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The Jeffrey L. Reider & Charles F. Otis Endowed Prize

  • Who: Undergraduate or graduate students who attend UVA full-time (first-year undergraduates not eligible).
  • What: One-time award of up to $5,000.
  • When: The application for the 2023-2024 school year has closed. Please check back in the spring for the next application cycle.
  • Contact:

The Jeffrey L. Reider and Charles F. Otis Endowed Prize annually provides a one-time scholarship award of up to $5,000 to a student of any sexual orientation who has demonstrated a willingness to advance the rights and acceptance of the LGBTQ community. Activity in music and the arts will also be considered.

Decisions are made by a committee consisting of faculty chair Fred Maus, and four students involved with the LGBTQ community at the University of Virginia.

Reider-Otis Scholarship 2023 Winners

Mack Gregg (MFA ’25)

Mack Gregg (they/them) is a second year MFA student in the Creative Writing Program at UVA, where they are a Henry Hoyns Fellow in Poetry. 

Mack wishes to take this opportunity to recognize the trans ancestors and advocates who made their work possible, and to dedicate this scholarship to Lou Sullivan (1951-1991).  

Prior to their move to Virginia in 2022, Mack was a PhD candidate in English at the University of California, Riverside, where they wrote and taught at the intersection of queer poetics, 19th-century literary history, and histories of coloniality and empire. Approaching these materials now as a poet, Mack has begun to weave together collective and personal history, exploring the problematics and possibilities of trans and queer representation within institutional spaces. During their first year at UVA, Mack published work in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Poetry Daily and Permanent Record (Nightboat). Their interview with the poet Angela Peñaredondo appears in the latest issue of Meridian.

During Mack’s time in California, they worked as an organizer with UAW 2865, as a Title IX advocate, and as a member of UC Riverside’s Trans Task Force. In collaboration with the local mental health nonprofit Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance, Mack founded and facilitated the RPYA Poetry Circle, leading weekly poetry workshops for queer and trans youth ages 14 to 19. Since coming to Charlottesville, Mack has continued to forge community connections, curating events, readings, and performances by and for trans and queer artists. In the coming year, they hope to bring together archival and community poetics in a series of public, site-specific installations. 

Liv Orlando (Architecture ’24)

Liv Orlando (they/them) is a fourth year in the University’s Architecture program, concentrating in pre-professional architecture with a minor in architectural history. As a designer and activist, Liv has taken on a number of architectural projects centering queerness as a driver for spatial exploration. These projects range programmatically, from community cooking spaces, shelters, and community centers that provide equitable healthcare, housing, and education for queer people. Throughout their past four semesters, Liv has explored various ways to make people feel welcomed and loved in their buildings. Their most recent piece, “Aura, ” explores transness and transitioning as a theme for elementary school architecture and landscape. Liv is a Co-President of the Architecture School’s Pride initiative, “Q_School,” offering a safe space to learn about queer architectural history, provide mentorship, and create community. 

Outside of the classroom, Liv was part of the organization “CORE” (Culture of Respect Educators), where they were elected Policy and Advocacy Chair. Here, they ushered in changes to the collective script, resulting in more inclusive language and LGBTQ+ examples. They were also a part of a Queer Sexual Health task force with the Office of Health Promotion, conducting research and discussing effective ways to do outreach for protective sex and healthy relationships. They will continue their work in the spring with a thesis in queer architectural studies.

Yichu Wang (MFA ’23)

Yichu Wang (he/him) earned his MA in English from the University of Virginia in the spring of 2023. During his time at UVA, Yichu built on his existing interests in experimental writing and studied formal expressions of queer relationality and world-making in poetry. He volunteered with the LGBTQ Center and was a long-term tutor at the Writing Center.

Outside academic research, Yichu is committed to donating his time and knowledge to social justice causes. For the past two years, Yichu has penned numerous articles for the Chinese trans advocacy non-profit The Voice of Trans, using written forms such as film analysis and public-facing theory to add a voice to the articulation and discussion of trans life and trans politics within a public space where more voices are still much needed. Most recently, Yichu served in the organization’s projects aiming to celebrate non-binary identities and create a Chinese-English glossary for all things trans. In the US, Yichu has also spent summers volunteering for Campus Pride and Cow Tipping Press, sharing these organizations’ commitments to telling stories and creating access through language.

This fall, Yichu is excited to begin his studies as a PhD student in English at Cornell University. He is also beginning a new journey as a tutor with Paper Airplanes, an organization that provides free virtual language instruction to individuals from countries affected by conflict.

