) has been awarded the Pippa Downes Scholarship for 2020. After graduating from the Bachelor of Science (Veterinary Bioscience) in 2017 at the University of Adelaide, Anu is currently in her third year of the Bachelor of Education (Secondary & Special Education) at Flinders University. Anu is the first in her family to attend university. Anu has cerebral palsy and Ehlers Danlos syndrome and is a Flinders University Scholarship Athlete, having represented and medalled for Australia in Para-Badminton. In 2019, Anu became the first female para-rower to represent South Australia and now trains 20 hours per week with the South Australian Sports Institute as she aims to be selected to represent Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
In terms of her community engagement, Anu has been highly involved in extra-curricular activities throughout her time in high school and university. In year 12 she ran her school’s Environment Group and Student Representative Council and was a section leader and soloist in the choir and received a number of leadership awards. During her time studying Veterinary Medicine, Anu was a member of her college’s student association for two years and was the Australian Veterinary Association’s SA junior and then senior student rep in 2016-2017 and national student president-elect in 2017. Anu has also been involved with the Flinders University Queer Society, was a 2017 Flinders University Student Wellbeing Ambassador, and is the 2019/2020 Flinders University Student Association Disabilities Officer.
The 2020 recipient for The Berg Foundation Scholarship is Benjamin (Ben) Narooz McGrory (born in 1999, male, with an Indigenous background, from New South Wales). At the end of 2019 after completing his first year of tertiary studies, Benjamin was successful in transferring into a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Law at The University of Sydney in 2020. Benjamin is the first in his family to attend a tertiary institution.
Benjamin completed his HSC through Sydney Distance Education High School. Benjamin faced many adversities during his time as school captain and advocated for the needs of disadvantaged LGBT+ and Indigenous students. Benjamin was recognised by his principal for being the highest achieving Indigenous student in his cohort. Benjamin gained entry into a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney in 2019. There, with the support of Mana Yura (formerly known as the “Koori Centre”), Benjamin completed his first year with a Distinction average. Benjamin achieved an impressive GPA of 82 and frequently participated in MOBS (Mentoring Our Brothers and Sisters), the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mentoring program.
Benjamin is looking forward to being part of the Pinnacle Scholarship Program because financially, it will provide peace of mind, but also understands the importance of mentorship and representation. Benjamin states, “As a young gay Indigenous Australian, it is hard to be open about my sexual orientation. There are no openly gay Indigenous role models to look up to and challenge negative stigmas. It continues to drive my passion for overcoming and challenging myself to be a catalyst for changing perceptions for LGBTIQ+ people within the Indigenous community. Despite some days appearing seemingly impossible, I know that I am making a difference. I strive to continue to grow as an LGBTIQ+ advocate through my studies at the University of Sydney and my Indigenous community engagement.”
Benjamin has been an activist in his volunteer work as a former youth councillor and Co-Deputy Chair on the Blue Mountains Youth Council and as school captain at Sydney Distance Education High School. He has passionately advocated for youth disadvantaged by mental health and minority groups such as LGBT+ and Indigenous issues which face significant barriers in terms of accessibility and a voice. He has represented youth at such forums as The Greater Sydney Commission, NSW Parliament and Civic Leadership Programs, Blue Mountains Project Now Youth Congress and was selected to be Co-Deputy Chair at a General Council meeting at the Blue Mountains Council Chambers. Benjamin is committed to using his studies as a platform for challenging stigma and advocating for both the Indigenous and LGBT+ communities. In his tutorials and academic writing, he is noted for having a “unique understanding of gender and race and its application concerning gender and power dynamics.”
David Edwards (born in 1995, from Western Australia) will undertake either a Media/Marketing and/or Bachelor of Teaching at Edith Cowan University, with 2020 being David’s first year of university study.
David has a hopeful approach to the future and looks forward to starting at either Edith Cowan University or Curtin University in 2020. David would like to study a degree in teaching as a way of working positively with the community and influence future generations. David is also keenly interested in media and would like to be a creative teacher, passionate about media and technology. He was inspired by his media teacher during a recent course he took at TAFE on Event Management.
For 2020, the SHK Asia Pacific Scholarship has been awarded to Eleanor Ryan (born in 1993, from Canberra and currently residing in Victoria). Eleanor is undertaking a Juris Doctorate at University of Melbourne and is about to start her third and final year after achieving very strong academic results for 2019.
Eleanor’s career goal is to, “Pursue a career in administrative law, helping people challenge the actions of government. Having worked as a public servant, I have seen the benefits that good government policy and decision-making can have on people’s lives. However, I have also seen how the same vulnerable people are failed by governments time and time again, with little recourse to challenge the government’s decisions.”
In terms of community engagement, Eleanor states, “My involvement in the queer community during my Juris Doctor has been great and has made me feel more involved in university life than I did during my undergraduate degree.”
The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG Scholarship for 2020 has been awarded to Eric Gonzales. Eric (born in 1996, from New South Wales) is about to undertake his final year of a Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Law course at The University of Sydney.
Eric commented, “I enrolled in undergraduate Law at the University of Sydney because it exemplifies the importance of language and history in shaping human society, morality and the social norms that inform our everyday lives. Throughout my studies, I have enjoyed solving complex commercial problems in subjects such as Contracts, Corporations Law and Property and Commercial Law, and I can envisage a career applying what I have learnt to understanding clients’ needs, objectives and challenges. Next year, I hope to undertake an offshore unit offered by Sydney Law School called ‘Advanced Obligations and Remedies’, which is held at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge.”
Eric’s academic results have been consistently of a high standard and he was awarded the University of Sydney Honours Scholarship in 2018 and in 2019 he continued to achieve outstanding academic results.
In terms of community engagement Eric is currently a member of ALLin, the LGBTIQ+ network at commercial law firm, Allens. Eric has also been a member of Spectrum, the LGBTIQ+ network at commercial law firm, Ashurst. This has involved pitching ideas for InterFirm events and discussing the ways in which they can better promote Spectrum in the broader consciousness of the firm, and effectively use the committee as a vehicle for community outreach. In 2019, Eric was the Editor in Chief of Yemaya, the Sydney University Law Society’s Gender and Sexuality journal, which provides a platform for non-binary/queer-identifying people to create critical pieces about gender, sexuality and queerness.
For 2020, Elyse Wilson (born 1998, female, from Tasmania) has been granted the Dr. White and Rod Anderson Tasmanian Scholarship. Elyse is currently in her third year of a Medical degree at the University of Tasmania and in 2020 she will be starting to work in the rural clinical school in Burnie. Elyse enjoys the opportunity to take the baseline degree anywhere including research, public health and global health.
Elyse is the first in family to attend university, this feat is due to her hardworking and enthusiastic nature and her drive. Elyse has enjoyed her degree very much and has thrived in the communication and problem-solving elements that come with her course work. Elyse’s dedication has meant that her academic results have been consistently solid over the last three years including 2019.
In terms of community engagement Elyse has been involved in the Australian Medical Students Association and in particular the organisation of the Association’s conference held in Hobart.
In 2020 the Tea Uglow Scholarship has been awarded to Hayden Moon (born in 1994, with an Aboriginal background, from New South Wales). Hayden graduated Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Theatre and Performance Studies at University of Sydney in 2019 with a first-class Honours grade. Hayden is commencing their Doctor of Philosophy in 2020.
Hayden’s academic results have been outstanding, and they have received the Indigenous Accommodation Scholarship for both 2017 and 2018, as well as the 2018 and 2019 Bernard Lee Scholarship for Indigenous Australian Students, the 78ers Legacy Fund Scholarship in 2019 and the 2019 University of Sydney Honours Scholarship.
In terms of community engagement, Hayden was the Disabilities Officer for the Student Representative Council at Sydney University in 2019 and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Officer and Cultural Advisor for the Sydney Queer and Disability Community Group (SQuAD). Through these positions they have advocated for inclusivity of people with disabilities at Queer events. Hayden is also a co-founder of Trans Action Warrang and a member of ACON’s Trans and Gender Diverse Advisory Group. Trans Action Warrang fights for the rights of transgender people in Australia.
For 2020, the Frank Ford AM and Sam Harvey Scholarship has been awarded to Abigail (born in 2001, from South Australia). Abigail received strong results in music subjects at Marryatville High Schools Special Interest Music Centre. In 2020, they will be studying a Bachelor of Music at Adelaide University’s – Elder Conservatorium.
Abigail is inspired to become an outwardly Queer Musician and Composer, as well as an advocate for the Arts in the in Adelaide/South Australian scene.
In terms of community engagement, Abigail participates in various UniSA Rainbow club and other LGBTIQ+ events.
Isabella Kotasek (born 1995, female, from South Australia) completed a Bachelor of Science (Advanced), majoring in ecology and zoology in 2016. She is currently in her third year of Bachelor of Science (Veterinary Bioscience) at the University of Adelaide. She will be going on to complete the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine by 2023.
Raised on farms in the Adelaide Hills and on Kangaroo Island, Isabella is passionate about rural and remote communities, ecosystems and animals. Her interests in this field include sustainability, livestock welfare and optimising land management practices.
Isabella is heavily involved in the LGBTQI+ scene in Adelaide and works with her local soccer club with inclusion and diversity programmes and fundraising opportunities.
This year The Harvey Milk Scholarship was awarded to Jayde Millington (born in 1995, from Melbourne) who will commence her third year of a Doctor of Medicine at the University of Queensland after completing a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne.
Jayde is focused on improving LGBTQI+ Australians’ access to suitable healthcare and endeavours to actively develop this passion as part of her course: “I have voluntarily shadowed a GP who runs a clinic with a focus on LGBTQI+ health. I will also be doing the John Flynn placement program which is a volunteer rural placement with a GP for 8 weeks over the course of my degree.”
In terms of her community engagement, Jayde holds queer representative positions in the UQ Medical Society and the Australian Medical Students’ Association and wants to increase the queer knowledge in medical education, particularly through curriculum reform.
Kai James Morley
VIC, Dermal Therapy
For 2020, The Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship has been Awarded to Kai James Morley. Kai (born in 1999) currently resides in Malaysia and is relocating to Melbourne to undertake a Bachelor of Dermal Therapy. Kai wants to pursue a degree which will allow him to pursue his creative endeavours. He enjoys the science and clinical aspects of the beauty industry and these two factors are present in dermal therapy.
Kai dreams of owning a spa or salon which would be a safe place for the LGBTIQ+ community and they would feel safe and be able to “experience luxury and self-care as self-care is life changing too.” Kai has been working hard to build his career and during his secondary school and has completed both freelance work on the side to build his artistic portfolio and undertaken an additional diploma in Freelance Makeup services. Before this, Kai also completed diplomas in Specialist Beauty Therapy, Aesthetic Treatments and Holistic Massage while working in Hong Kong,
Kai is very excited to be coming home to Australia, beginning his course and being part of the Pinnacle Foundation family and looks forward to giving back to our community. In terms of community engagement, Kai has been involved in leadership roles in theatre productions at schools, which include costume designer for ‘Into the Woods’, ‘Orpheus in the Underworld’ ‘Abridged works of William Shakespeare’ and others. Kai was elected by the student body to represent the community committee with two other students, in which he organized events and work to build school spirit and morale.
