San Francisco State UniversityChancellor Emeritus Charles B. and Catherine Reed Scholar
J Patterson struggled to come to terms with her identity as a queer/transgender person, which resulted in her early struggles with mental health and addiction. A first-generation college student, she didn't expect higher education to be part of her life.
By giving back to her community, J has found her life's path. In 2013, she founded Gender Talk, a platform for self-empowerment and agency for young people. She currently volunteers in the Prisoner Correspondence Project and previously collaborated with Rx Safe Del Norte to reduce opioid addiction and overdose deaths.
J is currently enrolled in the Master of Social Work Program at San Francisco State, where she received her bachelor's in sociology with honors. As a social worker in the Bay Area, she plans to provide strength-based youth services that prioritize the values and leadership of the communities with whom she's working.