Youth Inititaive 2013_Carousel Item

NMAC USCA 2013 Youth Scholars

Patrick IngramPatrick Ingram (Youth Advisory Committee) is a gay African-American male who is living with HIV.  Patrick was diagnosed December 1, 2011.  By using his blog, his YouTube channel, and working alongside  The Northern Virginia Gay Men’s Health Collaborative and  The Fredericksburg Area HIV/AIDS Support Services (FAHASS), Patrick has worked hard to empower youth and people of color to  know their HIV status and take steps to continue to care for themselves.

I bring great ideas and contributions, from the perspective of a 24 HIV-positive, year gay man of color that works with individuals who are vulnerable or living with HIV, that would be important at USCA.

Januari McKayJanuari McKay
(Youth Advisory Committee) is 25 year-old youth advocate in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. While obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Minor in Health Education at North Carolina Central University, Januari joined Project Save a Fellow Eagle (Project S.A.F.E.).  Her time within the Department of Health at NCCU and volunteering with Project S.A.F.E. helped to shape her passion for working with youth and preventing the spread of HIV and other STIs through education, outreach, and advocacy. Since graduation, Januari has continued to work on prevention in the Washington, D.C. area.  Januari has served as a peer educator with the Women’s Collective, volunteered as an Education and Curriculum Coordinator with Metro TeenAIDS, served on the DC Community Coalition Youth Core.

I would like to come to USCA and be a voice for the young people in the communities I serve who feel as though they don’t have a voice.


Kristopher SharpKristopher Sharp (Youth Advisory Committee) is a senior Social Work major and newly elected Student Body Vice President at the University of Houston-Downtown. Kristopher has been an ardent community advocate and political activist for many years. He has lobbied elected officials on all levels of government for improvements on various issues; specifically, advancing equality for members of the GLBT and HIV-positive communities, improving the livelihood and outcomes for children in the Texas foster care system, and the elimination of federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Kristopher hopes to utilize his experiences growing up in the Texas foster care system and as an openly gay, HIV-positive individual to seek key changes in social policy while simultaneously changing the face of American politics.

It is my hope that at USCA I will be able to interact with other advocates who work in the HIV community to dialogue regarding the challenges our communities are faced with as we move forward in our fight to end the epidemic.


Edgar MendezEdgar Mendez is the curator of CHATpdx online and works with the Youth Programming team at the Cascade AIDS Project to develop peer education curriculum, events and more. The CHATpdx program works to lower HIV infection rates among young people via expanded HIV testing, peer education, social media, and community partnerships. Edgar is passionate about youth engagement, honest and scientifically accurate sex education, and HIV prevention.

To USCA I hope to bring a unique and informed experience as a young person who provides HIV prevention services for other youth, communities of color, and people experiencing homelessness or other forms of disenfranchisement

Kymberly ByrdKymberly Byrd
, a native of Beach Park, IL, currently serves as a Project Coordinator at the Center for Addictions Research and Services at the Boston University School of Social Work. She was awarded her Master of Social Work degree this May from Boston University and will complete the requirements for her Master of Public Health degree this summer. She plans to pursue a career in community-based research and evaluation upon graduation.

At USCA, I look forward to engaging with professionals from various backgrounds.


Tiera DeckerTiera Decker, born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, was diagnosed HIV-positive in 2008 while attending school in Georgia. She has a passion for styling hair and also loves to be an encouragement to others living with HIV.  She is currently in school completing a Bachelor’s in Business Administration.

I hope to be an asset at USCA and learn valuable information to bring back to my hometown.


Felton BeeksFelton Beeks is a peer sexual health educator with ASCNYC. Under ASCNYC, he uses social media as a tool to reach out to YMSMs, delivering sexual health messages and recruiting for HIV testing. He co-facilitates Healthy Relationships and is an HIV prevention counselor and tester. As a person living with HIV he feels the need to be an advocate in the fight to end this epidemic.

At USCA I would like to share my experiences of using social media as a tool for outreach and the delivery of sexual health messages to the young MSM community.


Derrick YoungDerrick Young is a native of Chicago, IL but has lived in Kansas City, MO the majority of his life. In 2011, Derrick began attending Grambling State University in Grambling, LA where he is currently working toward his Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Throughout his adolescent years, he has been exposed to a vast array of professional and academic experiences in which his leadership capabilities and competence have launched him into a life of public service. These experiences include Student Government Association, Student Nursing Association, Favrot Student Union Board, Fresh Campus: Tobacco Free Initiative, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program working with the HIV/AIDS Resource Center in Ypsilanti, MI.

