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Pride Month Biographical Posters

KU Medical Center PRIDE Month biographical posters
As the KU Medical Center community celebrates Pride Month, LGBTQ+ faculty, staff and students from our three schools are sharing stories about their academic interests, hobbies and backgrounds. Learn more about Pride Month events and activities.
Blake Bryan portrait

Blake Bryant, BA, BSN, CCRN

Doctor of Nursing Student, School of Nursing
He/Him/His

Blake Bryant’s future goals are to work in dermatology and work towards developing a nurse practitioner certificate program for dermatology. He is currently working full-time in The University of Kansas Health System Ambulatory Dermatology clinic. Blake is passionate about teaching and rural health care. He hopes to blend telehealth and distance learning, combining his love of technology, teaching and rural health care. His idea is to create a team of strong students and practitioners who can accomplish more together than he can alone.

Where did you grow up?
I am from rural southeast Kansas. I got my first bachelor's degree in corporate communications and French at Washburn in Topeka. A few years later, I enrolled at KU Medical Center for my BSN, and now I am working on my doctorate in nursing practice.

What are some of your hobbies?
I am a nerd and love to learn. I watch YouTube to learn new things all the time. I have a freshwater fish tank, and I am learning the piano. I also sew and make embroidered gifts. I love to play video games and tinkering in my garden or on house projects.

What made you choose to join the KU Medical Center community?
I chose KU because I wanted a robust experience in and outside the classroom for my new profession. I had looked at smaller schools, but after hearing that KU Medical Center was looking for students with diverse understandings of the world and backgrounds, I felt that I would be safe exploring and growing here.

How does the Pride Celebration Month theme (T.R.U.T.H. - Transcendent, Resilient, Uplifting, Transforming, History Makers) resonate with you?
The theme is powerful and creates a sense of optimism and hope for the future. I personally believe I can make a bigger impact by supporting and uplifting others, so this theme definitely encourages that opening doors for others mentality.

Lynn Fisher portrait

Lynn Fisher, MD, FAAFP

Assistant Professor, School of Medicine
He/Him/His

Lynn Fisher is a Kansas rural medicine advocate. He grew up in rural western Kansas and after medical school practiced for 15 years in rural Kansas before joining the KU School of Medicine-Wichita campus as faculty. He now oversees the rural programming in the Department of Family & Community Medicine. His leadership involvement includes the Kansas Hospital Association Board, Kansas Healthcare Collaborative Board, the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians Commission on Public Health and Science.p>

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Ellis, Kansas. I started off attending Fort Hays State University as a pre-pharmacy major and had completed my human biology degree at the University of Kansas when I decided to pursue medicine as a career. I attended medical school at the University of Kansas and completed a residency in family medicine in Greeley, Colorado, at the North Colorado Family Medicine Residency.

What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy travel adventures with family and friends. I think of myself as a foodie, and I am always up to giving my palate something new to try! I stay active by running, playing golf, playing racquetball and going to the gym to lift weights and participate in HIIT classes. I enjoy musical theater. I am also a KU basketball season ticket holder.

What made you choose to join the KU Medical Center community?
I have the ability to interact with medical students and residents, and hopefully I will influence some to become rural family medicine doctors. I believe my potential impact on the health of rural Kansans is greater as an educator than it was as a practicing physician.

How does the Pride Celebration Month theme (T.R.U.T.H. - Transcendent, Resilient, Uplifting, Transforming, History Makers) resonate with you?
When you are part of a marginalized community, the journey to be authentic can take time and be exhausting. Part of what helps me on this journey is walking alongside others in the community who authentically live their TRUTH and create positive change in the space they occupy through the use of their time, talents and treasure.

Romy Keuwo portrait

Romy Keuwo, BA

Master of Speech-Language Pathology student, KU School of Health Professions
He/Him/His

Romy Keuwo is a bisexual Cameroonian pursuing his master's degree in the Intercampus Program for Communication Sciences and Disorders. He is also a 2020-2021 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) fellow. In January 2021, Romy was appointed the co-chair of PRISM, KU Medical Center’s LGBTQIA+ Affinity Group. Working with the director of student life, Ryan Gove, Romy aims to continue fostering safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQIA+ students, faculty and patients. His research interests include augmentative and alternative communication, assessment and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders and bilingualism.

Where did you grow up?
Olathe, Kansas

What are some of your hobbies?
I love singing, poetry and sociopolitical activism.

What made you choose to join the KU Medical Center community?
My community motivates me, specifically my Cameroonian community, consisting of immediate and extended family, friends, girlfriend and chosen family I have made. I am truly blessed and inspired every day to continue building and expanding my community so that everyone feels the same amount of love and support I do daily.

