CWRU Pride LGBT Alumni Network

Who we are

The CWRU Pride LGBT Alumni Network fosters connections with the LGBT alumni community through events, networking opportunities and other special activities while supporting university initiatives for current LGBT students at CWRU. CWRU Pride welcomes all CWRU alumni and friends interested in supporting excellence in education, and building pride and community.

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The CWRU Pride LGBT Outstanding Student Award

The CWRU Pride LGBT Outstanding Student Award recognizes outstanding contributions by a current student in their last year to the LGBTQ+ community of CWRU, Cleveland, or the nation. Any current undergraduate or graduate student is eligible. The recipient of the award is selected by members of the Pride Alumni Network and the award is presented at the annual Lavender Graduation event. Read the instructions and submit your nomination(s) for the 2024 cycle by 9 a.m. ET on Friday, March 7, 2025.

The CWRU Pride LGBT Outstanding Alumni Award

The CWRU Pride LGBT Alumni Award recognizes an outstanding alum who has made significant contributions to the LGBT community. Nominees must have graduated from Case Western Reserve University with an undergraduate or graduate degree to qualify. Read the instructions and submit your nomination(s) for the 2024 cycle by 12 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 31.

The CWRU Pride LGBT Ohio Leadership Award

This award fund has been developed by alumni and supporters to encourage an LGBT inclusive environment at Case Western Reserve University.

The purpose of the CWRU Pride LGBT Ohio Leadership Award is to provide recognition and financial assistance to outstanding students working to make an impact in the LGBT community at Case Western Reserve University, in Greater Cleveland, or nationally through scholarship, research, or leadership activities aside from their CWRU coursework. Read the instructions and apply for the 2024 cycle by 12 p.m. ET on Friday, October 4.

2022 winner: Andrew Halza

Andrew Hazla

The CWRU Pride Alumni Network presented the 2022 CWRU Pride Ohio Leadership Award to Andrew Halza, MS student from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine for his work in the development of the LGBTQ+ community.

Starting this past October, I’ve had the opportunity to team up with Dr. George Matar, a senior resident physician with UH Family and Preventative Medicine, in developing and rolling out a community survey on the topic of LGBTQ+ health as well as stigmas related to HIV and PrEP. In working with Dr. Matar and his colleagues on this project as well as rounding with them as they meet with transgender and non-binary patients, I’ve grown to internalize and understand the wide breadth of experiences that members of our community face in receiving needed medical care. At current, we are in the process of collecting survey results and, should I be able to receive financial support from this award, I would be able to commit additional time towards analyzing our data, formulating a manuscript for publication, and creating recommendations to the UH administration on how to best serve our LGBTQ+ community.

Noting a marked deficiency of gender-affirming care instruction in the first two years of medical school, I created and currently lead a taskforce of students, physicians and faculty focused on the inclusion of a new team-based learning session on gender-affirming. hormone therapy. This intervention would mark the first team-based learning session on the topic. of gender-affirming care within the CWRU School of Medicine curriculum and would be among the first of its kind in the country, with the potential to act as a template for other medical schools. While vastly different than the work in the clinic with Dr. Matar, the attempt to change medical school curriculums remain a much-needed initiative towards meeting the needs of the LGBTQ+ community by creating an upstream change towards a greater number of physicians providing needed and life-saving care. With assistance from the LGBT Center, I would be able to work closely with medical school staff over the course of the summer and fall, with the aims of introducing this new session in the Fall of 2022 and publicizing our results in 2023.

2021 winner: Okiemute Eyemaro

Okiemute Eyemaro

The CWRU Pride Alumni Network proudly honored Okiemute Eyemaro, a dedicated BA student from the Case Western Reserve University College of Arts and Sciences, with the 2021 CWRU Pride Ohio Leadership Award. Okiemute's passion and commitment to the development of the LGBT community were evident through her impactful work at the LGBT Center. As the Student Coordinator, she not only facilitated discussion groups and connected students with essential resources but also served as a welcoming presence for incoming students, seamlessly integrating them into campus life.

Okiemute's visionary approach reflected a deep understanding of the needs and desires of CWRU students who identified as LGBT. Her efforts extended beyond the confines of the LGBT Center, actively incorporating it into the vibrant tapestry of CWRU campus culture. Recognizing the potential for personal and professional growth, Okiemute pursued the CWRU Pride Ohio Leadership Award with a specific focus on enhancing her project management skills.

In the summer of 2021, Okiemute's dedication reached new heights as she secured the position of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Intern for Endeavor. In this role, she collaborated with the D&I team to disseminate company-wide communications and establish crucial working groups. The knowledge gained during this internship proved invaluable upon her return to the LGBT Center, where Okiemute, now Senior Student Coordinator, skillfully applied her newfound expertise to facilitate numerous events, including the memorable Lavender Graduation ceremony. Okiemute Eyemaro's journey exemplifies a remarkable blend of leadership, advocacy, and a steadfast commitment to fostering inclusivity within the CWRU community.

2020 winner: H. Michael Schwartz

Headshot of H. Michael Schwartz, MA, CDP

The CWRU Pride Alumni Network awarded H. Michael Schwartz, MA, CDP, an Organizational Behavior Ph.D. student in Weatherhead School of Management, the 2020 CWRU Pride Ohio Leadership Award for their work in the development of the LGBTQ+ community. Schwartz serves as a facilitator for the Polyam Fam series through the university’s LGBTQ+ Center, focused on building support for polyamorous students, staff, faculty and community members. Additionally, they offer one-on-one coaching for students, as the challenges of attending a university often compound and expand when they include a rapid realization and change in self-concept, like discovering you are queer or transgender or being more open about a queer or transgender identity. Through coaching, students build their concept of self from the ground up, examining the experiences, values and possibilities that enable flourishing and building a plan to enact their ideal self.

