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Scholarship & Funding Opportunities

The Pride Center is proud to offer two different funding opportunities for our UT campus community: the Scholarship Fund and Program Fund. All funding opportunities are available to the UT Knoxville community only at this time and utilize the generous contributions of donors to support the success of students through scholarships and inclusive educational programming.

Scholarship Fund

The Pride Center Scholarship Fund honors and awards students who have demonstrated a commitment to advocacy for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community at the University of Tennessee, the local Knoxville community, and/or throughout eastern Tennessee. Scholarships through the Scholarship Fund are open to all applicants regardless of religion, sex, gender identity, sexuality, national origin, citizenship, disability, or veteran status. Five Volunteers will be awarded $1,000 per academic year, with the funds dispersed in $500 increments at the beginning of the fall and spring terms through the financial aid process.

We are proud to share our 2024-2025 cohort of scholarship recipients!


Gabriel Clark

biography coming soon!

Riya Golden

 Riya Golden is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Tennessee: Knoxville. She currently majors in Political Science with a Law and Courts concentration and a Theatre Minor. She is involved on campus as Vice President of the university’s mock trial team; she is a student assistant at the Pride Center; she is a 2023-2024 Orientation Leader; and she is part of the Clarence Brown Theatre productions. The first of her siblings to make it to her fourth semester of college, she is excited to continue her path as a student on their way to law school. She is interested in either Medical Malpractice or Criminal Defense (as mock trial has shown her the ins and outs of law that she wouldn’t expect college to teach her). She wants to continue to branch out in her community by finding ways to improve student life for those in the LGBTQ+ community through the Pride Center and being an advocate for students who feel they don’t have a voice.

Cassie Griffin

biography coming soon!

Beau Morgan

biography coming soon!

Titus Newble

Titus is a first-generation, senior Biology and Africana studies student at the University of
Tennessee-Knoxville. As a proud Black gay individual, he is passionate about challenging the status quo through conversations surrounding colonization, social conditioning, and healing. When he is not studying for exams in Hodges Library, he can be found spending time with his dog Bella, cooking vegetarian meals with friends, or listening to music. After graduating, he plans to attend Medical school to be a Board Certified Anesthesiologist. Titus’ core interests lie at the intersection of sociocultural communities and accessible health care.

Evan Shannon

Evan Shannon is a fourth-year student double majoring in Religious Studies and Classics, with a concentration in Greek. His academic passions include disability studies, classical reception, and religious syncretism. His personal passions include board games, making art, and hanging out with his two cats. When not in class, Evan can be found working as a Student Library Assistant at Pendergrass Library, or interning as the Curatorial Intern at the McClung Museum. After finishing his degree here, he plans on pursuing a Masters of Library and Information Sciences, with the dream of becoming an academic librarian to continue helping marginalized students enrich their academic journeys.

We are proud to share our 2023-2024 cohort of scholarship recipients!


Burch Harbison

Burch Harbison is a junior at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, majoring in political science and minoring in public policy analytics. Burch is from Delano, Tennessee, where the Appalachian Mountains meet the Tennessee River Valley. He attended Cleveland State Community College to take advantage of the Presidential Honors Scholarship he was awarded. During his enrollment, he was elected Student Senator, became co-captain of his community college’s debate team, and completed an honors capstone. He also was involved in the college’s Straight-Gay Alliance chapter and attended the 2022 LGBT+ College Conference at Middle Tennessee State University, both of which showed him the importance of dialogue and connections between LGBTQ+ people. After Burch graduated in 2022, he worked for the Election Assistance Commission Grants Department as an intern and ensured federal election grants were distributed to states and territories. After transferring to UTK, Burch is now focused on gaining experience for his career goal of being a program manager working in nuclear non-proliferation. On campus, you can find him hanging out in the pride center with his friends, or off-campus taking advantage of the nature trails and rivers in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Benjamin Lyman

Benjamin Lyman is a second-year undergraduate student here at The University of Tennessee; he is a neuroscience major, with a pre-dental concentration, with minors in biological sciences and psychology. He is a current office assistant for university housing, a first year peer coach for the UT Success Academy, and a Thrive Tennessee Fellowship participant.

Lou Nguyen

Lou Nguyen is a sophomore at the University of Tennessee and is majoring in Studio Art with a Graphic Design minor. They are from South Nashville and was involved in their high school’s LGBTQ+ organization before attending UTK and finding the Pride Center here. As a queer person of color, they’re always trying to help as many people in similar situations as themselves, usually by helping find resources, providing helpful information, or just being a listening ear. They enjoy classes that tend to challenge them, either academically or creatively. Usually you can find Lou showing off a new trinket, working on a new art piece, or hanging out at the Pride Center.

Rickia Pruitt

Rickia Pruitt is currently a second year student studying psychology minoring in biological sciences here at the University of Tennessee. Born and raised in Nashville, she is a member of
the LGBTQ+ community and has found a sense of family here at UT. She hopes to further her
education to become a physician’s assistant that identifies as a member of the community and as
a biracial woman. She has many involvements on campus and looks forward to continuing being involved and meeting people from different backgrounds while pursuing her degree.