How does the Pride Celebration Month theme (T.R.U.T.H. - Transcendent, Resilient, Uplifting, Transforming, History Makers) resonate with you?
The summer 2020 brought to the forefront police brutality, Black sufferance and systemic oppression. It forced me to become introspective about my position as a queer Black man navigating higher education. I began to ask myself, why am I seeking this degree? Who am I representing? I thought of my ancestor's prayers, my immigrant parents' sacrifices, and the manifestation of my success. If I am not cognizant of the revolution, I am part of as an emergent leader, how can I live in my T.R.U.T.H.?

Jackson Knappen portrait

Jackson Knappen, BS, BA

Student, KU School of Medicine
He/Him/His

Jackson Knappen is a third-year student at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. After gaining confidence in his sexuality as a cisgender gay man, he now strives to integrate LGBTQ health into his future practice. Jackson’s proudest contribution to the Kansas City community was being part of the team that started the JayDoc Free Clinic Transgender Specialty night. Jackson plans to continue advancing transgender medicine by pursuing urology so that he may practice gender affirming surgery for transgender individuals.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Overland Park, Kansas, and graduated from Blue Valley West in 2013. Afterward, I attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where I studied biology and Spanish on a pre-med track. After graduating in 2017, I had the opportunity to live in Madrid, Spain, on a Fulbright Scholarship for one year, where I taught English and Model UN for high school students. Finally, I returned to Kansas City to start medical school in 2018.

What are some of your hobbies?
I love being outdoors, whether it's running, hiking, camping or rock climbing. I'm an amateur in many hobbies like woodworking, building and painting. In the summer, I love skiing and boating.

What made you choose to join the KU Medical Center community?
The school offered a great medical education with wonderful opportunities for hands-on experience in the clinical environment. I also saw the opportunity to work in the community during my time in school, mainly becoming involved with JayDoc Free Clinic. Additionally, I love the groundbreaking procedures in transgender health the KUMC is working to advance.

How does the Pride Celebration Month theme (T.R.U.T.H. - Transcendent, Resilient, Uplifting, Transforming, History Makers) resonate with you?
LGBTQ folks are uplifting in our acceptance and support of uniqueness and individuality, accepting everyone for who they are. We are resilient because we face continued adversity in the legislative and societal sectors and continue to advocate and fight for equality.

Amanda Lappin portrait

Amanda Lappin, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Psychology Fellow, Counseling and Educational Support Services
She/Her/Hers

Amanda Lappin recently completed her doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Kansas in the summer of 2020 and is thrilled to join KU Medical Center in Counseling and Educational Support Services for post-doctoral training. Amanda's clinical experience has been in a variety of settings across the Kansas City metropolitan area, including college counseling, community mental health, private practice and the VA. Amanda's primary research focus has been on LGBTQ+ mental health with a special interest in help-seeking behaviors, bisexual/non-monosexual identity and stigma. She enjoys working with students and residents to realize their strengths and resilience.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Blue Springs, Missouri, and attended undergrad at Creighton University. I completed my graduate work at KU and finished my doctoral internship at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in their Counseling Center.

What are some of your hobbies?
I like playing roller derby, trail skating, reading, dancing and eating/making/trying/talking about food!

What made you choose to join the KU Medical Center community?
I was drawn to the training opportunities KU Medical Center provides and being able to return to Kansas City. I love the Kansas City community and the opportunity to be an active part of the KUMC community.

How does the Pride Celebration Month theme (T.R.U.T.H. - Transcendent, Resilient, Uplifting, Transforming, History Makers) resonate with you?
I see the beauty, strength and resilience of the queer community and am excited to celebrate pride at KU Medical Center!

A.J. Mellott portrait

A.J. Mellott, Ph.D.

Volunteer Research Assistant Professor, KU School of Medicine
He/Him/His

A.J. Mellott is a tissue engineer at the KU School of Medicine and has long been fascinated by human stem cells. A.J. is a member of the first group of KU Medical Center scientist-entrepreneurs who participated in the Sustainable Heartland Accelerator Regional Partnership Hub (SHARPhub), which was established in 2018 to help researchers move biomedical discoveries and technologies out of the laboratory and into the commercial market. As part of that initiative, A.J. founded Ronawk, a startup focused on preserving primary stem cells from patients for later use in reconstructive surgeries. Ronawk has an active partnership with the Department of Plastic Surgery at KU Medical Center on how to incorporate facets of patient care into the development of its products.

Where did you grow up?
Overland Park, Kansas. I got my bachelor’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Kansas.

What are some of your hobbies?
I love swimming, cooking and painting.

What made you choose to join the KU Medical Center community?
I was excited about the opportunity to build my own research program within plastic surgery.

