Congratulations to Spencer O’Hara, an academic achiever and LGBTQ2+ leader from a small school in Dutchess, Alberta, who is the successful recipient of the Lambda Tuition Award in STEM Studies for the University of Alberta!
Spencer uses he/him pronouns and identifies as a gay man. He earned excellent marks at the Duchess School (about 200km east of Calgary) and is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science at the University of Alberta, majoring in biology and specializing in immunization and virology. Later in his academic career, he hopes to either become a surgeon or earn a doctorate in a field related to microbiology.
At Duchess School, only one or two students are out and there is no Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA). As an activist, Spencer initiated and led Spirit Week, to familiarize his peers and the school staff with LGBTQ2+ issues and to emphasize the importance of ending homophobic and transphobic bullying. They wore purple shirts and made public, educational announcements at the start of the school day to raise awareness. He says, “I decided to do this because there is no representation for LGBTQ2+ people in my school, besides a single Pride flag in the atrium. This was a way to educate students on the LGBTQ2+ community and show LGBTQ2+ students that there are people who care about them.” Spencer, who describes himself as “very politically aware,” also organized a small walk-out to protest the current Alberta government’s rollback policy on GSAs in schools.
We at Lambda are very proud of our accomplished and courageous STEM award winner and wish Spencer the best in his future studies and community work!