Reider-Otis Scholarship Honorable Mention 2023

Katherine Cart (MFA ’24)

Katherine Cart (she/her) is a third year candidate for an MFA in Creative Writing, studying fiction. In her writing, Katherine examines rural queer experiences, and the intersection of ecosystem and human social hierarchies. She is interested in the stories that are told about people working in extractive economies. Her thesis, a novel, explores rural poverty and the suppression of queer identity and childhood memory in an ideologically conservative, coastal area. As a graduate instructor of Introductory Writing, she strives to shape syllabi that are inclusive of voices often forgotten from the literary canon. 

Katherine holds a BS in General Biology from the University of New Hampshire. Before returning to academia to study literature, she worked for several years in the commercial fisheries of the Bering Sea and the Gulfs of Maine and Alaska. These experiences shaped her narrative interests, and she hopes, through fiction, to tell the stories of the often overlooked individuals who work in remote extractive economies. 

As a graduate researcher, Katherine returned to the island of Unalaska, Alaska, to explore the historical and contemporary narratives of a remote area severely impacted by industrialization and the booms and busts of global trade. Following the completion of her MFA, Katherine plans to continue research on the lived experiences of remote, fishery-dependent community members in areas of ecological flux.

Reider-Otis Scholarship 2022 Winner

Vaheed Ali Talebian (CLAS ’22)

Vaheed Ali Talebian [he/him] graduated with distinction in 2022 with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Arts Administration, Music, and English) with a focus in Musical Theatre Composition and a B.A. in Economics. During his time at the University of Virginia, Vaheed volunteered at the LGBTQ+ Center, and found as many ways as possible to bring queer representation into the arts community. As Music Director of the Virginia Gentlemen, Vaheed incorporated music written and performed by queer artists into concert repertoire. He also wrote music for queer stories.

In the fall of his third year, Vaheed wrote, produced, and directed an original one-act musical entitled Who Are You? with student theatre group Spectrum Theatre that follows a trans son and his gay monther as they explore their familial, religious, and romantic relationships. In the spring of his third year, he wrote the film score for a student film entitled Playing the Game, a show that follows closeted queer culture at the University of Virginia in the 1970s. Playing the Game was produced through the Drama Department’s Overcranked program, and later featured at the Virginia Film Festival. For his thesis, Vaheed wrote a ninety-minute musical entitled Peace by Piece that focuses on mental health within the queer community. The show follows the exploitation of one’s identity, and the balances between military position, religion, family, and queerness.

This fall, Vaheed will be pursuing his MFA in Graduate Musical Theatre Writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts for composition. He hopes to continue working on Peace by Piece as well as other shows that help spread awareness for the queer community and other marginalized communities.

Reider-Otis Scholarship 2022 Recognition

Shahab Albahar (Arch. PhD Candidate Dec ’22)

Shahab Albahar [he/him] recently completed his fifth year of the Ph.D. program in the Constructed Environment at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. His research critiques the heteronormative frameworks and assumptions that guide much of the planning and urban design decisions that shape our built environments. The term “queer” for Shahab is an encompassing word for all that sits outside the narrowly defined parameters of heteronormativity. He believes in the transformative potential of “Intersectionality” to challenge heteronormative hegemony and engender liberating outcomes for historically marginalized groups. Before coming to UVA, Shahab obtained a master’s in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University [2015] and a dual bachelor’s in architecture and fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Shahab’s forthcoming dissertation, “Fifth and K Street, beyond merely an intersection,” explores the rise and fall of the Stroll on Fifth and K, an urban geography once dominated by Washingtonian Black trans women. His research interrogates the role of planning in the production of spatial liminality by exploring how Black trans women, situated at the deadly intersection of racism, sexism, and transphobia, transformed this liminal geography into an emancipatory site for community formation and liberation. As a queer individual from Kuwait, Shahab had to navigate daily life in an oppressive society mindfully. Similarly, Black trans women in the U.S. must constantly navigate the risks associated with their intersecting identities in public and private realms. Acknowledging the pivotal role Black trans women played in LGBTQ liberation, Shahab dedicated his doctoral studies to centering their lives as a form of gratitude. He spent three years in Washington, D.C., where he forged alliances with local trans organizations, including Casa Ruby, and built lasting relationships with Washingtonian Black trans women to render their stories visible. In tandem with completing his dissertation, Shahab is currently supporting the National Weather Service Office of Water Prediction in its efforts to mitigate flood inundation risks, specifically as they impact marginalized communities.