The Murray J Collins – The City Gardener Scholarship for 2020 has been awarded to Leo Sammut (born in 1998, from Victoria). Leo is from a regional area of central Victoria and the first in family to attend university.
They are currently studying a Bachelor of Science Advanced – Global Challenges at Monash University and in 2020 will be undertaking their third year. Leo has had an outstanding academic record and they were awarded the Dean’s List for outstanding academic achievement in 2018 and they have achieved mainly High Distinctions in 2019.
Leo commented that, “This degree combines science with entrepreneurship, leadership, and science communication. The course requires its students to study science along with students in the Bachelor of Science while taking on additional units designed to improve job prospects in a changing workplace. In addition to our science practice we also learn about emotional intelligence, adaptive leadership, start-ups and how to bring science out of the lab.”
In terms of community engagement Leo has been a very active volunteer across a wide range of activities which promote transgender rights and acceptance including, creating informative booklets, hosting social group for first year transgender science students, volunteering at Midsumma Pride march and Minus 18 group and running workshops at Monash on trans inclusiveness.
The Reg Holloway Scholarship for 2020 has been awarded to Lili Murtagh (born in 1998, from Queensland).
Lili has completed a Bachelor of Music at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane in 2019 and will go on to do a Masters of Teaching at either Queensland University of Technology in 2020. She is an outstanding student achieving Distinctions and High Distinctions in most of her subjects.
Lili has always been involved in music and during her high school years, her very small music class was her oasis. She began song writing to process her emotions, thoughts and feelings. Lili went into her Bachelor of Music with a dream to be able to teach music. She has enjoyed her undergraduate course thoroughly and has learned a great deal about music theory and has had many opportunities to perform as part of her degree.
In terms of her community engagement Lili stated that she “is the store representative for the Equal Rights Initiative in Woolworths; a campaign that supports equal rights and fair treatment for the LGBTIQ+ community in the workplace. I have also participated and mentored at two ‘Girls Rock’ workshops in Brisbane, a weeklong program dedicated to empowering young female and non-binary musicians.”
Olivia (details withheld for privacy)
VIC, Computer Science
In 2020 the AGL Scholarship was awarded to Olivia from Victoria. Olivia moved to Melbourne to study and in 2020 she will enter into her second year of a Bachelor of Computer Science degree.
Olivia notes, “I really am fascinated by the idea how technology can help people in so many ways. Getting a Bachelor of Computer Science will teach me so many different things, ranging from cyber security to artificial intelligence (AI) development so I will be able to use what I learn to help others in the future.”
Olivia’s academic results for 2019 were consistently solid with mainly credits and distinctions being achieved. Her mentor is Monica Chand, a New Zealander who moved to Australia in 2003.
The Bill Chambers Scholarship for 2020 has been awarded to Renae Papalexiou (born in 1994, from Queensland). Renae will enter into their final year of their Masters of Teaching (Secondary) at Queensland University of Technology, having earlier completed a Science degree. They are the first in Family to attend university.
Renae is determined to use their skills and passion to work towards becoming a beacon of change within the education system and the world, “I want to make change… and I will.”
Renae achieved solid academic results for 2019 and gained Credits and Distinctions. In 2019 they also undertook a Certificate II in Auslan which not only allowed them to gain basic conversational skills in Auslan for the classroom but has also allowed them to create a more inclusive environment for any students that are hearing impaired.
In terms of community engagement Renae is an activist on campus via Queensland University of Technology’s Queer Collective with their campaigns for Marriage Equality and Pride events
For 2020 the Maurice Joyce Scholarship has been awarded to Sarah Sandford (born in 1995,). Originally from New Zealand and now a permanent resident of Australia, Sarah is undertaking a Doctor of Philosophy in Immunology at University of Melbourne and will commence her third year in 2020.
Sarah has clearly defined her career ambitions and is well advanced in achieving them: “Some of the largest global health issues have been treated and, in some cases, eradicated through drugs, vaccination, or immunotherapy. It is my ultimate goal to contribute knowledge and understanding that could in the future save lives.
In terms of community engagement Sarah prides herself for setting a good example to others, “It is a priority of mine to be a positive role model in my professional career as an academic. I strive to create an inclusive environment for students and fellow emerging researchers who may not have the confidence or comfort in expressing who they are. Therefore, every day at university I wear a rainbow lanyard to actively and openly show my support for queer visibility, and I hope that it helps foster an inclusive and supportive environment for the undergraduate students that I teach.”
Sarah is also an active member of the university’s Queer Collective and Melbourne’s Pride in Action Network, an initiative designed to bring together LGBTQI+ identifying staff and students, their allies and supporters, creating opportunities to share information and foster an inclusive, supportive workplace and learning environment.
In 2020, Sujin Jang (born in 1998, female) has been awarded The Peter Brennan AM and Michael Lynch Scholarship. Sujin is beginning her fourth year in medicine at the University of New South Wales.
Sujin is dedicated to following a career path that will allow her to contribute positively to the status of the LGBTIQ+ community. She states: “I am passionate about LGBTQI+ health, and as such, for my future career, I hope to start a medical practice that can cater culturally appropriately for LGBTQI+ individuals. In particular, I have an interest in youth mental health, and as a result, I aspire to be involved in the improvement of mental health outcomes for LGBTQI+ youth. I also wish to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of LGBTQI+ culture to other medical students and medical practitioners such that they can create more LGBTQI+-friendly practices as well.”
In terms of her academic achievements, Sujin has worked hard in the first three years of her medical degree and this has resulted in her achieving a Weighting Average Mark (WAM) sufficient for admission to Honours in 2020. A limited number (3) of her year are able to enter an Honours program and this is an outstanding achievement and a testament to the work she has put in both on campus and as part of clinical attachments in my School.
In terms of her community engagement Sujin has been an active member of the LGBTIQ+ community. One of her main leadership roles has been as the Queer Officer for the University of New South Wales Medical Society.
For the 2020 year, The Duncan Peerman & Paul Zahra Scholarship has been awarded to Tavonga Nenza-Grant (born 1999, from Victoria). Tavonga will enter his third year of a Bachelor of Commerce degree at The University of Melbourne. He came to Australia when he was 16 years of age and obtained a scholarship to attend Xavier College where he achieved his university entrance.
Tavonga is a remarkably strong and resilient person who acknowledges that his, “sexual identity has made [him] stronger and more resilient. So, when people say rude comments, it does put you down, but it builds me up in the same way.”
Thomas Drake-Brockman (born in 1994, from Western Australia) is a student doctor, emerging medical researcher, and software engineer, focussed on improving the lives of sick and injured children.
Thomas will be entering into their final year of the Doctor of Medicine at the University of Western Australia. This follows undergraduate studies in Computer Science and Philosophy, with First-Class Honours. Their honours thesis was completed in 2015 with the Department of Anaesthesia and Pain Management at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth.
At this stage in their studies their current interests include Paediatrics, Emergency Medicine, as well as new specialist areas such Transgender Medicine. “In some areas I feel I have an advantage by being LGBTIQA+, as I have greater insight into the challenges that people face, more credibility, and can provide genuine understanding.”
Thomas has had 14 articles published in peer-reviewed medical journals, including The Lancet, the British Journal of Anaesthesia, JAMA Pediatrics, and Pediatric Anesthesia.
We are proud to continue supporting the following returning scholars from 2019: Connor Allen, Oliver McGrath, Isabel (Izzy) Treacy, James Holland, Georg Tamm, Elliot Rentoul, Hannah Worsley, Lewis Mcfarlane, Ricky Stocker-Johns, Rhian Mordaunt, Harry Norris, M’Keely Armstrong, Max Taylor, Axel Nathaniel Rose, Sam Kroon, Julien Grosmaire, Arthur Colquhoun, Bronte Charles, Ainslie (Sley) Mann, Murray Gatt, Blair Schuch, Nathan Cappelluti, Andy Tran
Being in such awe-inspiring company as my fellow scholars and the Pinnacle team, I am beyond grateful for the acceptance and belonging that this organisation has endowed me with. It goes without saying that I feel truly empowered to committing myself as a future practitioner to tackling the various social and health inequalities that plague underrepresented communities in Australia and abroad.
I was incredibly grateful and humbled to have been awarded a scholarship by the Pinnacle Foundation.
Not only has this scholarship provided me with enormous financial and professional support, but also a newfound sense of belonging within the LGBTQ+ community that I had yet to experience elsewhere.
“Never forget what you are, the rest of the world will not. Wear it like armour and it can never be used to hurt you.” ~ Tyrion Lannister
I am humbly grateful for The Pinnacle Foundation awarding me a Maurice Joyce Named Scholarship, which has provided me with extraordinary opportunities in achieving my goal to become a paramedic.
My mentor is just as valuable because she has walked a similar path, someone I trust and is proof of hard work. In my experience, it’s easy to feel isolated living in a small country town, but with Pinnacle’s support I feel part of a LGBT+ community.
As I transition from University to professional life, the Pinnacle scholarship has helped me financially, socially and emotionally. One of the most rewarding parts is the mentorship I receive with an LGBTIQ+ woman in my industry, as well as the support base throughout the program.
I feel incredibly grateful to be a Pinnacle Scholar. It’s very humbling to be part of such a wonderful foundation that has and continues to support many amazing young LGBTIQ+ people through their studies.
The work that Pinnacle and the people in the foundation do is inspiring. The experience has motivated me to continue to work and make positive change in advocacy and the law for my community.
My world’s been flipped on its head this year, and without the support of Pinnacle it wouldn’t have been possible.
I’ve been able to move away from regional SA to be closer to hospital and end the 3 hour commute I’d been making every day for the previous 4 years. By gaining the financial independence to move I’m finally able to live freely, openly and honestly as a queer person.
The scholarship will allow me to focus on my clinical placement wholeheartedly, without the burden of finances, my identity, my family relationships and my living situation pulling at my ankles.
In 2019 with the support of the pinnacle family I hope to no longer just ‘survive’ but to at last truly ‘thrive’.
ACT, Political Science
The Pinnacle Foundation has given me the ability to pursue my ambitious educational goals by assisting me to move to Canberra to attend the Australian National University, as well as providing me with the support of other LGBTIQ+ students and role models that make me believe I can achieve success.
I am extremely honoured and grateful to have received a Pinnacle scholarship, and to have been connected with an amazing and inspiring mentor. I am brimming with excitement to begin my tertiary education supported by the incredible Pinnacle community.
The people I have met thanks to the Pinnacle Foundation have inspired me, and shown me the potential of the future, and I am excited to work hard to live up to the responsibility and honour of being selected as a Pinnacle Scholar.
QLD, Medical Laboratory Science
It still doesn’t feel real to me that I have such an amazing community behind me and so much support from my mentor, my fellow scholars and the foundation in general.
I am extremely grateful and fortunate to have become part of the Pinnacle family this year. Thanks to the Pinnacle foundation I can relax a little more without as much financial pressure.
