LGBTQIA Alumni Network presents Community Enrichment awards

Elon’s LGBTQIA Alumni Network recognizes five members of the Elon community for their advocacy work during Homecoming weekend.

Michael Long ’04, Lauren Clapp ’13, Brian O’Shea ’04 (in absentia), Cedric Pulliam ’12 and Amy Belfer ’19 were recognized Nov. 4 with the 2017 LGBTQIA Community Enrichment Awards for their advocacy work and vital role in the LGBTQIA communities.

Elon’s LGBTQIA Alumni Network presented the awards during a champagne brunch celebration held as part of Homecoming. Established in 2012, the network strives to improve the campus climate for members of the Elon community by advocating on behalf of LGBTQIA issues and partnering with others to build an inclusive and respectful community.

As part of the event, attendees heard a campus update from Matthew Antonio Bosch, director of Elon’s Gender and LGBTQIA Center, via video. Bosch talked about how Elon was recognized for the third year in a row among the top American colleges and universities for policies, programs and practices friendly to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students by national advocacy group Campus Pride. Also, 8 percent of the members of the Class of 2021 identified as LGBTQIA, a substantial increase from past years, Bosch said. He added he hoped to see many alumni back next year for the LGBTQIA Alumni Summit, which will take place May 4–5, the same weekend as the Lavender Graduation. 

“Thank you so much to all our students, staff, faculty, administrators, community members and beloved alumni like yourselves for helping our LGBTQIA students feel validated, valued and victorious at Elon,” Bosch said.

2017 LGBTQIA Community Enrichment Award recipients

Michael Long ’04

A native of Blanch, North Carolina, Michael Long is the son of the late Isaac and Naomi Long. At Elon, Michael was a member of the North Carolina Student Legislature, Gospel Choir, Black Cultural Society and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. As an Eagle Scout, he also continued his service to the Boy Scouts of America and its affiliates.

After graduating with degrees in public administration and political science, Michael moved to Washington, D.C., to pursue a career in politics and has called the area home since 2005. He now serves as a senior adviser to the Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Hon. Nancy Pelosi. He is a liaison to all Democratic House Members, specifically the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and members of the Freshman Class. He also volunteers as an adviser for the LGBT Congressional Staff Association and mentors young African American and LGBT interns and staffers. Prior to serving on Capitol Hill, Michael was an associate with Metcalf Federal Relations, a Washington-based consulting firm. He was also a special projects staffer for the Council of Deans with the Association of American Medical Colleges and an intern with Jefferson Government Relations.

Michael has been recognized with the 2012 Elon University Young Alumnus of the Year Award, Capitol Hill’s Top “40 under 40” by Loop 21 and National Outstanding Eagle Scout Award.

Lauren Clapp ’13

Lauren Clapp is a 2013 graduate of Elon, where she studied human services, public health, and women’s & gender studies. During her undergraduate years she was an active member of Spectrum and an Elon College Fellow.

For the past four years, Lauren has worked at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, a nonprofit health care clinic for low income LGBTQ and HIV affected communities in New York City. As a mental health patient navigator, she supports a caseload of 30 patients with severe and persistent mental illness through advocacy and case management support to ensure they remain connected to health care and public benefits. This past fall she started a master’s of social work degree program at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.

Lauren is excited about using her degree and professional experience to provide clinical mental health support to queer and other marginalized communities after she graduates in 2019.

Brian O’Shea ’04

Originally from Long Island, New York, Brian graduated from Elon with a degree in communications in 2004. After a short period at home to assist with his family’s business, he returned to Elon and served as assistant to the vice president for student life and dean of students. He held this role from 2005 to 2011. During that time, Brian earned a master’s degree in liberal studies from Wake Forest University. While a staff member at Elon, he started conversations that created the foundation for the LGBTQIA Alumni Network.

Brian lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, with his partner, Lee, and manages the office of the chief executive officer at The Children’s Place.

Cedric Pulliam ’12

Cedric Pulliam graduated from Elon in 2012 with dual degrees in international studies and political science. He holds a master’s degree in international relations and European studies from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and a master’s degree in international development and conflict resolution from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He has served for more than seven years in the U.S. federal government and is a career-tenured civil servant.

He serves as the human rights and policy adviser at the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy, which leads and coordinates the U.S. president’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In that role, he serves as the policy adviser on fostering partnerships, working with civil society organizations and enhancing key populations and LGBTI programming throughout PEPFAR. He also serves as the lead of the PEPFAR Stigma & Discrimination Task Force, working toward non-stigmatizing environments and anti-discriminatory settings when accessing health care in facilities. Outside of work, Cedric volunteers at Miriam’s Kitchen, Alexandria Commission on HIV/AIDS, Regional HIV/AIDS Policy and Planning Summit, Gay Men’s Health Collaborative, Center for International Peace and Reconciliation, and the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa International Steering Committee. He is a doctoral candidate at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Amy Belfer ’19

Amy Belfer is a junior studying human services with minors in Spanish, theatre arts and poverty and social justice. Amy is the residence area coordinator for Global Neighborhood and serves as the executive director of communication and education for Elon Volunteers!, a service captain for Habitat for Humanity and the social justice co-chair for Hillel. She was instrumental in the creation of Hall for Change, a new student-led Living Learning Community that offers residents opportunities to discuss current events, raise awareness of social justice issues and participate in service.

A Periclean Scholar, Amy was named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact in recognition of her investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities and her passion for enacting social change. She is determined to partner with communities to create positive social change for people of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, socioeconomic statuses and immigration statuses. She is inspired by all of the LGBTQIA+ alumni and looks forward to getting to meet them.