Pinay Jones (CLAS ’22)

Pinay Jones [she/her] graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences, where she majored in Political and Social Thought and minored in Spanish. As a first year at UVA, she initiated her involvement with the LGBTQ+ community by working as a volunteer with the Queer Center (QC). In this role, she worked on the Drag Bingo event and the “Love Is” campaign. She desired to get more deeply involved, so she applied to be an Outreach Intern with the QC, a position which she interviewed and was selected for. She was responsible for conducting peer outreach among queer and trans students of color at the University, making sure that such students felt a sense of community. As this was the year that the University was fully virtual, she had to be resourceful with her outreach efforts. She organized and facilitated events such as “QTBIPOC hangouts,” a FLUX Poetry and Spoken Word x QC open mic collaboration focused on queer poets of color, and a queer brunch during the spring semester. Additionally, she worked closely with QC volunteers, leading training at the start of each semester and providing support, and took charge of several of the QC’s social media campaigns.

As a fourth year, she volunteered with the QC during the fall semester, but largely dedicated her time to composing her 120-page distinguished major thesis which bridged Black feminist and queer theory to put forth a de-pathologized, more holistic understanding of Black women and femmes’ practice of BDSM, exploring how these practitioners benefit from and make meaning of their practice as self-identified Black feminists despite narratives asserting that BDSM practice is antithetical to Black feminist projects of recovery and uplift. Throughout the paper, she aims to give voice to these individuals and, in some ways, advocate for the acceptance and awareness of queer Black subjects in the BDSM scene, Black feminist archives, and Black cultural archives generally.

Pinay will take a gap year and travel internationally through a volunteer work exchange program. Following that, Pinay tentatively intends to pursue a Master’s degree (possibly followed by a PhD) in History, with a general focus on Black women’s and Black queer subjects’ histories across the New World.

Joey Michel (Med ’23)

Joey Michel [he/him] is a member of the UVA School of Medicine Class of 2023. During his time at UVA, he has served on the executive board of qMD and is the current co-president of the organization, which aims to serve LGBTQ+ members of the School of Medicine and their allies. During his time on the executive board, he has worked to improve how the future physicians trained by UVA received education on health issues unique to the queer population. He performed a climate survey about the state of education on LGBTQ+ topics that has resulted in work to improve how clinical educators are trained in teaching LGBTQ+ health topics, he has coordinated and moderated a panel of medical students, residents, and fellows about their personal experiences as both patients and providers of health care, and facilitated a workshop to teach medical students transitioning into clinical rotations skills to better provide LGBTQ+ conscious care.

Additionally, Joey has made LGBTQ+ health the focus of his final thesis as a Generalist Scholar, a program focusing on supporting future physicians interested in primary care. In partnership with faculty in the Teen Health Clinic, he scripted and animated a series of videos to be used as educational aids in the informed consent process for gender affirming hormone therapies. These videos focus on providing comprehensive and easily digestible information for individuals receiving gender affirming care regarding the impacts of gender affirming hormones on fertility as well as fertility preservation options. In the coming year, he aims to validate them as a decision aid to be used in clinical practice at UVA and elsewhere so that those seeking gender affirming treatments have more resources at their disposal.

Upon graduation, Joey will be applying to pediatric residency programs with hopes to become a general pediatrician that serves LGBTQ+ kids, teens, and young adults with the care and compassion that they deserve.

Reider-Otis Scholarship 2021 Winners

Kasey Roper (CLAS ’21)

Kasey Roper graduated in 2021 from the English Department’sArea Program in Poetry Writing (APPW) & the Media Studies Department’s Distinguished Majors’ Program (DMP). During her time at UVA, Kasey worked at the intersection of her passions–creative writing and advocacy for the queer community–as the Editor-in-Chief of the Q* Anthology of Queer Culture, an annual LGBTQIA+ literary magazine. She spearheaded the production and release of the third and fourth editions of Q* and expanded the magazine’s missions to be more intentionally intersectional with sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity, race, disability, and more.

Her Media Studies DMP thesis focused on how LGBTQ+ people who play video games interact with and respond to queer representation in video games, which claims, and often fails, to represent them. While at UVA, Kasey was also a member of Sigma Omicron Rho (SOR), an LGBTQIA+ and gender-inclusive fraternity. She was a journalist & photographer for ABCD Magazine, a subsection of The Cavalier Daily as well as a member of FLUX Poetry & Spoken Word (FLUX). Her short stories, poetry, and journalism have been published in several literary magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times (2018).

