Rising sophomore Ryan Gaffney received the Marc David Foundation Award at Penn State Abington for his leadership of the campus Queer Student Alliance (QSA). The corporate communication major is president of QSA as well as an academic standout with a 4.0 grade-point average.
The Marc Daavid Foundation Award at Penn State Abington is given to an undergraduate student who has achieved outstanding academic success and who has demonstrated leadership and advocacy in the LGBTQA community at the University through involvement in an LQBTQA organization at Abington.
“Ryan embraced the opportunity to lead the Queer Student Alliance and provide a space for fellow students to find community during the pandemic. I enjoyed watching him come up with creative measures to connect with students and grow the group. I can’t wait to see him to continue to positively impact the greater Philadelphia and Penn State LGBTQIA+ community,” he said.
"Ryan took over bringing LGBTQ+ students together during a time when community was so important for many. I see so much potential in his future as a student leader and advocate for LGBTQ+ students on campus."
-- Aneesah Smith, director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Aneesah Smith nominated Gaffney for the award.
“Ryan stepped up as a first-year student to be the president of the Queer Student Alliance during a remote school year. He took over running meetings, planning events, and bringing LGBTQ+ students together during a time when community was so important for many. I see so much potential in his future here at Abington as a student leader and advocate for LGBTQ+ students on campus,” she said.
Gaffney is in the throes of lining up QSA’s agenda for the upcoming academic year. In addition to meetings, there is a carnival planned for National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, as well as a trip to New York City to visit the Stonewall National Monument.
About Penn State Abington
Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st-century public higher education within a world-class research university. With about 3,700 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 23 majors, undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics, and more.