I hope that through my studies and research as a future medical scientist, I can positively impact the LGBTIQ+ community. I want to be a positive role model for a more diverse and equal future.”
NSW, Arts / Law
Receiving a scholarship from the Pinnacle Foundation is an opportunity for personal and professional development more impactful than I could have anticipated.
Being connected with an aspirational mentor is assisting me not only navigate my studies but become a more resilient and driven individual.
I have been introduced to an inspiring and supportive group of students from across Australia. The financial support is providing significant assistance with educational and health expenses.
I believe I am in a better position than ever before to overcome challenges and achieve future goals.I am incredibly grateful to the Pinnacle Foundation for their support of myself and other LGBTI youth.
NSW, Veterinary Science
I always dreamt of being a vet from a very young age. When I was offered a position in the veterinary course in Wagga Wagga, I didn’t hesitate a second to take up the amazing opportunity to help all creatures great and small and be fortunate enough to call it a job.
Thank you to the Pinnacle foundation for helping me achieve my dream and helping me continue studying what I love most. The impact of the financial help and the network I have built through the foundation has helped me more than I could ever imagine.
“At times it seemed unfair that I should be paid for my work; for driving out in the early morning with the fields glittering under the first pale sunshine and the wisps of mist still hanging on the high tops.” James Herriot, All Creatures Great and Small
The incredible generosity of those at Pinnacle and SHK have allowed me to enter my final year of law with confidence in my career path ahead. I have been absolutely overwhelmed with the support from all those involved with the foundation, and their willingness to foster the growth of the queer community.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of this scholarship is that it represents an opportunity for queer people from all over Australia to connect with one another in a true community. I have had the warmest welcome from everyone I have met through Pinnacle and cannot express how thankful I am for this privilege.
I am immeasurably grateful to both the Pinnacle Foundation and my scholarship donor, SHK, for this opportunity.
In my fifth year of a Bachelor of Law (Honours)/Arts at Monash University, I am excited by all things public policy.
The experience of growing up in a community that did not accept my sexuality left me with a desire to build a fairer society, where fewer are alienated and alone.
My interest in a fairer society has led me to intern for politicians in Victoria Parliament and the United States’ Congress. I have interned for the Grattan Institute think tank, been a paralegal both in the community legal and plaintiff law sectors and as a consultant, analysed the financial state of a national, hospice-care organisation.
In my spare time, I organise and lead a biannual 3 day camp for teenagers from a refugee and migrant background.
Words can’t express how grateful I am for the support of the Pinnacle Foundation – from the other amazing scholars, to my brilliant mentor and all the supportive staff around me.
Being able to be not only comfortable and proud of who I am, but to be a leader in my community is something I never could have imagined when first moving out of home.
There have been some enormous challenges on the road to becoming who I am today, but also some invaluable, life-changing opportunities.
Pinnacle has allowed me to enter the final year of my Law and Criminology degrees feeling empowered, inspired and ready to give back to my community once I embark upon my new career. Thank you!
I have been passionate about the power of the law since high school. When a barrister stands in a court room and argues before a judge, each word that is uttered has the capacity to transform the law.
With its universal prevalence that reaches every aspect of our lives, positive changes in the law can empower, equalise and resolve. Whether I am eventually advocating on behalf of a vulnerable client as a lawyer or writing policy as a government bureaucrat – I want to use the law to make a positive impact and ensure that all of us live in an inclusive and just society.
While financial assistance from Pinnacle will alleviate a lot of the burden of full-time study, much of the value comes from the amazing community I have been welcomed into. It’s been incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by other LGBTI individuals who have overcome the challenges we face and lead fulfilling lives where they continually work to make a positive impact.
Meeting the Honourable Michael Kirby was a definite highlight in my Pinnacle journey, where he affirmed my love for the law and how it can be used to stand up for what’s right.
My goal is to become an academic in the field of Medicinal chemistry so that I can use my passion for chemistry to help people. This scholarship will allow me to focus on my studies during my final year of university so that I can get into a postgraduate program.
I hope to conduct postgraduate research looking into broadening our understanding of the chemistry associated with a range of protein-based diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
I am incredibly honoured to be chosen as a Pinnacle Foundation scholar. Words can’t quite describe how amazing it feels to have so many members of your community cheering you on in life and wanting you to succeed.
The mentoring program associated with the scholarship will allow me to gain insight into being a proud LGBTQI+ individual in science. I hope that one day I am able to help increase LGBTQI+ representation within science academia.
Trust in your struggle…
After the disowning from my family, friends and home country for being LGBTQI+. I was left disconnected and forced to leave everything behind to find a new life abroad.
Struggling to support myself and create a new life, had me work harder than ever had before however I often missed out on opportunities due to my differences and connection to LGBTQI+ community. At the time it felt like the world was becoming a darker place and with no escape. I became very lost and often unsure if I even wanted to be found again.
Until it happened, I was fortunate to be found by Pinnacle Foundation. They had reignited the spark within myself that had been gone for so long. Affording me the opportunity to live a authentic life and proud member of the LGBTQI+ community.
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela
I only realised how difficult the last few years have been after I received a Pinnacle scholarship.
Before I received the scholarship, I was only just getting by financially and I felt as though no one in my medical degree understood what I was going through.
Being able to talk to my mentor about medicine is invaluable, because before now I had never met a transgender doctor.
Pinnacle’s financial help has allowed me buy educational equipment that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford. I feel much more confident that I can complete my studies.
I am grateful to Pinnacle for believing in me, and look forward to the day when I can sit across from a young transgender patient and say “I believe in you, too”
For a long time, I didn’t know anyone else who was trans like me. I felt isolated, and alone.
This is why I am so excited to be a part of the Pinnacle Foundation family. I have met such a wonderful bunch of LGBTIQ+ young people who are passionate about life and reaching their full potential.
It is assuring to know that there is a program that supports young Queer Australians in pursuing their dreams – giving us access to resources we would not have had otherwise. And, on a more personal level, it means so much to me to know that there are others like me.
I would like to use this Scholarship to help me through my Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Melbourne. In the years to come, I would like to continue generating awareness surrounding the trans community, specifically young people, in the hope that one day trans and gender diverse young people will grow up feeling loved and supported, rather than isolated and alone.
Thank you, Pinnacle Foundation, for your support and generosity.
During my Undergraduate degree I had a tough couple of years that were financially and emotionally difficult.
As I begin my PhD at the University of Melbourne having the financial and emotional support from the Pinnacle Foundation is going to allow me to reach my potential and hopefully light the spark to create a better world for LGBT people.
After the passing of my mum, I quickly learned about the value of helping others. Given my undergraduate background as a HR Major I’m passionate about enhancing the working lives of LGBT people and hope that my research will be able to create not only a better workplace but society for LGBT people. As such Pinnacle isn’t just a scholarship to me but an army of inspiring scholars and family members giving me the ability to deal with anything this PhD has to throw at me.
I feel so privileged grateful and honoured to be on this journey with Pinnacle, my mentor, and fellow scholars.
SA, Chemical Engineering
I am extremely grateful for the Pinnacle Foundation’s support in my future. The Pinnacle family have connected me with inspiring LGBTIQ+ students, professionals and allies from all over the country; role models passionate in achieving equality and successful in their respective fields, despite the adversity they may have faced.
In addition to alleviating financial pressures, the Foundation worked hard to find a mentor with a similar background to mine who understands the experiences of being a fostered Asian gay man, who will be invaluable in assisting me in navigating life, both personally and professionally.
I hope to utilise my skills in the sustainability field and work towards making the world a better, more equal place for all.
Studying my second year of a Bachelor of Education my hope is to become an inspiring Primary School teacher.
I voluntarily manage the non-profit organisation TransFolk of WA – the only peer support service for trans people and their loved ones in Western Australia. In 2018 I undertook specialised suicide prevention training and founded DISCHARGED – Australia’s first ‘Alternatives to Suicide’ peer support group.
The Pinnacle Scholarship has allowed me to undertake further professional training, including developing my knowledge of democratic and progressive education. The Pinnacle professional network has connected me to a national community of inspiring LGBTI people who provide professional insight and empower emerging generations.
In my spare time I like to swim at Perth’s beautiful beaches and collect plants to decorate my home.
We are proud to continue supporting the following returning scholars from 2018: Caitlin Frost, Sam Kroon, Ainsley Mann, Oliver McGrath, Rhian Mordaunt, Harry Norris, Elliot Rentoul, Ricky Stocker-Johns, Max Taylor, Isabel Treacy, and Hannah Worsley
Melbourne Vic Law
The Pinnacle foundation has provided me with unbelievable opportunities through the presentation of this scholarship. The Foundation does such amazing work for young LGBT+ youth, and this scholarship will allow me to speak out in my own community to spread the message that you are not alone in this journey, which is something that Pinnacle continually endorses.
This scholarship has given me the opportunity to continue studying, at a tertiary level, which is something that i am so grateful for. The mentorship program that Pinnacle offers is a great way to get an insight into what you can achieve if you work hard.
Sydney NSW, Bachelor of Laws/Arts
The Pinnacle Foundation does far more than providing financial support to marganlised students. It creates a strong network of talented LGBT+ youth and transforms us into the leaders that will work together to create a world that is safe for all young LGBT+ people; a world in which they are free to grow, learn and thrive.
Without the support of the Pinnacle Foundation, I would not have had amazing opportunities such as being a research assistant at the Aids Council of New South Wales, a member of the Youth Action Council at Wear it Purple and becoming the Vice-President of the Mental Awareness and Health Association. Furthermore, I have been able to communicate with LGBT+ professionals who are excelling in their fields by giving talks at Norton Rose Fullbright, Stockland Group and Thomson Reuters.
My mentor, Alastair, has inspired me to achieve excellence in all aspects of life and has supported me whenever I have faced personal and academic difficulties. The Pinnacle Foundation has made me proud of who I am, which in turn has made me passionate about giving marginalised young people a voice.
Melbourne Vic, Law
I’m very grateful to have been granted a Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship for 2018. As I finish my final year of law, the support the Pinnacle Foundation is providing me is of invaluable assistance as I prepare to enter the legal industry as a graduate.
In particular, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be connected (through the mentor program) with the LGBT+ community within the legal profession. I’m excited to pursue a career in the law and use the skills I gain to advocate for the rights of the vulnerable within my community.
Brisbane Qld Master of Teaching (Science)
The Pinnacle Foundation has provided me with an amazing start to the next stage of my studies. Not only has the financial support alleviated a lot of my stress, the mentoring received by the foundation has helped me immensely. I consider myself so lucky to be associated with a community which celebrates and builds the capabilities of LGBTIQ+ Australians. This experience has made me more socially connected, self-aware and inspired to enact positive change in the world.
Brisbane Qld, Master of teaching
I was surprised and humbled to be receiving the Pinnacle Scholarship this year. Although I think we all face the professional realm with a bit of healthy trepidation, having the support of a mentor in my final few years of study has eased my fears about the future. If so many LGBTIQ+ people have “made it” before me, despite the trials we as a community face, so can I.
