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LGBTQ+ Fund Awards

The University of Florida LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee and contributors have organized the “UF LBGTQ+ Fund for Research and Service” (formerly the Rainbow Alliance Awards). Cash awards up to $1,000 may be presented to undergraduate and/or graduate students of the University of Florida for excellence in either service or research.

Very Important: If you would like to sent up a payroll deduction to help fund the Rainbow Alliance Awards through the University of Florida Foundation, please click here, and under “Please use my gift for”, specify “a restricted purpose”, and fill in “LGBTQ+ Fund” and the fund number F011369.

Previous Winners


Mike C. Parent – $300 for outstanding research
Sarah M. Steele- $200 for outstanding research
Cortland Russell – $250 for outstanding service
Ricky Carter – $250 for outstanding service


2009-2010 Award Winners

Adam Amir – $500 for outstanding research and service

Corey Brown – $250 for outstanding service
Sasha Rodriguez – $250 for outstanding service

2008-2009 Award Winners

Davier Rodriguez, Sociology – Service, $250
Marlon Moore, English – Research, $250
Melanie Brewster, Counseling Psychology – Research, $250
William L. Jeffries, Sociology – Research, $250

2007-2008 Award Winners

Evan Lauteria
Omar Martinez
Alexandra Spencer

2006-2007 Award Winners

Adelle Fontanet
Richard E. Gutierrez
Anthony Sarkees
Megan Silbert
Marcie C. Wiseman

2005-2006 Award Winners

Dana A. Berkowitz

2004-2005 Award Winners

Allison Andrews
Melissa Goodman
Laura Heston

2003-2004 Award Winners

Phillip Perry

2002-2003 Award Winners

Heather Christian
Michael Malecki
Frank Monzon, Honorable Mention

2001-2002 Award Winners

Patrick Brennan
Kristin Joos
Nishant Shahani

Rainbow Alliance Service Award

Evan Lauteria is a junior majoring in Religion. He has had an exemplary record of service in a variety of organizations and groups. To cite a few… He is the chair of the Speaker’s Bureau for the Pride Student Union. In this role he worked to facilitate panels to assist with peer education for Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and related issues in classrooms and for student events. He has been and is currently an undergraduate intern for LGBT Affairs. In this capacity, he produced presentations on issues which LGBT, queer, and intersex people face, co-hosted a session for new undergraduate students which presented them with resources available to the LGBTQ community on and off of the UF Campus. He has served as a career ambassador in the Career Resource Center. Lauteria is an LGBT Concerns Intern for the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Affairs. He is the Religious and Spiritual Diversity Week Director for Multicultural and Diversity Affairs. He is a Founding Father of the Delta Lambda Phi Gainesville Colony. Lauteria is an OUTfront Intern for Amnesty International USA for which, among other activities, he represented Amnesty International and the OUTfront LGBT Human Rights program at five Pride events throughout New York.
Lauteria has also had teaching experience and he has been involved in presentations. He has received the Multicultural Student Award and the LGBT Affairs Service Award.

Rainbow Alliance Research Award

Omar Martinez is a senior at the University of Florida with many accomplishments to show for his years at UF. Besides his coursework and his high grade point average, he has participated in research projects and has written reports based on his research. These include his participation in the McNair Scholars Program, a one-year funded research program, acting as a research assistant to Dr. Brian Dodge for research in “A Statewide Assessment of Sexuality Education in Florida’s Public Schools”, and the Gator Launch Program where, as a member, he worked in public health research with Dr. Dodge. Martinez has also studied in Spain, where he developed and implemented an ethnographic research project. A paper he wrote titled “The Dynamics of La Chueca” describes a unique and thriving community where the gay and heterosexual populations live in harmony. Martinez has had teaching experience as a mentor/facilitator in a course taught by Dr. Scanzoni in the Sociology Department, and he mentored peers in basic chemistry with Dr. Mitchell. He has received many awards and scholarships such as the McLaughlin Scholarship in the Fall of 2007 and the Multicultural Award in the Spring of 2007. He has also done volunteer work, for example, at Shands Hospital where he translated doctor’s instructions to Spanish-speaking patients. He has been a mentor in programs such as the CHAMPS Program, the LIbros de Familia Project, and the Cooperative Academic Achievement Program. In these programs, he acted as a translator and also helped Hispanic-Latino students. Martinez is a gifted and talented individual who has great interest in helping others which is reflected in his career goal of attending law school so that he can eventually help others

Rainbow Alliance Service Award

Alexandra Spencer is a senior majoring in Family, Youth and Community Sciences. She takes her volunteering seriously, as shown by her asking Nora Spencer, the Director of LGBT Affairs, if she needed any assistance in that office. As a result, Alexandra began two projects: an LGBT Affairs newsletter and a queer arts magazine. Both of these projects took much time and effort on her part, but the results were of great benefit to the LGBT community. Six issues of InsideOUT newsletter have been produced to date, and the first issue of Subtext magazine is due in April during Pride Awareness Month. Spencer has been involved in departmental activities, committees, and university service. She has been active in the Center for Leadership and Service where she has served as a Florida Alternative Break site leader on trips since 2004. She has also served as the Public Relations chairperson on the executive board. Spencer thus has demonstrated her interest and willingness to work with diversity issues. Likewise, her coursework demonstrates her interest in working with people.


Rainbow Alliance Service Award-Undergraduate Level

Adelle Marie Fontanet Torres has long been active in UF’s LGBT student organizations and was already elected as a student senator in her sophomore year. She has worked repeatedly to make Pride Awareness Month and the Intercollegiate Pride Conferences a success, and has risen to become president of Pride Student Union for two consecutive terms. Her proudest achievement is her success in having gender identity and expression added to the UF student body constitution, a measure that was confirmed, following months of research and road blocks, in the student elections of February 2007. Her efforts make UF ‘officially’ a more tolerant place.

