University of Minnesota junior is active in LGBTQ+ campus groups.

portrait of scholarship winner L. Mendoza

Scholarship Awarded to L. Mendoza


Luis Mendoza, a 20-year-old junior at the University of Minnesota and winner of the first ever Quatrefoil Scholarship, may be the U’s only business major who’s also active in both the Queer Student Cultural Center (QSCC) and the U’s Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life.


Luis was awarded $1,000 toward his 2019 tuition by Quatrefoil, an LGBTQ+ library and community center in Minneapolis. Funding comes from donors and a grant to Q from San Diego Pride.


Some of his queer peers think a degree in business “is the worst thing you could do,” Mendoza said. “My attitude is that I’m good with marketing, and a lot of organizations in the community lack access to business and marketing skills. I want to use my studies to help those people.”


True to that belief, Mendoza is majoring in marketing at the U’s Carlson School of Management, and is getting a minor in business analytics.


“As a queer person of color, I do find the business school pretty heteronormative,” Mendoza said, “but I’ve discovered an LGBTQ+ group, Compass,” at the school.


He challenged gender norms when he attended a career fair with nails painted, hair dyed and wearing heels. “Just because I’m not someone’s cup of tea doesn’t mean I should hide,” he said, smiling.


Mendoza. a New Jersey native, was not out at high school. “I’m very grateful to be here in Minnesota because I like the community I found here.” In addition to his studies, Mendoza has a work study job coordinating social media for the Gender and Sexuality Center. He’s active in the QSCC, which plans events that include a Queer Homecoming dance and a weeklong series during National Coming Out Day in October.


“Quatrefoil is thrilled to give its first scholarship to Luis,” said board member Paul Kaefer, who also chairs the library’s Scholarship Committee. “He represents exactly the kind of enthusiastic students we want to continue to engage: involved in the community and dedicated to making positive change.”


Mendoza heard about Quatrefoil’s new scholarship via social media. He applied “because I was really interested in the organization and liked the idea of having it as one of my benefactors. It means a lot to me to get this. I’m from a low-income background, so I rely on scholarships. It’s great to get something from my own community. And Quatrefoil is a really good resource, aside from just the money.”


The next $1,000 scholarship will be awarded in summer of 2020. Those interested in applying can find details at

–Claude Peck

Quatrefoil board member