The financial assistance from Pinnacle will also help ease my transition from university to professional life in the classroom. Although I love composing music, I’ve always thought it was important to share the joys of music with young people, just like my music teacher did for me. Armed with an arsenal of whiteboard markers, plenty of enthusiasm and a dog-eared copy of Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, I’m excited to see where this year will take me.
Melbourne Vic Bachelor of Education
The Pinnacle Foundation is a big community that welcomes you with open arms to a safe and caring family. I feel so privileged to be apart of such a wonderful foundation that supports and cares for young LGBT+ people. Having a mentor to talk to and let know about the good and bad times is something not many other scholarship foundations have, and it helps to ease the stresses that come along with tertiary studies. Being a member of the LGBT+ community in the past few years has come with adversity that has often affected my studies and having many of the burdens eased and a community of scholars and mentors to fall back on when times are tough makes such a difference to the external stressors of university.
I feel so honoured to be a recipient and voice for the Pinnacle Foundation and all that it stands for in 2018.
Sydney NSW Microbiology
“you never swim in the same ocean twice; its never the same ocean, and its never the same you”
Adelaide SA Bachelor of Arts (History and Cultural Studies)
The Pinnacle Foundation has opened so many doors for me that I would not have been able to access without that support. I have been able to combine two vital parts of myself, that of a passionate student as well as a bisexual young person. Thanks to the foundation, I have been able to explore these intersecting parts of my identity to the fullest. The financial, emotional and academic support I receive as a part of this scholarship is completely invaluable.
Additionally, being granted this scholarship and the mentoring relationship which comes with it has empowered me to have faith in my skills and abilities to reach my full potential. I look forward to continuing with my studies at a higher level; this is certainly in part due to the support of the Pinnacle family, of which I am incredibly grateful to now be a member.
Melbourne Vic Law
Receiving the Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship has been a highlight of my University career. Not only has the foundation given me financial support through my Scholarship, sponsored by SHK Asia Pacific, but also the opportunity to meet amazing people, including my mentor, other scholars and members of the foundation. The combination of financial and personal support has made my final year of university not only less stressful, but is also helping me prepare for life beyond University and the plethora of opportunities which present themselves to me both during my final year and beyond.
Canberra ACT Bachelor of Arts/Science
The Pinnacle Foundation has done more for me than I could ever really put into words. Not only have they helped me move away from home and into the city for uni but they have also given me the support and the encouragement to achieve my dreams. Not only that but I met one of my closest friends through the Pinnacle Foundation and it is a friendship that I will hold close to me for a long time. I hope through the support of Pinnacle I can start my career into the Science community and be a positive role model for younger LGBT+ students.
Geelong Vic HSC
Receiving this scholarship has been the most life changing experience for me, and I am so thankful and happy to be a part of the pinnacle family. The pinnacle Foundation provides more than just financial aid, and the sense of community already developing between current scholars, mentors and Pinnacle members is very valuable to me. Having a scholarship for me means I am able to focus fully on my studies, and gives me a feeling of pride for being part of the lgbtq+ community.
I couldn’t be more thankful to the Pinnacle Foundation team, and will continue to be thankful for the coming year as I study and engage with the queer community.
Melbourne Vic Bachelor of Commerce
Pinnacle has provided a lifeline in furthering our education as LGBTQI+ youth. Not only can we now meet the financial obligations of university, but have also been given mentors who are able to offer invaluable career and personal guidance.
Moving from Coffs Harbour to Melbourne to study Commerce at Monash University has been a huge change in my life, and I’m so grateful to have Pinnacle and all of my fellow scholars by my side.
Canberra ACT Bachelor of Education
As a rural queer person, being awarded a Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship is not only a massive honour, but also a rare and important opportunity to become a part of a supportive LGBTIQ+ organisation. This scholarship takes a great deal of financial pressure off, and allows me to continue activities that make me who I am, such as horse riding, volunteering, visiting home, and involving myself in many extracurricular aspects of university life.
It is such a privilege to be involved with Pinnacle, and to be so well supported in both professional and personal fields. I am so grateful for the support of the Foundation and my mentor, and I feel that I will be able to reach my full potential this year because of this.
Brisbane Qld Medicine
I am very grateful to be awarded a 2018 Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship, and knowing that I have the support and encouragement of the Foundation, and my mentor is invaluable. I am looking forward to being able to use this opportunity to excel in my studies and career path, and work towards improving the health of the LGBTIQ community.
Adelaide SA Medicine
If you’d have told a 14-year-old me he’d be the recipient of a scholarship specifically for Queer Students he’d have never believed you. To be the recipient of Pinnacle Scholarship in 2018 is both incredibly humbling and validating as young gay man. Having moved from the country to Adelaide in 2016 to study Medicine the last two years of my life have been incredible but also immensely difficult, emotionally, physically and financially. To have this scholarship behind me takes some weight off of my shoulders and will allow me to fully dedicate myself to my degree and prepare myself well as I transition into the hospitals and further my training. The support of the Pinnacle Foundation is so immensely important to me and I am honoured to be a part of the family.
Adelaide SA Medicine
I talked myself out of applying for a scholarship 3 years in a row because I thought I wasn’t queer enough or disadvantaged enough. It wasn’t until I was about to start my final year that I decided I truly needed it and now I’m here and cursing my past self for being so worried all of those years.
I am so incredibly grateful to have been welcomed into this beautiful, diverse Pinnacle family. The financial support will get me through my final year of study and that is just wonderful but what I am truly grateful for, and what I really didn’t expect, is the chance to be connected with such an inspiring group of humans from across the country. The Pinnacle Foundation are just a truly spectacular organisation and I am so proud to be one of their 2018 scholars.
Melbourne Vic Law
Being an LGBTIQ student last year was difficult for everyone – and law school sometimes makes hypothetical situations out of very real and traumatic experiences faced by gender-diverse and same-sex attracted people. I’m an old scholar: thankfully, Pinnacle has made my seventh (and final!) year at university far easier to complete than it would have been otherwise. The plan now is to try to help others to the best of my abilities using the knowledge I have about the law and how it operates to protect others (and oppress, too, but I’ll be working on that). Also, I really love dogs and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Nora Zeale Hurston.
Melbourne Vic Bachelor of Information Systems
During my time at Swinburne I came across the Pinnacle Foundation scholarship program which I’m thrilled to be part of. This scholarship will help to alleviate the financial pressure weighing down on me; such as the cost of groceries, textbooks and student fees. This scholarship will not only help me re-direct my income towards other expenses such as fuel, medical costs but also enable me to fully commit to finishing my studies. I hope to use my relationship with the Pinnacle Foundation to form the basis for networking in the Information Technology field and secure the opportunity to work as a Business Analyst one day!
This is only the beginning and I can’t wait to work alongside with the Pinnacle Foundation in achieving my dreams and goals.
I would like to again thank you all for believing in me as you have light the spark inside me!
Sunshine Coast Qld, Psychology
I have never had a community of people around me who were casually and unassumingly accepting and supportive of my identity, so I failed to realise the difference in my life that would make. Yet, Pinnacle has easily offered me this and a mentor whose willing to commit to making time for me to help in my academic goals and aspirations.
I felt incredibly impassioned having met the largest group of other LGBT people in my life. It is much easier to imagine a future where I can be myself and I am immensely grateful to Pinnacle for this, as well as their support.
Melbourne Vic, Cert IV Youth Work
The Pinnacle Foundation is everything I stand for. My current goal through study is to work with LGBTIQ+ youth and I am so grateful for the support from Pinnacle to help me achieve that. Not only the financial assistance but the community of mentors and other scholars that come along for the ride.
I live my life adjacent to the magical world of Harry Potter and so I enter my schooling year with his words as a constant reminder for if I start to doubt myself. ‘I know some things, I can, you know, do math and stuff.’-Harry James Potter
Brisbane Qld Physiotherapy
It is both an honour and a privilege to been named a 2018 Pinnacle Foundation scholar. Foundations like Pinnacle are changing the lives of young LGBT+ people, like myself, across Australia. My scholarship will substantially lessen the financial burden of university study, thereby allowing me to fully dedicate myself to my studies and clinical placements over the coming year. Moreover, I am confident that the academic and emotional support of my mentor will prove invaluable as I pursue my dream career of Sports Physiotherapy. As the country continues to strive for equality, it is exciting to know that foundations like Pinnacle are having such positive impacts on young LGBT+ peoples’ lives.
Sunshine Coast Qld, Bachelor of Science (Psychology & Criminology)
The support the Pinnacle Foundation has given me is immeasurable. The financial aspect of the scholarship has allowed me to focus on my degree and mental health in a way that I definitely wouldn’t have been able to otherwise and has made my life so much easier.
The biggest impact it has had on me though is the feeling of community and connectedness. Coming from a small country town I have never had the opportunity to have a network of people around me that are so accepting and understanding of me. Being surrounded by such unapologetic queerness has given me so much more confidence in myself and who I really am. Thank you Pinnacle, you have done so much for me, and for many other young people
Perth WA, Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing)
I am deeply honoured to be a 2018 Pinnacle Scholar. For the first time in my studies, I am able to focus on working toward the best possible grades without financial barriers. Unfortunately, here in WA, it is still difficult to be a trans person at university, but I know I have the support of the Pinnacle family behind me when I face challenges.
I am so glad to have connected with a community of other young LGBTIQ+ scholars from across the country, and an industry mentor who has been so willing to offer guidance and industry connections. I am so much closer to a career in my dream industry than I could ever have had without the Pinnacle Foundation’s support.
We are proud to support our returning scholars from 2017: Angel Star St James, Jordan Brown, Wade Goldwyer, Cody Luke, Harrison Norris, Brandon Saputra, Rhiannon Harris, Cai Mia Langford, Alex Bradford, Axel Rose, Lara Tonkin, Joel Wilson
Albury NSW, Bachelor Podiatric Medicine
I am incredibly grateful and honoured to be a recipient of a Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship. It is amazing to know that there are institutions like the Pinnacle Foundation who are willing and able to provide financial and mental support to myself and other LGBT+ youth, as the obstacles we can face can prevent us from becoming our best. The financial support alone will help lift an immense burden this year as I undertake four months of external placements. This scholarship will enable me to dedicate more time and energy towards focusing on my clinical experience which will allow myself to develop into a more prepared and confident health professional. There is no doubt that this year will be stressful at times as I come closer to completing my degree, but to know that I have the support from my partner, the Pinnacle Foundation and have the guidance and advice of a Mentor who is a professional in Podiatry will help keep me on track towards success.
Sydney NSW, Bachelor Arts (Sociology)
I am incredibly honoured in being chosen to receive a Pinnacle Scholarship. Receiving the scholarship will allow me to do better in my studies by taking away some of the financial burdens associated with university. This will make the overall year less stressful for me, which in turn enables me to focus on my education goals with more motivation and clarity.
As the Scholarship does not just provide financial aid, I look forward to further developing my personal skills through the Foundation and engagement with my mentor. I hope that the things I learn will in the future assist me in helping out the LGBT+ community and that one day I can inspire those that have been in my position to achieve their goals.