At USCA I hope to expand my knowledge tremendously being surrounded by leaders, educators, and advocates who have been working in and studying HIV for many years.

Sienna SpightSienna Spight
is 21 years of age and I grew up in the small town of Tiplersville, MS. until the age of 12 when she moved to Collierville, TN. She attended Concord Career College where she graduated as a Medical Assistant. She one son and it is because of him that she wakes up daily and strives to do her very best. Her ultimate goal is to be a positive influence to everyone around her and to help change the lives of young people one at a time.

At USCA, I hope to contribute my knowledge and work ethic about HIV to other young people who want to make a difference and spread awareness.


Lawrence Stallworth 1Lawrence Stallworth

Since speaking publicly about his HIV-positive status in local schools only a couple of months after his diagnosis in 2009, Lawrence Stallworth II has shared his story at the United Nations on World AIDS Day 2011, at the United States Conference on AIDS, and in September of 2011 was one of the first young people to speak before the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. He has since worked in many different roles in the HIV/AIDS field including Community Education and Outreach Coordinator for the B.T.G.B. Project of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland and currently serves in the role of Youth Services Coordinator for the Beyond Identities Community Center of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland.

At USCA, I hope to contribute my perspective as a young person living with HIV who works directly with and is a part of the most severely impacted population.


Maiah TaylorMaiah Taylor is a 4th year student of psychology and sociology at New College of Florida in Sarasota. She received her dual enrollment diploma for School for Advanced Studies and eventually earned her spot in the Summa cum Laude category prior to graduating. After her eighteen-year residence in the Miami area, Maiah moved to Sarasota, Florida, where she was offered a student internship with CARES Outreach Services. She also worked at the Safe Place and Rape Crisis center as a victim’s advocate. Recently, she was the youngest member to be invited to the 7th Annual Homeland Security Professionals Conference after serving as the publisher’s assistant for The Counter Terrorist Magazine. After graduation she plans to focus her education and career path on critical incident response management.

At USCA I would like to contribute positive dialogue with others with respect to how our age group could best benefit from prevention and education programs.

Derek DangerfieldDerek Dangerfield
is a graduate of Georgetown University class of 2012, and majored in Sociology.  As an undergraduate he conducted HIV and STI epidemiology research with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore for three years.  He just completed a year long research project in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with Perdana University (in collaboration with Johns Hopkins School of Medicine) examining determinants of voluntary HIV testing and counseling among Malaysian MSM as a US Fulbright Scholar.  He will begin a doctoral program in Health Behavior Research at the USC Keck School of Medicine in the fall of 2013.

I hope to bring a significant perspective to USCA and contribute to ideas and discourse surrounding HIV prevention, treatment, and social barriers to access and care.

Terrell WinderTerrell Winder
is a doctoral student in Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research areas include race & ethnicity, sexuality, qualitative & quantitative research methods, and education. He is currently exploring the role that youth development organizations play in the identity processes and social lives of black, gay, youth in Los Angeles. Additionally, Terrell works as a Youth Transitional Case Manager for HIV positive youth and serves as a commissioner for the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV.

I hope to bring my experience as a young researcher and case manager to USCA. My work requires me to speak to different populations and therefore I hope to bring these perspectives together to better serve the target youth population.

Wesley DixonWesley Eugene Dixon
is a Junior at Yale University where he double majors in Environmental Engineering and African Studies. While his academic interests seem varied, Wesley’s underlying passion for and commitment to social justice ties them together. Wesley is the Coordinator for the Social Justice Network at Yale, a group that oversees and provides various resources to all of the students groups who perform social justice work. Additionally, Wesley works with Health Justice CT, an organization dedicated to shedding light on health justice issues around the State of Connecticut, as a columnist and a social media strategist. As a part of the social media team Wesley curates Twitter Town Hall meetings that focus on various issues, many times HIV/AIDS.  Mr. Dixon was recently appointed a 2014 Connecticut Health Foundation Health Leadership Fellow, the youngest person to ever receive this honor.

I will contribute a combination of vitality, energy, research perspectives, and experience working in the community, to the important discussion at USCA.

