Autumn (Fay) Austin, an incoming freshman from El Dorado, has been selected as the recipient of the 2022-23 Stonewall Scholarship at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
“I am very honored to win this scholarship,” Austin said. “It’s the first scholarship that I’ve won, and my family is proud of me. I’m very humbled to receive this money for my education.”
The Stonewall Scholarship is awarded to a student who demonstrates knowledge of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) history, an understanding of current events as they relate to the LGBT community, and a commitment to advancing LGBT civil rights in the form of demonstrated substantial leadership. This year’s scholarship is $2,100.
Dr. Katrina Yeaw, head of the scholarship selection committee, noted the committee members were impressed by Austin’s academic achievements and commitment to advancing LGBT+ rights in Arkansas.
A May graduate of El Dorado High School, Austin will major in studio art and minor in creative writing at UA Little Rock. After she graduates college, she plans to become a graphic novelist.
“I am very passionate about writing and also art,” Austin said. “Being able to combine those two things is a dream for me. Nothing brings me more joy than creative writing, and I enjoy the freedom of being able to write what I want.”
Austin developed a love for art when she watched cartoons and animation as a child. Art provided her with an outlet to express herself freely, and she made a lot of art involving her favorite LGBT characters.
“I was very inspired by the shows I watched and the media I consumed,” Austin said. “It reflects in my art and my writing. Lots of the shows had LGBT representation, but it had to be very subtle, because it wasn’t as accepted back then. I’m very proud of the progress we have made, and I want to contribute toward that progress.”
While in high school, Austin and her friends worked to start a gay straight alliance student organization and would conduct peaceful protests with pride flags to demonstrate support for the LGBT community.