LGBTQIA+ Endowed Research and Outreach Fund

This fund supporting undergraduate and graduate student research and community work has been made possible by generous donations from the extended Pitt community as well as from alums. The fund was created by GSWS by Director Todd Reeser and Dr. Julie Beaulieu in 2018 and gained momentum when it was championed by Pitt Queer Professionals, which organized fundraising events and initiatives with the goal of endowing the fund. The fund was endowed in 2020. At the 2021 Pitt Day of Giving, this fund was supported by the largest number of Pitt faculty and staff donors, with the result that it earned an additional $5000 in a challenge grant from Chancellor Emeritus Nordenberg.  GSWS is the institutional home for the funds, but the funds are intended for students throughout Pitt and represent a community investment in LGBTQIA+ scholarship and outreach work.

Applications for the 2023 funding cycle are due on Feb. 21, 2023, through the PittFund$Me platform.

This recently-endowed fund so far generates only modest income, which GSWS supplemented for the first year of awards.  Donations are invited to support future research and outreach at a robust level.



The first awards from the fund were made in 2022.  Winners were selected by a cross-school faculty committee: Dr. Julie Beaulieu (GSWS), chair, and Dr. Bella Grigoryan (Slavic Languages and Literatures), from the Dietrich School; Dr. Rachel Gartner from the School of Social Work; and Dr. Victoria Grieve from the School of Pharmacy. In support of the first round of awards, GSWS provided supplemental funding.

Karen Faulk headshotDr. Karen Ann Faulk (she/her) — Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, School of Nursing

These funds will be used as part of the ongoing project Autonomy and Respect in Pregnancy Care for LGBTQIA+ Families: Evaluation of a Home Visiting Program, which seeks to assess the care experiences of LGBTQIA+ birthing individuals and families enrolled in a county health department home visiting program.  By gathering information on clients’ gender identity and their feelings on autonomy, respect, and shared decision-making during their perinatal care, this project aims to make concrete recommendations for improving practice and increasing the quality of culturally competent care for all clients and their families.


Jacob Gordon — PhD Program, School of Social Work

I will be using the funds for traveling to the 2022 National LGBTQ Health Conference in Chicago to present a paper on LGBTQ persons of color and their utilization of social media for social support.



Dylan Kapit (they/them) — PhD Program in Special Education, School of Education

 My project, Sex Education for Queer Autistic Learners (SEQuAL), seeks to understand the sex education experiences of LGBTQ+ autistic individuals, with the hope and end goal of building a queer and trans inclusive, autistic focused sex education curriculum. In an effort not to continue to exploit autistic folks for research the way that many non-autistic researchers do, I will be using these funds to pay my participants for the time, energy, and emotional labor that they expend sharing their sex education experiences with me. 


Emil K. Smith (they/them) — PhD Program, School of Social Work

Eating disorders are a major health problem facing transgender and gender diverse (TGD) populations, and research has identified the lack of knowledge among primary care providers as a barrier to reducing the prevalence of eating disorders among TGD individuals. Through focus groups, I hope to illuminate the experiences of TGD adults with eating disorders who have sought medical care through a primary care provider to inform future advances in provider training and interventions to prevent, assess, and treat eating disorders in primary care settings.