Community Driven: Jenna Pel empowers queer students and alumni at her alma mater

Jenna Pel takes pride in her Cambodian culture and heritage, and she demonstrates these values as the president of the University of Houston’s LGBTQ Alumni Association. 

Her commitment to community and identity pushed her to streamline the association’s scholarship process and more effectively provide funds to UH students in the LGBTQ community. The association now interviews and connects candidates to other recipients at a scholarship dinner.

“The hope is to create an efficient, rigorous, and durable process that allows us to have more personal touchpoints with the recipients,” says Pel, a pansexual Cambodian American. “As alumni, helping students who are in the position we were once in motivates and drives us.”

Pel admits she wasn’t always invested in the UH community. Although she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history at UH, she did not feel connected to the campus as a student. However, when the Pulse Nightclub shooting occurred three years after she graduated, Pel wanted to get involved and uplift queer students at her alma mater.

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