Nathan Li was a Pinnacle Scholar between 2012 – 2013, and graduated in Law and Arts at the University of Sydney. After working as a solicitor at Herbert Smith Freehills, he was accepted into Harvard University in 2017 to study Master of Law, and has just returned to Australia after graduating.

Nathan grew up in a first-generation Chinese immigrant household in Western Sydney. “I never really felt like I fitted in anywhere. The best you could hope for at home was a tacit agreement not to agitate each other with such discussion of queer identities and lifestyles.”

He recalls his mother leaving a helpful pamphlet about turning away from gayness and towards God. “Looking back, it was comically optimistic on her part. But at the time, it was naturally upsetting.

“For a young person going through the process of discovering your identity while trying to learn how to become an adult, having the Pinnacle Foundation affirm your life goals and commit to support you through your studies.

“It is really transformational to meet other scholars like you. Although we may have different backgrounds and experiences, all have the same obstacles in the difficulty of trying to achieve our goals, when you are not supported in so many ways, because of who you are.

“There is always a focus on the financial aspect of a scholarship, however the guidance and support of a mentor that you can look to for advice, and they can relate to the path you are travelling, and the difficulties you may face, as they have been there before – it really is powerful.”

“The shift in confidence I experienced after the induction weekend was profound, and kicked off my year at university, where for the first time in years, I finally felt that I could do it.”