Sydney NSW, Bachelor Arts/Applied Science (Hons)
I am extremely honoured and grateful to become a scholar for the Pinnacle Foundation. This scholarship has given me opportunities I never thought possible allowing me to overcome so much of the stress that comes with attending university during a very turbulent time in my life.
The Pinnacle Foundation has opened many doors for me, especially through the mentorship program, and I am extremely excited to meet my new mentor and building a long-lasting relationship. I am determined to use these opportunities to the best of my ability, and hopefully I can make a difference in both the Scientific, and LGBT+ community.
Melbourne VIC, Bachelor Nursing
I have so much gratitude and I am extremely humbled to be selected as one out of few people to be receiving the 2017 Pinnacle Foundation scholarship. Living in a society that can be at times daunting for LGBT+ youth, It is refreshing to see organisations such as the Pinnacle Foundation aid queer youth like myself in times of need.
With the bursary I am able to have 100% commitment to studies and achieve academic excellence in a field that I hold close to my heart- nursing. The mentorship program that I have been granted will enable me to find acceptance within myself and develop further my confidence. Thank you, Pinnacle Foundation, again and again for this amazing opportunity to allow myself to become the best person I can be!
Regional NSW, Bachelor Creative Arts
I like to tell stories and create the worlds they live in. I am a studying artist and designer in Wollongong, Australia. For me the Pinnacle Foundation scholarship and mentorship is a chance to make my art and design study more accessible and serves as means to connect with my community – the LGBT+ community through mentoring relationships, the people I meet and experiences I have as a member of the Pinnacle family. I understand what Pinnacle stands for in helping LGBT+ youth, these values resonate with my perspective. I see a better future in a society that communicates about broader identity and tells more stories about how normal it is, to be a little different. With the help of a professional mentor and the financial aid that the scholarship provides, I am better prepared for my journey to find my passion and make a difference in our ever-changing society.
Sydney NSW, Bachelor Law/Communications
During a time where I am fully discovering myself, I feel that receiving this scholarship not only supports my education, but also my identity as I enter a new and exciting chapter of my life. The Pinnacle Foundation provides the educational, financial and well-being encouragement of LGBT+ students. Coming from a rural area, this was something that I had missed out on.
For me, receiving this scholarship has been incredibly reassuring, recognising the struggles that I and many other queer teens have during their high schooling. The Pinnacle Foundation lets me know that I am not in this alone, and that there are many others just like me who because of their sexual identity, struggle to reach their full potential as a student.
Sydney NSW, Bachelor of Arts
The support of the Pinnacle Foundation has not only incomparably improved my financial situation, making university study possible, but shown me a pathway forwards as an LGBT+ scholar. My mentor is a living representation of the potential of young LGBT+ people like myself. The existence of the Foundation gives such an inspiring, hopeful perspective on the world, and the changes in how LGBT+ people are treated, in both awareness and in opportunity. It is an honour and a privilege to be involved with the Foundation.
Brisbane Qld, Bachelor of Arts (Honours)/Economics
I never thought a scholarship program like the program run by the Pinnacle Foundation would exist, let alone that I would be fortunate enough to be a part of it. The financial, professional, and personal benefits provided by the Pinnacle Foundation, as well as my Pinnacle Mentor, will be invaluable as I pursue an Honours Degree in English Literature at the University of Queensland.
The scholarship will enable me to continue to volunteer during my honours year whilst still being able to focus on my studies. I am very grateful and humbled by the recognition and support.
Melbourne Vic, Final year VCE
I am studying year 12 VCE this year. I am studying biology, sociology, psychology, general English and health & human development. I only heard about the Pinnacle Foundation in 2016 and immediately wanted to apply. I am truly grateful to be given the financial and educational support the Foundation provides. It has been difficult at school as I am a guy at a “girls” school, I came out in late 2014 and since then all of the school has been supportive of my transition and my gender identity. The scholarship will help lift financial stress off not just mine but my family’s shoulders and I will be able to apply as much effort as I possibly can to my studies.
Adelaide SA, Bachelor Marketing/Communications
This Pinnacle scholarship is such a wonderful opportunity in gaining support to enable me to achieve my goals. As it would be my personal legend to make something out of myself and to prove to people that anyone has the potential, that we are all equally capable and that it only takes willingness and perseverance; regardless of skin colour, creed, language or preferences. I see this as a chance to fulfill a statement that we are all empowered to make a difference.
Canberra ACT, Bachelor Science
I feel extremely honoured to be a 2017 recipient of the Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship. The past few years have presented me with numerous challenges whilst coming out and transitioning. As such, this scholarship will not only relieve some of the financial burden of being an independent transgender university student but will allow me to excel further in my studies and continue to give back to the community that has guided and helped me many times in the past.
I am very excited to be given the opportunity to make strong connections within the professional LGBT+ community whilst also being guided by my mentor through my academic pursuits in mathematics and beyond. My goal is that this scholarship will ultimately place me in a position which will allow me to continue contributing to our Australian LGBT+ community.
Brisbane Qld, Bachelor Law & Bachelor Commerce
Brisbane Qld, Bachelor Law & Bachelor Commerce
Moving from Regional Queensland and undertaking a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Commerce degree, there are many expected emotional and financial adversities which will arise. Being awarded a Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship will enable me to focus on my studies, by easing foreseeable financial hardships. Furthermore, having the emotional support and guidance from a mentor will add to my support network and allow me to excel while undertaking tertiary education.
I wish to thank the Pinnacle Foundation for creating an environment to support LGBT+ people in their endeavours, as too many would not be able to achieve their potential without Pinnacle’s support. Moreover, being awarded this scholarship will give me the opportunity to fulfill my academic goals, as well as benefit from continued personal growth and become a better member of the LGBT+ community.
We are also proud to support our Returning Scholars for 2017; Alex Bradford, Angel St James, Arlyn Swain, Brandon Saputra, Caitlan Langford, Caitlyn Georgeson, Darby Savage, Harry Koelyn, Jennifer Chen, Katherine Reed, Rhiannon Harris, Shae Nicholson, Taryn Dorrough, Valerie Nizette-Wiseman, and Wade Goldwyer.
South Australia, Bachelor of Nursing
I am in my final year of Bachelor of Nursing at Flinders University. I enjoy helping people and the interactions that I have with people. Nursing to me is more than just a job. It is about helping people and the community. The scholarship will facilitate my growth as a person. The mentorship will allow me to become a better member of the LGBT+ community. With the assistance of the Pinnacle Foundation, I will be able to successfully complete my final year at University. The Pinnacle Foundation has been enabling and worthwhile for me, which I would recommend to other LGBT+ students.
Sydney NSW, Bachelor of Law and Commerce
It has been incredibly difficult for me this year as I was outed to my conservative, religious parents and even now they continue to reject my sexual identity. It was during this period of my life that I felt isolated, alone and mentally exhausted. However, organisations like the Pinnacle Foundation have given me hope that society is moving towards greater support and acceptance of the LGBT+ community. It is a great privilege to be selected as a scholar for the Pinnacle Foundation. This opportunity will allow me to fully pursue my education and dreams of becoming a lawyer, minus the concerns of financial issues. I also know that this support from the Pinnacle Foundation will provide me with the necessary emotional encouragement so to continue advocating for greater change and equality with the LGBT+ Community.
Shae Maree Nicholson
ACT, Bachelor of Science and Arts, Majoring in Psychology at the Australian National University
When I found out about the Pinnacle Foundation I never believed that I could actually be a Scholar, I thought that I would give it a shot and hope. When I completed my interview, I was almost certain that I wasn’t going to get it, many words of doubt rose in my mind and the financial stress of the upcoming year settled in. After I received the call that I had been granted the scholarship I burst into tears I was so happy, because of the Pinnacle Foundation I will be able to work towards my degree with the best of my ability. There are no words for the gratitude and admiration for what the Pinnacle Foundation has done for me and I am so excited to be a part of the Pinnacle Family.
Sydney NSW, Bachelor of Commerce
What drew me to the Pinnacle Foundation is its unique opportunity for LGBT+ youth. Not only will the scholarship provide me with financial aid that will go a long way in helping me acclimatise to my first year in Uni but the Foundation also conducts a mentorship program.
Having already met my mentor, I know that this will be a valuable relationship as he is someone who can provide personal insights and advice on challenges that I may encounter in my upcoming year. It is also worth mentioning that the continual effects of the Pinnacle Foundation raises awareness of the disadvantages faced by LGBT+ youth and in doing so promotes ideas of acceptance and tolerance.
Angel St James
Vic/Sunshine Coast QLD Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Creative Writing/Journalism/Sociology
In 2016, I was humbled and honoured to be welcomed into the Pinnacle family. I am incredibly excited for another year brimming with possibility as this scholarship continues to enable me to fully focus on my studies and becoming the person I need to be to pursue my dreams and make a difference in the world. I remain eternally grateful for my mentor, whose continued support is invaluable, and is instrumental in developing my confidence and belief in myself. Truthfully, I cannot express the depth of my gratitude to the Pinnacle Foundation for this opportunity of a lifetime and for its remarkable, inspiring work for the LGBTQ+ community.
Melbourne Vic, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Global Studies (double degree)
I am extremely grateful and feel truly blessed to receive the Pinnacle scholarship for 2016. It means so much to me that there’s someone out there that are very willing to support my education and overall my livelihood. Over the past years, I wasn’t able to fully cope with school and university due to my health. Getting access to a medical specialist was quite financial consuming. With this financial assistance, I believe I can get back to my student life on track and make my studies a bigger priority, instead of worrying whether I can pay for my university stuff or my next doctor appointment. Also having a mentor and being part of the Pinnacle family gives me great hope in achieving my goals and dreams that I set out to accomplish and gives me great assurance that my mentor and the Pinnacle Foundation are out there to give me support and guidance. Thank you so much Pinnacle Foundation for this amazing opportunity.
ACT, Bachelor of Psychology (Honours)
2015 was the hardest year of my life. I was trying to manage various personal issues arising in my life due to my identity as well as navigating the stresses of university and working to completely support myself out of home. My identity has had a huge impact on my ability to dedicate myself fully to study. Unfortunately, this is a common experience in the queer community. Too many queer youth are homeless due to familial conflicts due to their identity and unfortunately this impacts their ability to manage their study commitments.
The Pinnacle Foundation is doing incredible work supporting young students and I feel honoured to have received a scholarship for 2016. The financial aid will help me to pay for study essentials as I continue studying Psychology and relieve the stress of financial hardship. Additionally, the mentorship program will be tremendous help for me in formulating my future and ensuring I get that Master’s degree. With the support from the Pinnacle Foundation, my year is going to be less stressful and I’ll be able to achieve my academic goals.
NSW, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Economics (double degree)
As a CommBank Pinnacle Scholar I am being backed by 2 organizations that have a dedicated interest in the welfare of LGBT+ Australians. This award is an investment in my future – it gives me a lot of confidence to be acknowledged as having the potential to create a positive impact for LGBT+ rights.