Kasey is currently volunteering at BreakBread Literacy Project, a nonprofit organization focused on uplifting voices of young writers and removing barriers to the publication industry. She hopes to publish her poetry manuscript and other pieces of her academic and creative work. When she is not writing, she is most likely finding pineapples in the most random of places & adding them to her ever-growing collection of pineapple memorabilia.

Busola Shifatu (MED ’21)

Busola Shifatu (she/her) graduated in 2021 from the School of Medicine. During hertime at UVA, she served on the exec board of qMD, the LGBTQ+ medical student organization at UVA, most recently as co-president. During her time as co-president, Busola sought to improve representation and facilitate connections amongst queer people within the School of Medicine. In alignment with this goal, she collaborated with administration and other students to create the first Out/Ally list at UVA.  The Out/Ally list is a public list of LGBTQ+ individuals and allies within the School of Medicine with the aim of promoting visibility, building community and facilitating opportunities for mentoring. The list currently contains over 100 LGBTQ+ folks and allies and continues to grow. 

Additionally, Busola also had an interest in educating the school of medicine community on providing affirming  healthcare for LGBTQ+ patients as well as fostering a safe and welcoming community for LGBTQ+ students. To accomplish this, she facilitated  several discussions throughout the year on topics such as decolonizing healthcare, caring for transgender patients, and navigating residency match as an LGBTQ+ applicant. On a curricular level, after noticing the gaps in LGBTQ+ topics within the existing medical curriculum, she worked alongside faculty and other students to design a one week virtual elective course for 3rd and 4th year medical students on the essential components of LGBTQ+ patient care such as the interventions for transitioning and the harmful effects of misgendering patients. The course has already been taken by numerous students with overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Busola is now in residency at Children’s Nationals in Washington D.C., training in the field of child neurology.

Shayne Zaslow (GSAS ’22)

Shayne Zaslow (they/he) is thrilled to be one of the 2021 recipients of the Reider-Otis prize, which affirms their decades-long commitment to LGBTQ communities. Shayne is celebrating being an out queer and transgender person, as well as a community advocate for the last 20 years. In this time, Shayne has conducted numerous diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings in both academic and nonprofit settings. Shayne earned their masters in Gender & Cultural studies from Simmons University in 2011, with a capstone thesis discussing representation and the queer coding of Disney villain characters in the 1980’s-1990’s. Prior to beginning their studies at UVA in 2016, Shayne worked for five years at a world-renowned LGBTQ health center in Boston, Massachusetts where he was able to contribute to several groundbreaking research projects addressing health disparities within LGBTQ communities.

Shayne has recently completed his 5th year in the Sociology PhD program. During their time at UVA, Shayne has had the opportunity to serve as both a teaching assistant and lead instructor in sociology classes, regularly incorporating intersectional issues impacting marginalized populations (LGBTQ communities among them) as part of the curriculum. Shayne has also been working at the Center for Survey Research (part of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service) as a Graduate Research Analyst since beginning at UVA, where he participates in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion workgroup.

Shayne is currently working on a dissertation project titled “Dynamics of the Contemporary Drag Scene: An analysis of drag performance in a changing social world” which investigates the impact of mainstream visibility on the drag scene collectively, both in terms of aesthetics and performance norms, but also the hierarchies and inequalities that persist in the community.

Reider-Otis Scholarship 2020 Winners

Chance McCraw (Law ’21)

Chance McCraw is in his third year at the law school. During his time at UVA, he has served on the boards of numerous organizations. Some of these positions and activities included: Chair of Programming and subsequent Chair of Lambda Law Alliance’s Ele(Q)t conference, which encourages members of the LGBT community to run for office; Co-Chair of the law school’s Health and Wellness Committee where he organized signature collection for changing the FDA ban on same-sex blood donations coupled with a speaker event, organized the law school’s first Movember to collect donations for men’s health issues, and worked with Dean Groves to add the Crisis Text Line number to the back of student ID card for next year; and the Federalist Society Chair of Organizational Outreach where he organized and emceed the Federal Society, American Constitution Society, and Lambda annual trivia night.

Chance currently serves as the Managing Editor for the Virginia Journal of International Law and the Law Republicans President where he promotes equality and opportunity for everyone at UVA Law. After graduation, he will return to North Texas and subsequently join the Foley and Lardner Dallas Office.