Victor YangVictor Yang
is incredibly excited to bring his passions for racial justice, public health, and community organizing to the Initiative. As the child of Chinese immigrants and a Kentucky upbringing, he is proud to be repping both his southern and API roots. Two years ago, Victor began an oral history project on activists of color and racial consciousness in the US AIDS movement. He is continuing this adventure as a PhD student at the University of Oxford. Victor has worked as a family resource advocate at the Boston Medical Center, a researcher of antiretroviral treatment systems for South African community health clinics, and a community organizer in Boston’s Dorchester and San Francisco’s Chinatown.

I believe that past opportunities in my life will help me bring innovative ideas to a place like USCA.

Derek HernandezDerek Hernandez
is an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, with a major in Sociocultural Anthropology.  He is a Research Assistant at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine where he studies the behavioral aspects of HIV-positive men and researches new implementations of HIV prophylaxis via social media.  Derek is passionate about the dynamics of LGBTQ Healthcare and ensuring accessibility and retention of care for patients, especially HIV/AIDS patients.  He is notably proud for holding two Student Intern positions at UCLA Health System and currently at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he works alongside physicians and nurses to ensure patient safety and adherence to quality measures.  Derek plans to ultimately earn his Doctorate in Nursing Practice Degree and purse a career an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.

At USCA I hope to spread my passion for helping to end the HIV epidemic amongst the African American and Latino populations and others.

Patrice HuntleyPatrice Huntley
has worked in the field of social work for over six years and is currently a Medical Case Manager on Compass’ case management team. She is an alumna of Florida International University (Miami, FL) with a Master of Social Work Degree and Bachelor of Science in Social Work Degree. She has worked with a variety of populations including adolescents, LGBT community, individuals with HIV/AIDS, mental health and substance abuse population as well as individuals and families affected by domestic violence.  She has specialized in case management, mental health counseling, and domestic violence and sexual assault sensitivity training. Her additional skills include being a certified HIV/AIDS tester in Palm Beach County and a Registered Pharmacy Technician for the State of Florida.

At USCA, I hope to be at the forefront of eradicating this disease for my generation and generations to come.

Mario OlivaresMario Olivares
participates in community building based on Latino LGBTQ empowerment as a core group member of Generation L, a program of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center at Humboldt Park, Chicago, IL,. Through safer sex campaign promotions, culturally empowering dialogues, and youth outreach he has learned to live and help to live. The organization he works with serves as one of the Midwest’s largest Latino communities.

What I aspire to contribute to USCA is my perspective and experience as an active community member in the Humboldt Park, Chicago area.


Xavier WeddingtonXavier J. Weddington is 23 years old and lives in Memphis, TN. He is a Certified Nursing Assistant and also an HIV/AIDS advocate. He’s a member of the Community Advisory Board, and Peer Facilitator for Project ACCEPT at St Jude. His life’s motto is ‘ Loneliness is not the absence of people, it’s the absence of purpose.’

I plan to bring a young fresh mind to USCA, ready and willing to absorb the knowledge and bring it back to my hometown and make a difference.



Moises Cintron 1Moises Cintron is 21 years old and was born and raised in San Juan Puerto Rico. He is currently a senior Pre-Medical student majoring in Cellular-Molecular Biology at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus. He is also a research student at the University of Puerto Rico Clinical Trial Unit, within the Maternal Infant Studies Center (CEMI in Spanish) under the supervision of Dr. Carmen Zorrilla (Principal Investigator), and he also assists the center’s Community Education Team. Moises is determined to adopt a holistic approach that integrates Medicine and Public Health throughout his career and to represent the Puerto Rican and Latin community in the United States.

As a 21 year old young Puerto Rican man I will represent the young Latin community within the U.S. and will be able to point out the needs and concerns of this subset of the HIV population.

Taija RevelsTaija Revels
is an enrolled member of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indians of Alaska. She is Tlingit, Kaagwaantaan of the Xóots Hit House; in English, she is Tlingit from the Eagle moiety of the Wolf clan of the Brown Bear Nest’s house of Hoonah, Alaska. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Taija now resides in Anchorage after completing her Bachelors of Science in Women’s Studies with a focus on queer women of color at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. She is a Research Associate at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in the HIV/STD program. Her research interests are in Alaska Native health, decolonization, health inequalities as a result of social inequities, and sexual health.

To USCA I will bring the concerns and realities of our Alaska Native experiences surrounding HIV in our communities, both urban and rural, to the national level.


