Bobcat Pride Scholarship Fund

Educate Embrace Empower

Our Mission

The Bobcat Pride Scholarship Fund is organized exclusively for charitable purposes, more specifically the BPSF Jeremy O. Torres Emergency Stabilization Fund provides monetary support to emerging adults (ages 18 to 25), who have minority sexual and gender identities (LGBTQIA+), residing in the Greater San Marcos area. 

Our Vision

BPSF recognizes people of all minority sexual and gender identities experience systemic oppression. Therefore, BPSF aspires to empower future societal contributions by helping these individuals address unforeseen financial barriers.

Diversity Statement

BPSF values all board members, volunteers and applicants as unique individuals and welcomes the variety of experiences they bring to our organization. As such, BPSF does not practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of discrimination. It is our intention to be an emotionally safe and respectful environment for all members of the BPSF community. We believe everyone should be treated equally and strive to provide quality services that are sensitive to and inclusive of diversity of all kinds including race, ethnicity, national origin, language of choice, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical ability.

Annual Reports

The Board of Directors publishes our annual report each April at the end of our fiscal year.  The fiscal integrity of BPSF has allowed us to support LGBTQIA+ emerging adults in the greater San Marcos area since 2010.  

Meet our Board of Directors

Heather Aidala (she/her), Psy.D. is a founding member and serves as the Executive Director of BPSF.  She is currently a Senior Administrative Assistant in University College after providing 20 years of mental health services to college students as a Psychologist and leader, at three different institutions.  She has also been a passionate and committed bisexual cisgender ally and advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community.  She served as the co-chair of Allies of Texas State when it was a grass-roots committee which inspired the creation of BPSF as a 501(c)3 in 2010.  Supporting LGBTQIA emerging adults through BPSF has inspired and pushed her to continue to do better in her personal life and remain politically active.  Outside of BPSF she spends time with her family, gardening, cooking, SUPing on the San Marcos River, saving creatures (usually small, often of the kitten type), and cuddling with her furbabies.  I appreciate the opportunity to serve BPSF with this amazing volunteer Board of Directors!


Stacie McGee (she/her), LMSW-IPR serves as the Operations Director of BPSF. She is full-time Lecturer in the Texas State School of Social Work. She has served on the NASW/Texas School Social Work Steering Committee, the NASW/TX State Conference Planning Committee, the mayor-appointed City of San Marcos Youth Commission, and with a Mediation Certificate from Texas State University, as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Hays County Alternative Dispute Resolution Center, where she still acts as a volunteer trainer. She has volunteered extensively in the San Marcos community, including on the Fundraising Committee and Scholarship Committee for the Bobcat Pride Scholarship Fund, as the Volunteer Director on the Board of Directors for the Cattery Lounge and Snackery, as a 4H Leader, and with San Marcos public schools. McGee has been an Ally at Texas State for almost 15 years. McGee is proud to have been engaged with BPSF since it's inception in 2010 and especially pleased to be a founding Board Member of the revitalized Jeremy O. Torres Emergency Stabilization Fund.


Karen Gordon-Sosby (she/her), serves as the Financial Director of BPSF.  She is the Associate Director of the Texas State Student Health Center. She lives in Wimberley, but after working in San Marcos almost 30 years, it is her second home. She is a 2008 graduate of Leadership San Marcos. She was part of the early group of Allies at Texas State and considers the Allies program one of the best things Texas State ever accomplished. Karen has been actively involved in both Wimberley and San Marcos community organizations but is especially proud to be a long-time donor and now the Financial Director for BPSF. The ability to serve those who may not have other resources is especially rewarding. The gratitude we receive from our awardees makes us want to work even harder for them. When she is not at work, Karen enjoys travel (especially to the Big Bend area) and hanging out at the Blanco River or by her backyard fire pit.

Arisela Thompson (she/her), LMSW is the Program Director for BPSF. She is currently a Site Coordinator with Communities in Schools of South Central Texas. Arisela has experience working with children in foster care, foster families, adults and teens living with mental illness, and adults living in a nursing home facility. Arisela’s desire to provide more support in her community led her to be involved with BPSF. As Program Director, she has the privilege of interacting directly with the applicants, coordinating the disbursement of funds, and sharing other supportive community resources. Outside of work, Arisela enjoys spending time with family, walking, and playing guitar. Arisela and her wife, Aryn, have 2 fur babies Oliver (pig) and Granger (dog) and reside in San Marcos, TX.


Teresa Prater (she/her) is the Internal Communications Director (and sometimes social media designer!) for BPSF. Teresa joined our team in August 2021. As a social work student at Texas State University, Teresa brings an understanding of how large societal issues can directly influence a person's life. Her 30 years in business are exhibited through her thoroughness to detail and organization.  A native Houstonian, Teresa moved to San Marcos in 2020 via the Czech Republic, where she was attending college at the prestigious Charles University in Prague. She brings to BPSF an understanding of international affairs and international human rights challenges. She has served on the Board of Trustees at A Way-Out Women’s Center Detox (Houston, TX) and as a volunteer at the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston. As a social work intern at Refugee Services of Texas (Austin, TX), Teresa has honed her humanitarian skills as she advocates for the resettlement of refugees, asylees, survivors of human trafficking, and other vulnerable & displaced populations. An ally for the LGBTQia+ community, Teresa finds this natural step in her position at BPSF to show her advocacy against the systematic inequalities that are prevalent in this community. She believes that social equity of all kinds acknowledges that inequalities exist, and we must work to eliminate them.  

