When Daniel Wang left his Melbourne home to study in Canberra, the most important thing for him was being accepted for who he is.
Mr Wang is gay, and comes from a family that does not fully support his sexual orientation.
“I haven’t been kicked out of home, but there definitely is a lot of coarseness there, if you want to put it that way, and a lot of brushing it under the carpet,” Mr Wang said.
On Wednesday evening, he officially received the ACT’s first Snow Foundation Pinnacle Scholarship, which he said had helped him concentrate on his studies.
“I probably would have had to have gone without text books, and a laptop would have been something that I really would have put off for six months or a year until I’d saved up enough money,” Mr Wang said.
The Pinnacle Foundation has been awarding scholarships to students around Australia since 2010. Last year it teamed up with the Snow Foundation to provide scholarships to ACT students.
The scholarships, worth about $3500 a year, are awarded to people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community, to maximise their ability to perform academically.
The program also matches students with successful people from the industry they hope to work in, to provide a mentoring role.
Mr Wang said he was studying a double bachelor degree of medical science and politics, economics and philosophy at the ANU, and he was matched with Dr Kevin Lee, an endocrinologist based in Melbourne.
“Having the mentor and the foundation, who are all 100% accepting and willing to nurture the person who you are for who you are, without having any of the negative, is definitely a big plus,” Mr Wang said.
The Snow Foundation – established in 1991 by businessmen and philanthropists George and Terry Snow – provides support to a range of disadvantaged or marginalised people in the Canberra region.
Applications for 2015 scholarships close on October 1.