The Pinnacle Foundation has opened this door for me, and with their support, I look forward to continuing university education and increasing my involvement in the queer community in 2016. I have a particular interest in raising the awareness of PrEP treatment, and under guidance from a mentor, start discussing diversity in my workplace.
NSW, Bachelor of Financial Planning and Graduate Diploma of Chartered Accountancy
I feel very fortunate to have received a scholarship from the Pinnacle Foundation as it will allow me to focus on establishing my career and also focus on my post graduate studies with little financial strain for my upfront education fees. Having a mentor from the industry to offer support and guidance to help me stay focused in what will be my most challenging but exciting year, not only academically but personally, and in my career is a comfort I wasn’t sure i would achieve. Having a mentor to discuss strategies in dealing with work/study loads, career goals whilst finding time for myself and my partner is going to be an enormous help and something I am very grateful for. Pinnacle is truly an inspirational group offering a network to a community of people who are often in need of support particularly at this young adult stage of life & i can only hope that one day in the near future I can join as a mentor and offer the same help and support they will give myself as a scholar in 2016.
Sydney NSW, Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Psychology
Being a scholar for the Pinnacle Foundation has not only relieved the financial stress related to university expenses but has increased my motivation to do better with my degree; knowing that I am supported by such an organisation and will have a mentor to provide assistance and direction this upcoming year. It has made me believe that I am more than capable of achieving my goals and has improved the confidence I have towards my studies, which I am very thankful for.
NSW, Bachelor of Media and Communications (Journalism
Having the privilege of being awarded this scholarship means more than words can express. Moving to a different state, far away from everything that I know is a huge and daunting step and knowing that I have the Foundation behind me will allow me to relax and focus during this important and exciting stage of my life.
Melbourne Vic, Bachelor of Clinical Science (Osteopathy)
I am incredibly grateful to the Pinnacle team for their consideration and selection of me as a scholar. Having previously received a scholarship whilst undertaking a different course, I’m humbled and proud to have their ongoing support as I figure out what I want to do with my studies.
This year I am particularly looking forward to building a relationship with my mentor, and hopefully gaining insights into life as a trans person beyond study. It is a fantastic feeling to be awarded a Pinnacle Scholarship and I’m thoroughly looking forward to my year ahead.
QLD, Bachelor of Science and Business Management
I am extremely grateful and honoured to have been chosen as a recipient of the Pinnacle Foundation’s Manikay Partners scholarship. The ongoing support of the Pinnacle Foundation has been invaluable to furthering my education. As well as providing me with essential study materials the scholarship has allowed me to purchase things such as a bike, greatly reducing my travel time to Uni, and a desk, providing me with a designated study space. Without these resources my first year of university would have been much more difficult.
Having the support of my mentor the past year has also made the transition to university easier. They have been able to provide perspective and guidance, even in areas where it was unexpected, and I look forward to continuing to build our relationship in the coming year.
Adelaide South Australia, Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies
I feel incredibly grateful to have received a Pinnacle scholarship. This enables me to work towards my future goals in a secure and enriching environment. Pinnacle does an amazing job of equipping young people with the tools to succeed, and I am looking forward to the opportunities have ahead of me to study without the huge financial burden that comes with being a student. Possibly the most exciting aspect of being selected as a Pinnacle Scholar, is that I am being given the skills that will help other young queer people in the future.
Sydney NSW, Masters of Clinical Counselling
The Pinnacle Foundation has surpassed the expectations of a scholarship. In addition to providing financial aid to assist in the continuation of my education, it has played a vital role in creating both a well-being and social support network. The Foundation provides opportunities for professional development through mentorships and fosters further networking within our LGBT+ community. Without the support from The Pinnacle Foundation, I would not have the opportunity to prosper academically, socially, and emotionally.
Sydney NSW, Bachelor of Arts
Receiving the Pinnacle Scholarship for me is an enormous privilege. I am grateful for the Pinnacle Foundation’s support and encouragement of sexually and gender diverse youth, such as myself.
This scholarship has taken a large amount of financial stress off my shoulders; so that I can be successful in focusing on achieving my goals in tertiary study. The most exciting part of being a Pinnacle Scholar is being guided by a mentor and being surrounded by a community with shared experience. I am thrilled to be starting the year; and look forward to working hard to live up to the values of the Pinnacle Foundation.
We are also proud to support our Returning Scholars for 2016: Caitlyn Georgeson Rhiannon Harris, Brendon Hori, Erik Ly, Darby Savage, Nicholas Tarpey, Daniel Wang
Lesbian (details withheld for privacy)
Bachelor of Arts at University
I feel truly blessed to have been allowed the opportunity for a better standard of living with the help of the Pinnacle Foundation.
I was at first hesitant at sharing my story and enlisting the help of the Pinnacle Foundation. I tried to talk myself out of applying, that I could get through it on my own like I always have… But I did something different. I took a risk. And it paid off in a big way. I cannot explain what it means to me that people believe in my future and have judged me worthy of this fantastic opportunity. With the help of Pinnacle, I’ll be able to afford my textbooks and new equipment to further my studies and achieve the best out of my university career. I’ll also be able to abolish some of the barriers that I have lived with for a majority of my life and be able to realise my true potential. I wish to establish a career in my chosen discipline, before going on to inspire other Muslim LGBT+ youths to be more open and honest about their sexuality, at least to themselves, and not allow it to limit their life. I want to devote my life to making sure that no one goes through what I went through because of my sexuality, both as a young child and a young adult.
It’s not wrong to be who you are and to love who you love, no matter what anyone tells you.
Melbourne Vic, Bachelor of Nursing at Australian Catholic University
I feel incredibly grateful and lucky to receive a scholarship from The Pinnacle Foundation. Having a group of people recognise how important my education is to me and taking me on as a Scholar means a tremendous amount.
The financial assistance for educational expenses and equipment will break down some of the difficulties associated with studying and will provide me with the best opportunity for success. The Pinnacle Foundation’s support means I can focus on my studies as my first priority, instead of worrying about financial constraints to purchase textbooks and equipment required for classes. Also, to be mentored by a successful LGBT+ identified person who is working in a discipline I am interested in, really creates confidence and provides an invaluable experience. This scholarship will enable me to succeed with my goals and has shown me that hard work and perseverance pays off. I’m very much looking forward to getting started with my course and mentor. Thank you so much to The Pinnacle Foundation for creating such a fantastic opportunity for the LGBT+ community.
Adelaide, SA, Bachelor of Science (Space Science and Astrophysics)
I’m extremely grateful to the Pinnacle Foundation for giving me this scholarship and allowing me to continue with my studies with financial security that is so necessary in a student’s life. Managing both university life and a community-based production fortnightly show is difficult, but well worth the reward, and the Pinnacle Foundation are whole heartedly furthering me with their generosity.
Giving me a mentor will also keep me grounded which I believe is something so essential in a student’s life and I think everybody at some point in their life would love a bit of guidance from someone who’s been through it all, and the Pinnacle Foundation are providing that which I’m ever so thankful for. So, I’ll just say this, thank you Pinnacle Foundation, you are an amazing group of people.
Sydney NSW, Bachelor of Arts
The Pinnacle Foundation has filled my coming university year with exciting prospects and opportunities. I feel privileged and incredibly lucky to have been chosen as a scholar and am particularly excited to build my relationship with my mentor in the coming year. Thanks to my scholarship I now have the ability to purchase a laptop along with textbooks and other university equipment. Pinnacle really is leading the way in breaking down the barriers that queer students face in their ability to access higher education.
Perth WA, Bachelor of Arts
With the Pinnacle Foundation supporting me in my journey, I don’t believe there will be much I won’t achieve. Being backed by such an inspiring Foundation, one that really helps students (including myself) reach the pinnacle of their personal and educational success, is an opportunity I am so thankful to be given. I am delighted to be chosen as one of the Pinnacle Scholars for 2015. This opportunity will have an extremely positive impact on my move to Sydney and my studies at the University of New South Wales. The feelings I have towards the Pinnacle Foundation are those of gratitude and admiration. What a way to start the year!
Dubbo NSW, Bachelor of Social Work
To be awarded this scholarship from The Pinnacle Foundation means more than words can express. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone, and I am honoured and privileged to be chosen. The scholarship will allow me to fully commit myself to my studies without the financial burden that would be otherwise placed on me. In addition, the mentor program will allow me to further develop and learn skills that will allow me to excel in my chosen field.
Newcastle NSW, Bachelor of Science/Engineering (Hons) (Telecommunications)
Being awarded a Pinnacle scholarship for 2015 has done a great deal to help me achieve my ambitions of tertiary education whilst also providing the social and emotional support of a mentor in my chosen field of study. This scholarship has allowed me to discover and explore Uni life without the stress of study related expenses such as textbooks and equipment, as well as provided continued motivation and opportunity to advocate for LGBT+ issues and rights that I believe in. The Pinnacle Foundation’s support has meant that I now have the resources to achieve my dreams and for that I am truly grateful.
Melbourne Vic, Bachelor of Communication (Advertising)
I feel privileged to receive a Pinnacle scholarship for 2015. It is without question that this opportunity will create boundless opportunities to network with many people from a variety of different backgrounds within the LGBT+ community, whilst also easing the financial pressures that are associated with studying away from home, that are inevitable to anyone from a rural background such as myself. This support is vital for rural LGBT+ youth, who often face different pressures and issues throughout their youth and study time. Pinnacle has provided me with the opportunity of a lifetime, and I cannot wait to harness this opportunity throughout 2015 and the years beyond.
Perth, WA Bachelor of Arts (Archaeology)
I am truly grateful for being awarded a most needed scholarship by the Pinnacle Foundation. It means the world to me and will allow me to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming an Archaeologist (aka. The next Indiana Jones!). Being born and raised in a strictly cultured third world country has allowed me to realise what a privilege it is living in Australia, a country with so much more to offer. As I do not have a large family, I consider Australia to be my home and am now fortunate enough to be a part of the Pinnacle family. I feel extremely privileged to have been given this fantastic opportunity in life and will endeavour to succeed to the best of my abilities. Thank you so much 🙂
Rockhampton/Brisbane Qld, Bachelor of Design (Honours)
Receiving a scholarship from the Pinnacle Foundation meant a great deal to me, a lot more than just receiving financial aid. It meant an amazing education, a lifestyle that I want and the realisation of my dream profession. It meant that I can be the person I need to, and it meant that I can make a difference. I’d like to think I’d be able to accomplish all of those things regardless of the Pinnacle Foundation’s involvement, simply because I have faith in myself. But at times when that faith weathers, and money could have been tough, or I could have been feeling all alone, it’s reassuring to know that those things will never be an issue. Because receiving the Pinnacle Foundation scholarship meant that I have a mentor who is dedicated to giving me support and it meant that a whole organisation has faith in me, so much so that they’re willing to put their money behind me. And that is why this scholarship is priceless to me.