Edric FigueroaEdric Figueroa is a queer, first-generation Peruvian-American organizer hailing from Atlanta, GA. A graduate of Kennesaw State University, Edric pursued a degree in Human Services with a Concentration in Case Management. There, he discovered his passion of harm reduction and transformative social justice.  Throughout his academic journey, Edric became involved in several grassroots organizing efforts to create safer spaces centered around the feminist model of interesectonality. Since 2011, Edric has empowered gay men to know their status, fight stigma, and to advocate for an infection free future with AID Atlanta, the largest AIDS Service Organization in the South East.

I hope to bring a queer, Southern, first-generation Peruvian-American voice to USCA.

Tasha ParkerTasha Campbell Parker
is a 23 year old Afro-Latina born in Costa Rica. She lived most of her life In Boston, MA and graduated from Southeastern Reg. Voc. H.S at the top of her class with a Culinary Arts Certification and then went on to bartending school. She is very active in her community and as a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Alumni (HOBY) is really involved in service and volunteering. She is a Peer Health Navigator and volunteers with Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) and with The Young Women Health Leadership Academy.

I hope to learn much more than I think I can contribute at USCA.


Gambit GeniessGambit Geniess (AKA Brian Mac) recently moved to Los Angeles where he attended and volunteered at many different organizations and groups. Soon he became more involved with a start up MPowerment group called Color in Common at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center where he recruited and planned many activities for youth of color. As he delved more into the field of HIV, he became an ethnographer for AIDS Project Los Angeles where he researched what young men were saying about relationships, sex, dating, and overall interaction between men who have sex with men. Recently, Gambit was appointed to be on the Commission on HIV in Los Angeles.

At USCA I hope to contribute my knowledge of how HIV is impacting my local community.

Shaquille LongShaquille Long
is 18 years old and lives in Jacksonville Fl. He is a youth representative for the Jacksonville Youth Council, which is an organization that gives youth a voice in their community, schooling, and government. He has been HIV -positive for a year and a half.

At USCA I plan to contribute my voice and experiences as an HIV-positive youth and I’ll bring with me an open mind.


Tranisha ArzahTranisha Arzah was diagnosed with HIV in 1990 when she was born. She moved to Seattle about two years ago, working as a childcare provider and volunteering with numerous HIV related organizations such as Rise n’ Shine Camp (Inspire Youth Project). She currently works as the Peer Advocate at BABES Network- YWCA, which is a peer support program for women and families living with HIV/AIDS.

I hope to bring to USCA my experience of being a young person diagnosed with HIV at birth.


Alexander PacachAlexander Pacach is a young gay Latino man born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. His unique background is the base for his passion for and commitment to his community. He entered the field of HIV prevention as client and soon after became a volunteer for the Mpowerment project, a community-level intervention based in Hollywood. Currently he works with the Risk Reduction Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles – Division of Adolescent Medicine as a Health Educator for the LIFE project, an adaptation of the POL intervention. There he helps youth redefine social norms and establish healthier norms like routine testing.

As a young gay man of color who has been involved in advocacy and service provision since 16, I hope to provide a unique perspective to USCA from both a youth and service provider lense.

Joshua WaltonJoshua Walton
is the President and founder of Breaking the Silence. Breaking the silence is an outreach program that provides resources for inner city youth around drugs & alcohol abuse, dropout prevention, and HIV awareness and prevention. Before starting this organization Joshua was the President of TUA1 Center, and Youth of the Year with the Boys & Girls Club of Suncoast. Joshua also served on the St. Petersburg City Wide Youth Council Board as President. After all the obstacles Joshua has overcame in his life he still finds time to give to his community, with a strong belief that we are the product of our community in any way formed.

At USCA I will bring the knowledge gained from my peers in my local community who are working to prevent and end HIV.

Antwan MoneganAntwan Monegan
lives in Chicago, Illinois and will be 23 years old this August. He tested positive for HIV in December of 2008. He has developed a great sense of knowledge working with many local agencies and he has worked at a youth homeless shelter, at a food van, and participated in different groups and functions geared towards those who are infected or vulnerable to HIV.

The opportunity to attend USCA will improve my skills so that I might better help those around me who can benefit from my insight.


Michael Battle 1Michael David Battle is the Founder and Director at Garden of Peace Project and the Director of Prevention Services at Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. Michael David is also an educator, public speaker, and activist currently living in Pittsburgh. He shares his unique journey with audiences and educates them on what it’s like to be intersex and transition to male, to live as a Black man of trans* experience, and on the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity.

At USCA I hope to meet individuals like myself from around the country, learn what I can do from PA to help the HIV crisis in the South, apply that to the work I do in Pittsburgh.

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