How does the Pride Celebration Month theme (T.R.U.T.H. - Transcendent, Resilient, Uplifting, Transforming, History Makers) resonate with you?
T.R.U.T.H. resonates with me, because it reflects the core values of the company I built with my colleagues.

Jennifer Nelson-Brantley portrait

Jennifer Nelson-Brantley, BS

Senior Research Associate, KU School of Medicine
She/Her/Hers

Jennifer Nelson-Brantley started her life journey in the Midwest, ventured to Central America before she was ten, and life never stopped bringing her new adventures, joys, trials and tribulations. Jennifer experienced historic sites and marveled in their beauty and history. All the while, she was loved by two people who pushed for their existence in a world that has trouble with "the other." Jennifer has lived a fortunate life and recognizes that the only way to honor those two who gave her life is to be the best person she can be.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Oklahoma but grew up in the United States, Central America and Europe thanks to my fathers' service to the country in the Armed Forces. After serving my country as well, I settled in Manhattan, Kansas. I worked bridge construction before school. I attended Kansas State University but graduated from the University of Kansas. I joined KU Medical Center straight out of college.

What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy photography, cinema, music and culinary magic.

What made you choose to join the KU Medical Center community?
I chose and have stayed at KU Medical Center for the diverse community, the pursuit of knowledge and the love of what I do.

How does the Pride Celebration Month theme (T.R.U.T.H. - Transcendent, Resilient, Uplifting, Transforming, History Makers) resonate with you?
The theme speaks volumes of what it means to grow and live as a human being. The words offer a methodology that allows a person to grow and be the best they can be.

Bea Reiter portrait

Bea Reiter, BA

Content and Access Specialist, Dykes Library
She/Her/Hers

Bea Reiter works at the A. R. Dykes Library on the Kansas City campus of the University of Kansas Medical Center. She is passionate about libraries and the communities they build. Bea’s interests lie in library activism and advocacy for marginalized groups, especially LGBT people. Her second language is Spanish, and she loves orienting people to all the resources the library can offer them.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Overland Park, Kansas, and finished my undergraduate degree at KU in December 2020, where I graduated with bachelor’s in anthropology and Spanish with distinction. I have started my graduate degree at Emporia State in the master of library and information science program.

What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy reading, cross-stitching, gardening and playing video games.

What made you choose to join the KU Medical Center community?
I love serving an academic community and Dykes Library. All of KU Medical Center has been so welcoming. I also love Kansas City, and working in a city I love is very fulfilling.

How does the Pride Celebration Month theme (T.R.U.T.H. - Transcendent, Resilient, Uplifting, Transforming, History Makers) resonate with you?
I think everyone in this community exemplifies each of these values, but the one that resonates the most with me is "resilient." Bisexual people like me are constantly struggling to make themselves heard, seen and appreciated even within queer spaces, but we never give up. Resilience means that no matter how much society tries to invalidate me, I will stand firm and prove my worth as a person and a bisexual.

Luke Schuster portrait

Luke Schuster, BS

Student, KU School of Medicine
He/Him/His

Luke Schuster moved to Kansas City from Columbia, Missouri, in the summer of 2020 to attend medical school at KU Medical Center. Luke just finished his first year of medical school and plans to keep busy this summer by doing research in maternal fetal medicine and volunteering with local Kansas City groups. Luke's partner recently bought a home in the area, and after they finish renovating the house, floor to ceiling, they're excited to move in and enjoy all there is to do in Kansas City.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Pilot Grove, Missouri. It is a rural community of approximately 700 people that heavily focuses on agriculture. I attended college at the University of Missouri in Columbia and worked in the University Health Care system for five years in the radiology department.

What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy playing sports and video games. I go on runs with my dog, Gus. I can play decently on the piano, and I'm attempting to teach myself guitar. Nothing is better than dancing to a great funk album. I love a good book. And I'm a shark at the card table.

What made you choose to join the KU Medical Center community?
When I interviewed for a spot in the School of Medicine, the faculty's friendliness and openness really impressed me. I instantly felt welcomed. I told them my whole story without any hesitation, not leaving out the fact that I was gay. The interviewers at KU Medical Center provided me with a safe space to express myself, and I knew I wanted to stick around if given the opportunity.

How does the Pride Celebration Month theme (T.R.U.T.H. - Transcendent, Resilient, Uplifting, Transforming, History Makers) resonate with you?
Growing up gay in a small, conservative community, living your truth wasn't the safest choice. I found that socially adapting to the in-group was the easiest way to get through school and life. However, not being truthful to who you are is harmful to your relationships and, especially, harmful to yourself. I am constantly working to own my truth and present it honestly to my colleagues.

Last modified: May 28, 2021
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