North Tasmania, Year 13 Don College
I am truly grateful and humbled at being selected as a recipient for an education scholarship from The Pinnacle Foundation for another year. The financial aid provided will alleviate the financial burdens associated with studying full-time at university, allowing me to apply myself to my studies without having to worry if it will be affordable. It is a great privilege to be selected as a scholar for The Pinnacle Foundation, and I cannot thank the Foundation enough for their ongoing support in my academic career.
Vic, Victorian VCE
I really didn’t think that the Pinnacle Foundation would take into consideration my application even though I had known about the Foundation for quite a while, until one of my referees said to me that I should totally apply for it. I feel very grateful and honoured that the Pinnacle Foundation believes in me and has given me such an amazing opportunity, to not only do my best in year 12 but also create an opportunity for me to meet other talented young Pinnacle scholars. Being awarded this scholarship will definitely help lift financial pressure off my shoulders. Now I can pay for school fees, books and stationery that I need without having to worry about running short of money every time. I cannot thank the Pinnacle Foundation enough for giving me such a wonderful resource, for helping me do my best at school and to achieve my academic goals.
Melbourne Vic, Bachelor of Arts/Business
The Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship has given me the most invaluable gift I could have ever asked for; the funds, freedom, and support to be able to leave a rural area and start a great degree. The Foundation has been paramount in changing the lives of so many young Australians and I am absolutely honoured to be another part of it, and to receive the amazing opportunities the scholarship provides. Having such an inspirational mentor has strengthened my drive to achieve in both an academic and professional sense.
Sydney NSW, Bachelor of Arts/Law
The vital support of the Pinnacle Foundation at this time in my academic career has been an overwhelming privilege to receive. This generous scholarship will not only help to relieve the financial burden of my full-time studies but will also provide me with a mentor who will help to foster my development as both a student and as a member of the LGBT+ community. I look forward to working with such a remarkable foundation in 2015.
We are also proud to support our Returning Scholars for 2015; Ben Nielson, Brendon Hori, Caitlyn Georgeson, Daniel Wang, Dibs Barisic Sprem, Josh Lavery, Laura Partington, Max Cooper, Nathan Watts, Nicholas Tarpey, Reece Rowe and Renee Pope.
Sydney, NSW, Bachelor of Architecture
I feel incredibly fortunate and privileged to have received a scholarship from the Pinnacle Family. Words cannot describe how much it means to have people believe in my future and think me worthy of such a fantastic opportunity. The financial assistance for my educational expenses will mean that some of the barriers I would have had are eliminated and this really puts me on an even playing field in achieving the best I can. More importantly, to be mentored by a gay person who is doing exceptionally well and making a difference in the discipline I too am interested in, really creates a sense of ambition and aspiration for me. I hope that one day, I too can inspire other LGBT+ young adults and make a difference to people’s lives. Thank you so very much.
Melbourne, Vic, Associate Degree in Design (Furniture)
The Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship has enabled me to have a flying start to my year. Not only has the financial support helped alleviate some of the stresses of beginning study, but the confidence I’ve gained in my abilities through the application and mentor process has been invaluable. It is also a huge honour to be awarded a Pinnacle Scholarship, and to be recognised for my achievements even before starting my course makes me feel extremely competent and validated as a scholar.
Sydney, NSW, Master of Arts (Journalism)
It is a pleasure to continue my relationship with the Pinnacle Foundation during my final year of tertiary education. Pinnacle has played an integral role over the past several years: providing text books, musical equipment, professional development opportunities, and of course facilitating my mentorships with Lachlan Philpott and Matt Gilbertson. When I don mortarboard and gown at the end of the year, it will largely be due to the invaluable support of the Pinnacle Foundation.
Brisbane, Qld, Bachelor of Education (Secondary)
I feel truly honoured to be awarded a scholarship for 2014 from the Pinnacle Foundation.
For me to be considered and accepted for the Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship, gave me a sense of feeling worthwhile in the eyes of society. The Scholarship will allow me to access the resources and materials to help me achieve, and the mentor program will give me the guidance and assistance to excel in my field of study.
Without the support from the Pinnacle Foundation, I would have had a difficult time accessing the cost of attending university and in turn this opportunity has boosted my confidence and self-esteem in my abilities.
I have been afforded the chance to make a difference with this scholarship, not only in the lives of people around me but in the community at large; regardless of where my studies take me I know I will have been a leader in the community enacting change and promoting equity.
Adelaide, SA, Bachelor of Arts (Advanced)
In 2013 Pinnacle enabled me to focus on my studies in a way that would not have seemed possible to me without the scholarship. I was able to stop counting every cent, and my ability to take advantage of the opportunities offered to me was hugely increased. The quality of my work improved because I could focus on it, and I had a much richer experience academically and socially than I would have without the support of everyone at Pinnacle, especially my mentor.
Melbourne, Vic, Bachelor of Arts (Music)
Receiving this scholarship from the Pinnacle Foundation is like a dream come true! Knowing that I have the support I need to get through my degree is such a relief and a weight of my mind! I am so grateful to the Pinnacle Foundation for all of their support from financial support, to mentor support as well. I’m so glad to be working with Pinnacle again this year!
Canberra, ACT, Bachelor of Science (Advanced) (Hons)
Growing up gay, and what it represented, always had a stigma attached to it. Knowing however the Pinnacle Foundation is behind me, supporting me for what and who I am, and what I believe, is something that I never thought possible.
With the Foundation’s assistance, I will be able to better concentrate on my future studies rather than worrying about when, and if, I will be able to attain the essential resources I need for university. I am so grateful for what The Pinnacle Foundation has provided for me.
Melbourne Vic, Bachelor of Law
The Pinnacle Foundation’s support means that I can finally put my education first and strive towards my ambitions without being held back due to financial difficulties and a lack of support. This scholarship will enable me to succeed as it has shown me that hard work and persistence does pay off even in difficult times. I’m truly honoured to have been recognised by such an organisation and for them to provide such opportunities that I shall forever remain grateful for.
Melbourne Vic, Bachelor of Fashion Design
I cannot communicate the difference that this scholarship will make to my life. Not only will it ensure that I am able to start my academic career with the same opportunities as others, it will mean that I am able to commence my studies stress free. The additional benefit of a mentor is just wonderful. Thanks to this scholarship I am now so excited to embark on this next phase of my life!
Adelaide SA, Bachelor of Teaching/Arts
I’ll never forget the feeling of absolute awe and disbelief when I found out I had been selected as a 2014 Pinnacle Scholar. It is such an honour and a privilege, and for me it is life changing. As an activist and a young member of the LGBT+ community I have so many visions for the future, and with the help of Pinnacle and my mentor I can strive to achieve my goals and help make the world a better place for young people struggling with their identity and sexuality. I am so thankful for this opportunity and am looking forward to a fantastic year of learning and experience ahead.
Perth WA, Bachelor of Literary & Cultural Studies (Hons)
It took me until the second year of university to admit that I needed help along the way. This scholarship not only means that I can receive the support that will enable me to finish strong in my final year, it also showed me that trusting others by asking for help is not always a bad thing. I’ve worked extremely hard to get where I am today and to have that recognized by the Pinnacle Foundation makes me thankful in ways that words cannot describe.
Adelaide SA, Bachelor of Law/Arts
The vital support of the Pinnacle Foundation at this time in my academic career has been an overwhelming privilege to receive. This generous scholarship will not only help to relieve the financial burden of my full-time studies but will also provide me with a mentor who will help to foster my development as both a student and as a member of the LGBT+ community. I look forward to working with such a remarkable foundation in 2014.
Melbourne Vic, Diploma of Alcohol/Mental Health
I’m completely honoured and grateful to the Pinnacle Foundation for not just the financial support but also the opportunity to work with a mentor. Most of the time my anxiety and insecurities get the best of me, having someone that can both keep me on track and educate me in the field is a vital asset to both my studies and confidence.
This opportunity will help me gain the right knowledge I need to help support and tackle the serious issues of youth mental and physical health in today’s society. Thank you, Pinnacle Foundation, this would be difficult without your support.
Sydney NSW, Diploma of Commerce
I graciously accept this scholarship as it an honour to be granted it. I believe with it, as well as the support from The Pinnacle Foundation and my mentor; that it will help me reach my full potential for this year and set up a promising path for the future.
Bendigo, Vic, Bachelor of Education
To be considered for a Pinnacle scholarship is humbling, to actually receive a scholarship is amazing. The scholarship means I will be able to concentrate on my studies and have access to the best resources. Having access to the internet will enable me to engage with the queer community outside of my town. I am grateful to The Pinnacle Foundation to all the assistance they have given me in achieving my goals.
Melbourne Vic, Bachelor of Arts (International Community Development)
When I came out as a Queer-identifying country boy four years ago, I could never have fathomed that there was an organisation giving scholarships to LGBT+ students. Receiving this honour has changed my life beyond any quantifiable measure as it has proved that there is tangible support out there for someone like me and it validated my journey through this world.
I am so blessed to have access to the resources that the Pinnacle Foundation has given me, especially the chance to meet other Queer scholars and Mentors that have been where I am right now. I encourage any scholar in the LGBT+ community to go for their dreams and let the Pinnacle Foundation help them on the way.
Burnie Tas, Certificate of Business
Being awarded the Pinnacle Foundations Scholarship for 2014 has given me the opportunity to further pursue my career goals through study. The Pinnacle Foundation has lifted the burden of financial pressure off my back and allowed me to focus wholly on my education, ensuring I have the support from my mentor and the Pinnacle ‘family’ along the way to achieve the best possible academic results.
We are also proud to support our Returning Scholars for 2014; Audrey Cremer, Veronica Mason, Tanisha Devene, Lee Taube, Dibs Barisic-Sprem, Laura Partington, Lauren Sanford, Ashton Brenton & Nicholas Tarpey
New South Wales, Bachelor of Dental Science
New South Wales, Bachelor of Dental Science
The continued support of the Pinnacle Foundation is an amazing and generous opportunity to focus on the ever-increasing difficulty and immersion that my course requires. Developing my practical skills and knowledge steadily over the last couple of years has been made possible with the equipment, textbooks and opportunities required, that would have been otherwise out of my reach, and for this I am eternally grateful. I am a better student, dentist and person for having been a Pinnacle Scholar.
NSW, Bachelor of Ecology
The support of the Pinnacle Foundation is a vital hand in the dark for me, as it is for many other students. It’s wonderful to know that there is an organisation looking out for people like me, and I am extremely grateful to have been chosen to be supported by them. Without their help, I would struggle to make it to university to study the course I have been looking forward to since early high school. Having the Pinnacle Foundation behind me this year will boost my confidence and resolve to achieve great things and give back to the community in the future.
Melbourne, VIC, Bachelor of Fine
I am super honoured and excited to be awarded such an important scholarship. It is really going to help me excel and complete my studies. I think it is super important to support people who have barriers in accessing education and the stability and resources required to see that education through. The Pinnacle Foundation have identified the need for more support for LGBTIQ+ youth and education. Keep up the good work!
