For Frederick Adenuga, applying for a scholarship with the Point Foundation changed his life forever.
The ambitious Florida State University student applied for the scholarship awarded to LGBT students, and when he made it to the final interview process, he made the decision to come out to his parents.
They responded negatively, cutting him off financially. To make matters worse, he found out that he didn’t win the scholarship and was in financial trouble. Thankfully, his FSU family helped him through the year.
Undeterred, he went for scholarship again and this time around got it.
“I was able to see what an impact not winning the scholarship was. I went there with the mindset saying I was going to share my story and what I’ve gone through over the past year and hopefully I’ll win it the second time around,” he said.
The 21-year-old is working to complete not one, not two, but three degrees in political science, sales, and entrepreneurship. He is also enrolled in a program that allows him to work on his master’s, which he will complete the year after he earns his bachelor’s. Once he has his diploma, Adenuga’s goal is to pursue political entrepreneurship to influence public policy, as well as work with young entrepreneurs in start-up businesses.
“Being an African American gay man… the LGBT community and African American communities are the two communities I want to particularly reach,” he said. “There’s not as much attention is shed on this particular issue that this population faces.”
And Adenuga knows the struggles. After coming out, his parents said he was a disgrace to the family name and almost threatened to send him back to Nigeria to be “fixed.” In the African nation, homosexuality is illegal and can be punishable by death. However, they have come around since then, and things are looking up.
The Point Foundation awarded the scholarship to 23 LGBT students, providing financial assistance and a mentorship for the 2014 to 2015 school year.
“Embracing diversity in education – particularly empowering LGBTQ students – is necessary for building a more equitable and innovative society,” said Jorge Valencia, executive director and CEO of the foundation
More than 2,100 applicants vied for the scholarship this year, all having to prove academic excellence, leadership, community involvement, and financial need. The winners receive varying amounts of money for school and are also paired with a mentor who is in a similar field as them to guide them through the school year.
It’s the mentorship that Adenuga is most excited about, and he will find out who he’s been paired with in August.
Learn more about the Point Foundation’s scholarship programs at PointFoundation.org/Scholarships.