Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX student establishing mentorship program for LGBTQ youth in Atlantic Canada as Pathy Fellowship recipient

April 26th, 2021
Lauren Sobot

Lauren Sobot, a graduating StFX student will be working to establish a mentorship program between LGBTQ adults and LGBTQ youth in Atlantic Canada, as a Pathy Foundation Fellowship recipient at the Coady Institute. 

“I am excited and honoured to give back to the community and make a positive impact on LGBTQ youth. I’ve heard that the Pathy Fellowship really encourages you to push your limits and step outside of your comfort zone, so I’m very much looking forward to growing both personally and professionally,” says Ms. Sobot of Burlington, ON, who graduates from StFX with an honours degree in biology and psychology.

She is among 16 youth leaders awarded a Pathy Fellowship for 2021-22. 

The 12-month fellowship provides community-focused experiential learning opportunities for graduating students of McGill University, Queen’s University, University of Ottawa, Bishop’s University, and St. Francis Xavier University. Applicants submit a self-designed initiative proposal to work with a community with which they have a connection, to foster sustainable positive social change in Canada and around the world. The Pathy Family Foundation supports each fellow with funding of up to $40,000. This is the largest cohort yet, with six fellows from the previously deferred 2020-21 program joining 10 new fellows for a cohort of 16. 

With the Pathy Foundation Fellowship, Ms. Sobot hopes to establish a mentorship program between LGBTQ adults and LGBTQ teens and young adults, with the goal of building confidence and resiliency within young LGBTQ people. “It’s so important for youth to have a trusted adult to confide in and receive advice about the unique stressors that come along with being LGBTQ, such as coming out, having unsupportive family, and dealing with homophobic and/or transphobic discrimination,” she says. 

“I got the idea from my own struggles that I’ve experienced through growing up as a member of the Queer community. Two very important figures in my journey are Dr. Rhea Ashley Hoskin and Dr. Karen Blair, who I met through my time as a research student in Dr. Blair’s LGBTQ psychology lab at StFX (now at Trent University). Having proudly LGBTQ professors has made me vastly more comfortable with myself, and they have been incredible LGBTQ mentors and role models,” she says. 

Ms. Sobot says she heard about the Pathy Fellowship in her first year at StFX. “I always thought it sounded like a great opportunity, but never imagined I could come up with a suitable initiative to apply. In my third year, while reflecting on my mentorship with Dr. Blair and Dr. Hoskin, I thought it would be a great idea to give the opportunity for mentorship to other LGBTQ youth.”

She says it felt surreal to know her journey has led her from being a closeted teenager to having the chance to start a program to help other youth experiencing similar challenges. 

Ms. Sobot is the 15th StFX graduate to undertake a Pathy Fellowship since 2015.

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