Brian Gialketsis SERQueer Scholarship Year in Review 2021

Brian Gialketsis SERQueer Scholarship Year in Review 2021

Fall 2021 marked the second iteration of the Brian Gialketsis SERQueer Scholarship! This year’s scholarship consisted of one round of submissions. Applicants were asked to respond to three prompts based on themes of healing, joy, visions for the future, and change. In their submissions, applicants reflected on where they find joy in their lives, their journeys as environmentalists, and the ways in which the scholarship would support them and their needs. 

Congratulations to our five SERQueer award recipients, who were awarded $1,000 each:

Tonatiuh Beltran

Jaye Mejía-Duwan

Coryna Ogunseitan

Pratiti Ketoki

Anonymous (Recipient #5)

Under the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, this scholarship and Brian’s memory was a guiding light for the TGIF Team, and we remain inspired and excited for future iterations of the scholarship to come. We invite you to scroll to view the Fall 2021 prompts as well as excerpts from the submissions of this year’s scholarship recipients.

-The TGIF Team

Our 2021 Prompts:


  1. Based on Brian’s instagram picture, “The cure to anything is salt water- sweat, tears, or the sea.” What gives you comfort or joy during difficult times?
  2. Please tell us about your environmental journey (where you’ve been and where you hope to go).
  3. How would this scholarship support you (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc.)?

Please check out some amazing responses we received to this prompt below!

My mother would always tell me “your tears are prayers to the ancestors, don’t be afraid to feel your pain, it’s better to let go”. These reminders were important to me as I was someone that had difficulty sitting with my emotions especially during troubled times. 

I see my interest in studying people’s emotional responses to climate change as part of that broader scholarly frame, one that sees mental health as collective and not just individual, and casts healing as personal and, at the same time, a communal and political project.

I am still working almost full-time to support my family, however, this time things are different because I am also securing a career for myself in a few years. I am so happy and forever thankful for the experiences I had because they made me resilient to strive for a better tomorrow.

Sources of comfort and joy during my pandemic year, and always: . . . Accepting help when I need it. No longer allowing my ability to accomplish things alone to be an internal metric of my worth. Remembering that for me scholarship is fundamentally an act of love, that learning is relational, that good philosophy can and should be healing. Tending to my houseplants and, for the first time in my life, watching them thrive.

2021 Review Committee

2021 Review Committee: Teresa Yu, Elizabeth Reyes, Jessica McGinley, Josh Kay, Sharon Daraphonhdeth, Jed Lee, Sarah Barrett, Sam Lubow, Ramona Naddaff, Katherine Walsh, Louis Spanias, Kathleen McCully