Rainbow Alliance Research Awards-Undergraduate Level

Richard Edwin Gutierrez has played an active role on campus: A former secretary of the Pride Student Union, he is currently president of the Gator Gay-Straight Alliance, but nonetheless has maintained an impressive overall GPA of 3.94. He has applied postmodern methodological insights to research papers on such topics as the hyper-masculine culture of construction workers. Currently he is writing a senior thesis in the History Department about the radical Aids awareness group, ACT UP. His professor notes that he has “a remarkable ability to make …sometimes arcane and often jargon-laden ideas intelligible and relevant to historical subjects.”

Rainbow Alliance Research Awards-Undergraduate Level

Anthony Sarkees came to LGBT research as an assistant in a study in the Counseling Psychology Program about the effects of discrimination on LGBT persons. He enrolled in a course on victimology and read about the murder of Matthew Shepard. Tony was appalled and fascinated by this hate crime, and decided to pursue a senior thesis on perpetration and victimization in crimes against sexual minorities. He was inducted into UF’s prestigious University Scholars’ Program, and will appear on this year’s program at the most important scholarly conference in his field, the annual convention of the American Psychological Association.

Rainbow Alliance Service Award-Graduate Level

Megan Silbert has served UF’s LGBT community for over a decade. She was an early student member of the Committee on Sexism and Homophobia, spending some ten hours per week making educational presentations all over campus. As a graduate assistant to the Dean of Students, she developed a manual for the Career Resource Center on LGBT concerns. In addition, she built up an LGBT resource center, gathering 400 books without spending a penny, and then successfully lobbying the vice-president’s office to release funds for bookshelves. She has served as an important mentor and role model for LGBT students at UF.

Rainbow Alliance Research Award-Graduate Level

Marcie C. Wiseman, though not a member of the LGBT community, was determined to include LGBT issues in her research, so that she will be better prepared in her clinical practice to assist clients of diverse sexual orientations. Disturbed that most research hitherto was concerned with the pathologization of LGBT persons, she felt a responsibility to be more affirmative. Consequently she crafted her master’s thesis research around eating disorders among gay men, in order to develop prevention and intervention strategies. Her scholarship has already been recognized through several presentations at the American Psychological Association’s annual conventions.


Dana A. Berkowitz is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology. She is now conducting research on “Gay Men: Negotiating Procreative, Fatherhood, and Family Identities.” She is investigating how gay men develop an awareness of their own potential roles as father, and to what extent their heterosexual surroundings affect the way in which their procreative consciousness and identity are shaped. Dana has conducted interviews with gay men in four states for this groundbreaking research, and she has already published sole-authored articles in two scholarly journals. Her professors agree that she is one of the most outstanding graduate students that the Deparment of Sociology has seen in recent years.


Allison Andrews, the winner of the Rainbow Alliance Service Award, is an inspiring student leader who continues guide and encourage many other students at UF and whose leadership has extended outwards to the Gainesville LGBT community. As the president of the Pride Student Union, and in her service before she assumed that role, Allison has contributed greatly to the LGBT community at UF and has touched the lives of many allies as well through dedicated and tireless service. Among hew accomplishments are: increasing the diversity of the board and membership of PSU, producing a high quality Intercollegiate Pride Conference, pioneering a peer-to-peer mentoring program, strengthening the connection between UF LGBT students and the Gainesville community through Homecoming participation and other events and overseeing many other successful programs through PSU. She has done all this while maintaining a high GPA in Engineering. So much to proud of!

Melissa Goodman has been awarded a Rainbow Alliance Research Award for her innovative and important research as a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology. Her inquiry into the nature of anti-lesbian and anti-gay attitudes and behaviors is particularly timely and significant. The breadth of her research has engaged participants of many ages and stages of life, at UF and throughout the Gainesville community. Her research has the potential to inform future education and violence prevention programs aimed at reducing anti-lesbian and anti-gay attitudes and behaviors. It is not only bold and creative, but also grounded in Goodman’s commitment to “rigorous scientific research that is also LGBT-affirming” and will thus “positively impact” the lives of the those in our community.

Laura Heston has been awarded a Rainbow Alliance Research Award for her study of the effect of student engagement in LGBT clubs on their identity, self-esteem, self-efficacy, feeling of stigmatization and academic achievement. Her independence in framing and pursuing this research is deeply tied to her strong commitments to counter heterosexism and homophobia, not only in her life, but also in her academic work. Though she will be graduating and leaving the University of Florida, her inquiry into the meaning of involvement in UF’s Pride Student Union and Gator Gay-Straight Alliance should benefit students here long after her departure.


Phillip Perry


Michael Malecki received his award for outstanding research. His senior thesis, “Friends in Need: Collective Identity Development and Gay Rights,” examines the factors that prompt members of minority groups (defined by race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation) to develop a sense of common fate with other minorities. Malecki’s findings challenge prevailing theories of social identity and indicate that identification as a member of a minority group does not necessarily predispose one to inter-group solidarity.

Heather Christian received her award for an outstanding research project. Her research will examine gay parenting and the psychological adjustment of children raised in the home of a gay parent. Christian hopes to build upon existing reserach in this subject area by conducting surveys among a more heterogeneous group of gay parents. She believes her research findings will contribute to relevant policy in child custody issues, as well as gay adoption and foster care.


Patrick Brennan

Kristin Joos

Nishant Shahani