SA, Bachelor of Music & Bachelor of Media
It is humbling to be chosen by the Pinnacle Foundation as a 2013 scholar, and thus an ambassador for LGBT+ youth. The Foundation’s assistance is a validation of my efforts, ambitions, and ultimately my worth as a member of the community. It is reassuring and empowering that the difficulties facing LGBT+ youth are recognised and that a scholarship has been designed specifically for us. The Pinnacle Foundation has made a generous investment at a pivotal time in my course. The scholarship will alleviate the collective pressures of living and study expenses, allowing me to focus on my study and professional development. I look forward to collaborating with my mentor, as well as purchasing essential musical equipment.
Adelaide, SA, Bachelor of Arts (Advanced)
I’m looking forward to the year ahead, and this is greatly enhanced by the opportunities that the Pinnacle Scholarship will offer me. The financial benefits will be enormously helpful, but even more than that I look forward to having the chance to work with an experienced mentor who will be an invaluable source of guidance and wisdom in an important year of my undergraduate study.
Victoria, VCE at Adult Education Centre
Receiving this scholarship from The Pinnacle Foundation has not only taken the added pressure of financial stress out of my studies for 2013 but has also motivated me to do my absolute best to exceed what is expected of me. Without having to worry about being able to afford school fees and the other expenses that are necessary to complete my VCE, I can focus on my studies and pursuing my goals for the future! I can’t begin to express my appreciation for the immense opportunity that The Pinnacle Foundation has provided me with, but I will thank them for every piece of success I achieve in my career.
Melbourne, Bachelor of Arts
I am amazed and honoured to have been awarded a 2013 Pinnacle scholarship. For me, this is a reminder of the importance of both hard work and community. It is a reward for the years I have precariously balanced study with difficult health and family situations, and an encouragement and source of support in continuing to do so. But it is also a moment to appreciate the strength and generosity of the queer community. Regardless of where my studies take me, I look forward to working within that community to enact positive change and support others, just as the Pinnacle Foundation and so many others have supported me.
Melbourne, VIC, Bachelor of Social Sciences & Communications
To be considered for, and receive, such a prestigious honour ensures that I can look forward to a stress free start to achieving my University degrees. The sheer magnitude of generosity and kindness displayed and witnessed here is testament to the big hearts of all involved. This is truly and unequivocally one of the most defining moments of my life. Thank you for making my dream of achieving my degrees come true.
Melbourne, Intermediate VCAL & Automotive VETis
Being awarded this scholarship means more than words can express, the scholarship that The Pinnacle Foundation has given me will be helping me finish Year 12 and the second year in my automotive studies. This scholarship and mentoring is an honour and privilege to be awarded and will be helping me tremendously with my ambition to becoming a fully qualified Diesel Mechanic which could lead to a career in the Australian Army which would be amazing!
Dibs Barisic Sprem
Sydney, NSW, studying a Bachelor of Arts (Croatian studies) at Macquarie University
Being awarded this scholarship by the Pinnacle Foundation means I can relax and enjoy my first year of university. I feel very lucky to not only have part of my financial burden be taken care of but to receive support from a mentor. Having this assistance would make a big difference in any person’s life and I look forward to using this gift to guide me through this next challenging and exciting stage of my life.
Townsville, QLD, Higher School Certificate
I never thought that I could achieve anything on my own, especially being a young LGBT+ member in an unaccepting society, but now I feel I have security and guidance from the Pinnacle Foundation who have granted me a 2013 scholarship to help me achieve something great in life, to help people and to change the course of humanity. I am truly grateful to the Pinnacle Foundation for giving me the chance to achieve great things.
Sydney, NSW, Bachelor of Education (Primary)
Receiving a scholarship from The Pinnacle Foundation has given me incredible confidence to achieve the academic and professional goals I have set for the final year of my Primary Education degree. Through the joint assistance of the Foundation and my Mentor Maurie, I believe 2012 will be a pivotal year for my development as a Teacher and will allow me to continue to be a role model and advocate for kids within and outside the LGBT+ community.
Perth, Bachelor of Psychology
I feel really honoured to receive this scholarship, it means a lot to me. The scholarship provided by Pinnacle has given me the opportunity and support to continue studying full time and build relationships with my LGBT+ peers.
We are also proud to support our Returning Scholars for 2013; Ashleigh Scriven, Audrey Cremer, Brodie McGee, Laura Partington, Lee Taube, Nathan Li, Suzie Day & Veronica Mason
Sydney, NSW, Bachelor of Combined Law
I am honoured to be included as a Pinnacle Foundation Scholar in 2012, as this support will undoubtedly aid my navigation of what I anticipate being a precarious year. A reminder that my ambitions are attainable, I believe the effects of this scholarship will also reverberate within the LGBT+ community through the assertion of my aspirations.
Melbourne, VIC, studying a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Youth Work)
The Pinnacle Scholarship means a great deal to me. If it weren’t for this scholarship I would not be continuing my education this year due to certain circumstances, and I would most likely be working at the pub full time. It has given me the opportunity to do what I always wanted to do and love, and for that I am more than grateful. In return I will be supporting others soon including the GLBTQ community as a Youth Worker.
Newcastle NSW, Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science – Diagnostic Radiography
Having a driving force such as the Pinnacle Foundation behind you is an unparalleled experience, one which embeds within you a determination to change the world. The support and encouragement that the Foundation seemingly inexhaustibly grants you, in conjunction with the sense of self-worth it reinstates within you, affords young LGBT+ people such as myself the means to embrace their future and become someone of value.
Sydney, NSW, Bachelor of Social Science
I am truly grateful to The Pinnacle Foundation for providing me with a mentor as part of my scholarship. It means I can pick the brains of someone with experience in the areas of study I will be focusing on. There is also the bonus of being able to concentrate entirely on my education without the added stress of sourcing funds for text books, laptops etc.
Sydney, NSW, Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Laws
Being a Pinnacle Scholar means that someone recognises not just the hard work that I have already put into myself and my community, but rather has the foresight and faith in me to see all the good work I could do in the future.
Hamilton, QLD, Bachelor of Law & Criminology
This scholarship marks a watershed for my development as a young scholar. I am exceedingly grateful for the support of the Pinnacle Foundation, which will allow me to remain steadfast in my commitment to academic excellence and social change. There are so many negative connotations around being young and identifying as LGBT+, and it is beyond exciting to know that with the honour of this scholarship comes the opportunity to act as a role model for change.
18, from Geelong, VIC, Studying Victorian Certificate of Education [Year 12]
I am very grateful receiving The Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship as it will allow me to continue my education. I am honoured to be acknowledged for my abilities and raising awareness of disadvantaged transgender youths in regional areas. My family was very disadvantaged when I was growing up and they are very proud of me reaching year 12.
Perth, WA, Bachelor of Science
Receiving the Pinnacle Scholarship has been a wonderful surprise, knowing that this year I will have some assistance to further my studies in my Sports Science degree. My history within the Queer community has led me to realise that within the Health and Fitness industry, there is a distinct lack of knowledge and research specific to the Trans* community. It is difficult to find comprehensive resources about the effects of hormones on exercise and how best to shape the body to match the identity. With the Pinnacle Scholarship to ease the way, I hope to become well informed enough to better serve the needs of the Queer and Sexually Gender Diverse community. I hope to do so by providing knowledge, workshops, a safe place of understanding, and assistance with training specific to the needs of every unique individual within such a beautifully diverse community as ours.
Adelaide, SA, Bachelor of Education
The Pinnacle Scholarship means I can make focus more on my studies and will be able to improve what I get out of Uni. Partnering with a mentor who is able to provide advice and guidance provides something that a normal Uni degree doesn’t, it’s invaluable.
Melbourne, Vic, Psychology
Being awarded this scholarship made me feel worthy and validated not only my career goals but also me as a person. This scholarship means that I won’t be stressed about the financial costs of my education, which I feel relived about. I am even more excited about the mentoring program as I feel supported in growing into a successful mental health professional.
Sydney, NSW, Bachelor of Med Science
This scholarship not only provides me with financial aid but also the means, in the form of a mentor, to properly motivate and help me achieve my absolute academic best, as well as allowing me to become more involved and active in LGBT+ events and organisations. I’m truly one of the lucky few to embrace such a thorough and practical scholarship
We are also proud to support our Returning Scholars for 2012; Isobel Connell Suzie Day & Veronica Mason
Melbourne VIC, Nursing and Paramedics
“Being awarded something is always a great feeling, however, being recognised by The Pinnacle Foundation is a different feeling entirely. It’s amazing! I feel valued, and their support will help me achieve my dream of becoming a health professional. I’m really thankful.”
Melbourne VIC, Social Science
When you apply for something like this you always hope you’ll get it but when you do it’s like time stands still and you ask yourself did this just happen? This award is an amazing opportunity for me to build professional relationships with my peers so that one day I will be able to give other GLBTI youths the same opportunity. I am excited and honoured.
Newcastle NSW, Psychology & Teaching
The scholarship makes my life a lot easier. Without Pinnacle I’d have real difficulty affording (both financially and psychologically) to be able to study full time and create the life I want.
Melbourne Vic, International Studies
I feel very privileged to be awarded this scholarship. I know that the support that I’m going to receive from Pinnacle and my mentor will help me achieve my goals and dreams in the future. Being a part of a mentoring program such as this is an invaluable experience and I intend to make the most of it.
Sydney NSW, Music Composition at Sydney Conservatorium of Music
“I’m very honoured to be awarded one of this year’s Pinnacle scholarships. As a young gay person who lives ‘out’ in society every day, I am excited to continue my involvement with the broader community. With the help of this scholarship I hope to help change the way our society sees gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people, reaching people through music and encouraging them to engage creatively and compassionately with the world around them.”
Sydney NSW, studying Arts/Law
It is with this profound respect for not only education but also the enhancement of identity, culture, knowledge and lifestyle that I am honoured to be a Pinnacle Foundation Scholar. Being the recipient of such a remarkable scholarship will not only allow me to pursue my dreams, by providing the necessary materials to succeed, but also act as an ambassador. It is my hope that I can change the world, and with this scholarship, that has become a possibility.
Adelaide SA, Medicine
I feel very honoured and proud to be a 2011 recipient of this scholarship and I look forward to the day I graduate and start working in the field so that I too can involve myself in the foundation and give back maybe just some of what has been offered to me when I need it most.
Perth, WA, Bachelor of Arts (Library and Information Management)
I am honoured that The Pinnacle Foundation believes in me so much, that they think I am worthy something like this”. One of my referees was one of my lecturers, and when I told her that I had got the scholarship, she replied it was because that they knew that I would one day give it all back to the community. I have never been so flattered or humbled in my life.
Sydney NSW, Literacy Skills Development
Although I struggled in the first 6 months I stuck with it. But later I saw how fruitful it was because of the work I did in the first 6 months with Lindamood-Bell. I believe that my mentor and the scholarship help me considerably by assuring me I had the skills to make my Year 11 possible.
Sydney NSW, Masters of Geology
Without a doubt the Foundation and my mentor have made a huge difference in my life, both personally and during my education…The mentorship and financial support has allowed me to for fill both my personal and academic aspirations, which I have previously thought to be out of my reach…