Reagan Yessler

Reagan Yessler is a PhD student in the Department of Geography and Sustainability, studying performance spaces and gender, with a focus on cosplay (costume play). Their work concerns the intersections of queer identity, gendered performance, and race, as well as the confounding dynamics a politically conservative environment places upon these identities. Their hobbies not only include cosplay– which entails many convention appearances and group LARPing events– but also collecting prop replicas of medieval weapons, as well as socks and squishmallows.

The selection criteria are as follows:

  • The scholarship will be available to any full-time student, either undergraduate or graduate, that demonstrates a commitment to advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the local Knoxville community, and/or throughout eastern Tennessee. In addition to the demonstrated commitment to advocacy, applicants’ financial need will also be taken into consideration during the review process.
  • Applicants must complete and submit the attached application in its entirety. A resume must also be submitted in addition to the application. One additional page may be included to detail information requested in the application if necessary. A personal bio is required, and applicants agree to have their bio and photo published on the Pride Center website and social media if selected. The recipients also will be publicly named and honored at the annual Lavender Graduation Celebration event.
  • Applicants agree that their financial need will be determined by the Office of Financial Aid and included with the information to be considered by the selection committee.
  • Applicants must submit one letter of support from a faculty or staff member outlining the student’s academic achievements and contributions to the University of Tennessee and/or Knoxville community.
  • The scholarship is intended to be a one-year scholarship. Previous recipients are not eligible to receive the scholarship more than once.
  • All recipient(s) will forfeit their scholarship if they do not remain eligible to study at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus or upon transferring to a campus other than the University of Tennessee, Knoxville at the beginning of each semester the scholarship is to be awarded. The selection committee may then re-award the remaining funds or return them to the scholarship fund for the following academic year.

The selection of the recipients will be made by the Scholarship Fund committee with representation from different departments and units across campus.

Pride Center Faculty Fellowship

Update: We are not accepting new fellowship applications at this time.

Thanks to gracious support from the Division of Access and Engagement, the Pride Center hosts at least one faculty fellowship position per academic year. We are looking for engaged faculty members who would be willing to leverage their professional expertise and skillsets to further our mission of social and academic support for the LGBTQ+ community at UT. All disciplines are welcome to apply, and the successful candidate will work directly with our Director. The applicant whose submission most closely aligns with the current needs of the Pride Center will be prioritized, although we encourage creativity.

Our current needs include but are not limited to:

  • assessment practices and strategic planning
  • staff professional development planning
  • expansion of collaborations with academic departments

We encourage you to draft your responses in a different word processing document and then paste them in for your final submission. If you do not receive a confirmation email, we did not receive your application. For any questions, please email our Director at

We are looking for applicants that meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants must be currently employed at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in a faculty position (tenure track faculty, non-tenure track faculty, and lecturers are all welcome to apply) for the duration of the fellowship (January 2024 through June 2024)
  • Applicants must complete and submit the below application in its entirety. A resume/CV must also be submitted in addition to the application.
  • A professional bio is required, and applicants agree to have their bio and photo published on the Pride Center website and social media if selected. The recipients also will be publicly named and honored at the annual Lavender Graduation Celebration event.
  • All applicants that pass the initial application screening will interview with the Pride Center Director in order to select the final applicant. These interviews will happen December 11 through December 20, 2023.
  • This fellowship is intended to be for one semester only. Fellowship may be renewed only upon agreement with Pride Center Director.
  • The successful applicant will be announced on January 8, 2023.

Program Fund

The Program Fund offers mini-grants of up to $2,000 to UT faculty, staff, and departments for programming, events, and other initiatives focusing on gender identity, sexuality, the LGBTQ+ community, student support, and other related topics. Potential projects will be funded based on:

  • The project sparks change: Your project should have a measurable impact on our campus and/or local LGBTQ+ communities.  
  • The project is intersectional: Your project should include queerness intersected with other historically underrepresented identities (e.g., disability, ethnicity, race, region, socioeconomic status). 
  • The project focuses on an advanced topic: Your project should offer something beyond the scope of the Pride Center’s typical programming.


The selection criteria are as follows:

  • The lead applicant must be a UT faculty member or full-time staff member. 
  • Priority will be given to events/programs that involve multiple campus constituency groups. For example, priority would be given to a program with BOTH a student-focused workshop and a campus-wide presentation rather than just a campus-wide presentation.
  • Applicants should be prepared to complete their project before the end of the fiscal year and must provide a written report detailing how funds were used and what the outcomes of the project were.
  • We are particularly interested in funding projects that present opportunities for collaboration with other campus partners, departments, and faculty members, as we believe that change is easiest when we all work together. We highly encourage collaborations between departments/units, but collaboration is not required of applicants.
  • Funds may be used to support programming and research projects that directly benefit UT and/or the surrounding Knoxville community. Funding may not be used for F&A or to support faculty salaries. Mini-grants are intended for one year only. 
  • Applicants can receive up to $2,000/per request. Please note that all awarded funds must be spent before the fiscal year end (June 30, 2024).
  • The Pride Center is happy to provide support in the form of advertising events but is otherwise unable to provide labor or additional support beyond basic help.
  • While preparing materials, applicants are encouraged to consult and reference the Pride Center Program Fund Rubric.

The program timeline is as follows:

  • Application period: Friday, April 14, 2023 through: DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MONDAY, MAY 29, 2023 at 11:59PM!
  • Successful grantees notified: Wednesday, May 31, 2023
  • Program period: July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024

We will be updating this section soon!