Outside of BPSF, Teresa enjoys quiet time with her Siamese cat, Suki. A practitioner of meditation allows her to stay focused; to start each day with intention. She enjoys watching documentaries, reading biographies, making up her own recipes, and solo rides throughout the Texas backcountry. International travel is her one true hobby. She describes herself as a jack of all trades and a master of none. “Sometimes all I need is a good cup of coffee and a Dylan album to make me happy.”  

 
Celeste Cook (she/her), serves as the Marketing Director of BPSF. She is currently the Features Editor at the San Marcos Record. Previously, she worked as an ESL/English teacher in Seoul, South Korea, and as a Literature teacher for Austin Independent School District. She is a committed queer/cisgender ally and advocate within the LGBTQIA+ community. She is also an author of several novels that feature diverse characters in healthy LGBTQIA+ relationships in an effort to provide positive role models for LGBTQIA emerging adult readers. Outside of BPSF she is Mom to a full-grown son who is a recent graduate of Texas State. She enjoys international travel, kayaking, Kpop, reading, writing, and getting gently bossed around by her cat, Dexter. She is grateful for the opportunity to serve BPSF!

About the person who designed our new logo: Artist Sheka Robinson is a social justice advocate, creative, cancer warrior who attempts to integrate inclusion into all aspects of her art making process.  While her professional career led her down a Higher Education path, she always looked for opportunities to express her creativity in different work projects and created a diversity and inclusion workshop for yoga teachers in training in her community.  When she is not creating, you will find Sheka deep into true crime tv/podcasts and spending quality time with her pup Zora aka Zozo.

Our History

This private fund was founded in 2010 by Texas State alumni and friends as they recognized the progress Texas State had made towards the inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community yet the lack of resources to support LGBTQIA+ Bobcats.  This inspired the group to establish a scholarship fund with two goals: 1) to offer an academic achievement scholarship and 2) to offer a leadership development scholarship to LGBTQIA+ Texas State students.  Bobcat Pride Scholarship Fund® was the first ever, private scholarship dedicated exclusively to supporting LGBTQIA+ Bobcats. 


The Emergency Stabilization Fund (ESF) was established in 2013 to support LGBTQIA+ Bobcats facing an unexpected financial crisis that could have disrupted their ability to continue in school.  Our dear friend Jeremy O. Torres, a faculty member in the Department of Theatre, was part of the fabric of BPSF.  When he passed in 2016 the leadership felt strongly that the ESF embodied the love and support Jeremy always offered others and in communication with his mother, Shirley Abernethy, it was agreed we would rename the fund in his honor.  Read more about the Legacy of Jeremy.


In September 2018, BPSF's leadership donated all funds to ALLIANCE at Texas State for the first Texas State University scholarship for LGBTQIA+ Texas State Students.  The decision to collaborate enabled the LGBTQIA+ Endowed Scholarship to reach the endowment level, guaranteeing scholarship opportunities for Bobcat students indefinitely!


In August of 2019, BPSF was transferred to new leadership in order to revitalize the Jeremy O. Torres Emergency Stabilization Fund.  This Board of Directors expanded the mission to provide monetary support to emerging adults (between the ages of 18 to 25), who have minority sexual and gender identities (LGBTQIA+), residing in the greater San Marcos area.  This allows the fund to support these individuals in a time of unforeseen crisis with one-time, limited financial support to secure their well-being and/or ability to stay enrolled in school.


Previous Scholarship Opportunities:

  • The academic achievement scholarship was a way to celebrate the accomplishment of a LGBTQIA+ Bobcat, recognizing the hard work it takes to maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA.  One to two scholarship were granted each semester with the final amount being a $3,000 award.  
  • The leadership development scholarship was a way to promote social justice learning to develop strong student leaders at Texas State.  This scholarship covered the costs of one recipient per summer attending the LGBTQIA+ focused conference, Campus Pride Summer Leadership Camp. 
  • The Rattler Pride/Bobcat Pride Scholarship provided a yearly $500 scholarship to one San Marcos High School senior who identifies as LGBTQIA+ and who was accepted to Texas State University.


Achievements Since Our Inception:

  • Awarded over 200 Jeremy O. Torres Emergency Stabilization Fund recipients
  • Provided over $98K in support to LGBTQIA+ emerging adults
  • Earned 501(c)(3) status as a federal non-profit organization in 2011
  • Up until 2016, funded 55 scholarship and internship opportunities; comprised of over 25 Academic Achievement Scholarships, and 8 Leadership Development Scholarships.
  • Created hallmark annual fundraising events such as the donor Soireé and Drag Out Funny
  • Developed relationships with donors leading to significant contributions and the creation of the Legacy Circle, inducting members at the Humanitarian and Benefactor level