Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

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 2023 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.


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!