Aaron Quick, an incoming MSW candidate at NC State, has won the Verne LaMarr Lyons Memorial Scholarship. At the School of Social Work, Aaron will focus much of his research on LGBTQ+ youth of color and their associated mental health needs. Though his plans don’t stop at research, Aaron hopes to translate this knowledge into a meaningful career path through practice and advocacy.
“Going into my MSW program, my career goals were to develop a nationwide agency that works with urban communities on a micro, mezzo, and macro-level to diminish the factors that are harmful to the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth of color,” said Aaron. “I want to bring together a nationwide team of LGBTQ+ identifying social workers and counselors that will work with LGBTQ+ youth of color to first help these youth become comfortable with their identities. Second, to work with families who have children/family members that identify as LGBTQ+; so that these families can learn tools that can help them better support their LGBTQ+ children/family members.”
This is a subject matter Aaron is deeply passionate towards and has extensively studied. He stated, “Identifying as LGBT+ and black significantly magnifies the amount of discrimination, stereotypes, brutality, racism, bigotry, and systemic oppression that a young person will face. Research has shown that all these kinds of discrimination and oppression are having a monumental effect on the mental health and the overall well-being of LGBT+ youth of color. I know personally that identifying as an LGBT+ youth of color can affect a young person’s mental health because I am a proud black gay man. It is this unheard cry from LGBT+ youth of color that has garnered my interest in being an advocate for mental wellbeing for this ostracized community.”
However, due to escalating unrest between police and communities of color, Aaron has also shown interest in developing outreach programs to foster understanding and change. As he noted, “I believe the best way for people to build relationships is by interacting with each other. So whether it be open dialog discussions, fun block parties, or group volunteer work, I think creating spaces where these estranged and divided communities can come together and speak openly, laugh, cry, and work together is truly conducive to the betterment of our society.”
Looking forward, Aaron Quick is excited about the opportunities NC State and the Verne LaMarr Lyons Scholarship will provide him on his path to becoming a professional agent of change.