From the March 2013 Desktop News | Kaylyn Johnson, a junior majoring in English and American Studies, was recently awarded the 2013 Elliot Jackson Jones Memorial Scholarship for her work as an advocate of diversity at The University of Alabama.
She received the award from Capstone Alliance, UA’s affiliation group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered faculty, staff, and students and their allies. The scholarship recognizes a UA student, at any level, who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to improving the campus climate for diversity.
Since 2011, Johnson has served with Spectrum, a UA student group that advocates for a safe, inclusive campus for all UA students. In her application essay for this scholarship, she wrote about advocating for visibility of students with non-straight sexual orientations, addressing stereotypes and prejudices held by peers and faculty, and making sacrifices to support students in moments of crisis. Johnson plans to use her scholarship to intern Washington, D.C. this summer with an advocacy organization focused on gender and sexuality activism.
Johnson holds a 4.0 GPA and is a National Merit Scholar. She was also a member of the planning committee for The 49, UA’s group for out-of-state students, and has been inducted into Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society, with whom she volunteers at Tuscaloosa’s Children’s Hands-On Museum. She is currently planning on pursuing a doctorate to become a college professor.
The scholarship honors Elliot Jackson Jones who founded of the first gay-straight alliance at the University of Alabama in January of 1983. Elliot initiated conversations and organizations to raise awareness about non-straight sexual orientations at great personal risk. He remained an activist throughout his life, working for a wide variety of causes, including early treatments for individuals with HIV/AIDS. He died in the summer of 1999 due to complications from HIV/AIDS and its treatments. In 2012-13, Spectrum celebrated its 30th Anniversary, making it the longest continuous gay-straight alliance among all Southeastern colleges and universities.