Nolan Tesis was the only Northeastern University student to be named as a 2016 Arcus Fellow, which took place at the California Institute of Integral Studies. A national fellowship was created a few years ago which helps emphasise leadership initiatives in the LGBTQ community and recognises and supports the students who do. Tesis is passionate about cultural and LGBTQ issues and quite eager to take part in this mission. He said, “For me, what they wanted really resonated with my experiences”.
Tesis was born and brought up in Boston, and he admits that he was always surrounded by “a diverse group of students”. Tesis has always been getting himself involved in community outreach and social organisations such as the House and Ballroom Scene. It has opened his eyes to the problems these marginalised communities face even in today’s times. He enrolled for two courses, which focused on feminism, gender studies, and intersectionality. His professor for these courses was Moya Bailey, who is a scholar of Race, Feminist, Cultural and Disability studies.
Tesis admits that this course has helped him a lot. “That allowed me to take my lived experiences and apply them in an academic way”. Bailey then coaxed him to apply for the fellowship, with her being his official home campus mentor. “It wasn’t a surprise to me that he was selected,” said Bailey. “Nolan took the conversations from our class and is putting them into practice by creating a network that’s intersectional.”
“I think we have a visible LGBT community through NU Pride, but I wanted to develop a program where we could use a few different student resource offices—such as the LGBTQA Resource Center, the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program—and collaborate and use intersectionality as a core of our programming,” he said. “If we collaborate and work together, we can better suit the needs of students at the margins of each of those groups.”
Tesis is one passionate person, always on his toes to make this world a better place. “I want to create an infrastructure, a network that may not have existed before,” he said. “I want to start a cultural revolution, to find a platform to change lives.”