Hana Suliman (Col ’23)

Hana Suliman is a second-year in the College of Arts and Sciences hoping to major in Global Public Health with a double minor in African-American Studies and Studio Art. During their time at UVA, Hana primarily focuses on their academics, digital art, and fostering their multicultural, multiracial queer community. Upon entering the university, Hana hoped to integrate themselves into and advocate for a multitude of social identity groups, such as Queer Student Union (QSU) and Black Student Alliance (BSA). In pursuit of this goal, they served as the Intersectionality Chair for QSU, a Social Chair for BSA’s Social-Cultural Committee, and volunteered for the LGBTQ Center in their spare time.  A large part of Hana’s ambitions at the university is supporting LGBTQ youth of color through direct representation in their artistic work. Imbued with a love of diversity and inclusion, Hana’s work interweaves varying intersection of self-expression with western art aesthetics, bringing together unique visions of social identity and culture to art and photography. They have recently begun working with the Multicultural Student Center and LGBTQ Center to add a collection of their works to the shared student spaces in hopes of cultivating positive representation and depictions of marginalized groups through artistic means.

Hana currently lives in Fairfax, VA and attends college classes remotely. Lately, they’ve been working online to share their digital art process and is overseeing a series based upon Black representation and Black art during an age of increased police brutality and cries for abolition. In the future, Hana plans to continue their artistic journey, sparking conversations on difficult social topics and serving their communities through their work as a digital artist.

Reider-Otis Scholarship 2019 Winner: Marie Olavere-Terry (Col ’19)

Marie Olavere-Terry graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences in 2019 with a B.A. in History. During her time at UVa, Marie focused her efforts in her academics, creative outlets, and especially, her community of fellow Hoos and Houstonians. Upon entering into the University, Marie made it a goal to continue the work of predecessors of improving conditions for all individuals in Charlottesville and her hometown of Houston, TX. In pursuit of this goal, she served as the Vice President of Community Engagement for the Queer Student Union, acted as an officer for Athletes for Equality, and interned for the UVa LGBTQ Center as its Operations, then Engagement intern. In the summer before her third year, Marie also co-founded of PLUS+, an LGBTQ faith group on Grounds to provide a space for LGBT and questioning folks of faith to discuss their being and be free of prejudice. Both in Charlottesville and in Houston, Marie mentored LGBTQ youth. When she wasn’t busy with school, she sang with both the University Singers and Chamber Singers, served as a Producer for the 2016 Music Arts Board, and acted as a Fourth Year Trustee for UVa’s Bicentennial Class.

Marie currently serves as a Post-Graduate Trustee for the Class of 2019 through the UVa Alumni Association. After graduating, Marie joined AmeriCorps VISTA to continue to serve LGBTQ Houstonians at the Montrose Center where she creates cost-tracking systems for the HEB Emergency Food Pantry and forms new programming for its community center. In the future, she plans to attend law school where she hopes to achieve a J.D./MBA dual-degree.

Reider-Otis Scholarship 2019 Honorable Mentions

Kyle J. Gename graduated with their Master of Landscape Architecture degree in May 2019. During their time at UVA, Kyle was the Editor-in-Chief of The Q* Anthology of Queer Culture, working primarily on graphic design and the publication of the Anthology’s second edition—To One Another and the World.

Kyle currently lives in Durham, NC, and works as a landscape designer for Surface 678. Lately, they’ve been settling into the legit queer scene in Durham and getting familiar with local and state laws that discriminate against queer people. Not unlike their time in Charlottesville, Kyle plans to become involved in local politics and community organizing. Kyle adamantly believes in the cultural power of public space, and also intends to serve the community through their work as a designer.

Myka Greene and is an aspiring filmmaker and writer from Richmond, VA. Myka works to provide a narrative to marginalized voices, including but not limited to women, people of color, those suffering from mental illness, and those in the LGBTQ+ community (basically anyone other than cisgender white men). Myka hopes that the spaces and voices create emphasis the crux of art – the assertion that no one is alone, the human experience is shared.  

Reider-Otis Scholarship Recipients


Madeline Carmain
MED ’13


Sarah Leser
College ’15, MED + Batten ’19




Mitchell Wellman
College ’17



Connor Roessler
CLAS ’16


Jaime Hartless
GSAS ’17


Cindy Gray
Education ’15


Abe Wapner
College ’14


Chase Cooper
Law ’13


Samantha Tornello
GRAS ’10


Hallie Clark
College ’13


Reginald Benbow
College ’11


D. Verena Kollig
GSAS ’12


Patrick Ahern
Nursing ’11


D.J. Lic
College ’09


Rachel Farr
GSAS ’08


Wyatt Fore
College ’08

Wyatt (left) receiving the inaugural award from Jeffrey L. Reider, College ’74 (right)

*Honorable Mention