As an openly transgender TA and instructor, Schwartz mentors students and has published articles working to improve the pedagogy of Organizational Behavior and Management. Schwartz’s academic work is primarily centered on how to improve the state of transgender research and education in management as a discipline. Schwartz approaches this work with two motivations: 1) to increase the knowledge and acknowledgment of transgender experiences in organizations and 2) to publish and create at such high-quality that this knowledge becomes widely applicable and sought out. 

The committee has awarded $2,000 towards H. Micheal Schwartz’s qualifying project to generate more knowledge about what causes transgender hiring bias and reconceptualize how to measure bias within psychology and management. The study aims to measure the impact of “name incongruence,” when a transgender person is previous (or “dead”) name is included on a resume.  The CWRU Pride Alumni Network hopes that this project will impact not only the CWRU campus but also greater Cleveland and beyond. 

2017 winners: Eric Chen and Uriel Kim

image Eric Chen and Uriel Kim

Eric Chen (MED '17) (left) and Uriel Kim (MED '17) (right) recently won Case Western Reserve University Pride LGBT Ohio Leadership Award, sponsored by The Alumni Association of CWRU.

The award is based on Kim and Chen's work in developing the LGBTQ+ Patient Advocacy Training Program. The purpose of this program is to reduce LGBTQ+ health disparities through a rigorous nine-hour curriculum led by faculty and clinicians. After participating in this series of interactive workshops, online modules and clinical exercises, students are better able to advocate for marginalized patient populations and create a welcoming clinical environment. To date, nearly 30 students have completed the training program, with another cohort of students starting soon. The LGBTQ+ Patient Advocacy Training Program addresses a clear need to ensure that medical students are prepared to deliver the best care to even the most vulnerable patients. The award will defray program costs and support summer research.

Chen and Kim are second-year medical students whose efforts will lead to better health outcomes for LGBTQ+ patients and more culturally informed care providers - not only on the CWRU campus, but in Greater Cleveland and beyond, as their fellow students pursue residencies and careers.

2015 winners: Jonathon Wanta and Paul Cheng

image of Jonathon Wanta

Jonathon Wanta (CWR'14), a first year medical student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, was awarded $1,200 by the CWRU Pride Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Ohio Leadership Scholarship Selection Committee to facilitate his summer study of post-surgical outcomes in female to male transition for double mastectomy.The award was based off of Wanta's advocation for the LGBT community in health care, specifically in a surgical subspecialty, and his involvement with the MetroHealth PRIDE Clinic.

In collaboration with doctors at the PRIDE Clinic, Wanta will evaluate long-term psychological effects and patient satisfaction in transgender patients who undergo chest reconstruction. Wanta's goal is that the results of his study will affect change in health care and insurance for transgender individuals.

image of Paul Cheng

Paul Cheng, a second year medical student at CWRU School of Medicine and PhD candidate, is one of two winners of the CWRU Pride LGBT Ohio Leadership Award, sponsored by The Alumni Association. Cheng is also president and founder of QGrad, the LGBT student group for graduate and professional students on campus.

Cheng's award was granted based on his role as a campus leader on LGBT initiatives, as well as his promotion of diversity and visibility for LGBT students. He plans to use the funds of the award to evaluate how lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender-nonconforming medical students perceive the inclusiveness of their medical school environments.

Cheng intends to present the findings of this study at the 2015 Gay and Lesbian Medical Association National Conference. The award will go toward covering the cost of participation, data collection tools and other conference costs.

The goal of Cheng's research is to yield findings that can be presented to admissions and student affairs committees to help meet the needs of LGBT students. 

2014 winners: Carolyn Oatis and Cheri Smalley

image of Carolyn Oatis

Carolyn Oatis, a first-year student, and Spectrum treasurer, is one of two inaugural winners of the Case Western Reserve University Pride LGBT Ohio Leadership Scholarship, sponsored by The Alumni Association.

Oatis’ award was granted after her essay was reviewed by a CWRU panel which deemed the piece compelling, inspiring and most worthy of the award. Her attendance and participation at The Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference (MBLGTACC) in Kansas City is part of the award.  Full financial coverage of all of her travel expenses is also included. Oatis is expected to return from her three-day conference stent with ideas to improve the campus climate for LGBT students as well as report on conference sessions.

Additionally, she’s invited to attend the Lavender Graduation in April, during which President Snyder will personally recognize her achievement.

image of Cheri Smalley

Cheri Smalley, a graduate student at MSASS, was awarded $1200 by the CWRU Pride LGBT Ohio Leadership Scholarship Selection Committee to assist with attendance and participation in the 2014 CWRU Amsterdam Study Abroad program. At the conclusion of the program, Smalley will report back lessons and ideas gleaned from her experience. The goal of the trip is to use this knowledge to influence public policy or suggest adoptive practices to further improve the LGBT climate within the greater Cleveland area.

The award was based off of Smalley’s involvement and support of the transgender community from undergraduate studies and her participation in dare2careusa in Cleveland.

Smalley is invited to attend the Lavender Graduation in April, during which President Snyder will personally recognize her achievement