The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability empowers disabled students with a safe & supportive community

The Longmore Institute donor impact and student stories below are gathered from updates by Emily Beitiks, Interim Director of the Institute.

A generous $100,000 donation from Anthem Blue Cross in 2022 enabled the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University to establish a new scholarship fund supporting education-related expenses for students with disabilities who have committed to future healthcare work, whether as direct healthcare practitioners or working in the field of health justice. This initiative is part of Anthem’s broader commitment to address California’s healthcare worker shortage and to close the gap in health disparities across the state. During the 2022-2023 academic year, ten SF State students with disabilities each received $10,000 as Longmore Student Scholarship Fellows to support their studies in Social Work, Physiology, Microbiology, Nursing, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Special Education, and Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences.

“One of the reasons I applied to SF State for grad school was the Longmore Institute, and it will always be my favorite part of the University. Being [...] a Student Scholarship Fellow has given me the support, community, and knowledge to continue developing my disability activism skills. These experiences have been invaluable and will forever impact me and the work I do moving forward.”

—Angela Evenich, Longmore Student Scholarship Fellow & graduate student in the SF State Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences program
Angela Evenich - Longmore Fellow and SF State student

In addition, 2023 marked the tenth year of the donor-funded Longmore Student Fellows program, combining paid student positions with professional development and personal mentorship in disability studies. 2023 saw the Longmore Institute working with the largest cohort of Student Fellows in its history.

Emily Beitiks, Interim Director of the Longmore Institute, is proud of the value that the Longmore Fellowship program brings to the students' University experience as well as its lasting effects. She points out, “We offer students a unique place of belonging and do our part to get them to graduation day with better career prospects and a sense of their potential.”

Nathan Burns - graduating Longmore Fellow

Too often, Longmore Student Fellows connect with the Institute in their senior year, wishing they’d known sooner that the Institute existed. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case with Nathan Burns, who describes himself as “a white queer, trans, disabled, neurodiverse nonbinary activist and academic with a love for all things disability and queer justice.” 

Nathan has been awarded multiple donor-funded scholarships and fellowships over the course of his academic journey at San Francisco State, including the University Scholarship, the Sexuality Studies Scholarship, the Graduate Equity Fellowship, and the Longmore Fellowship.  

As he graduated with honors in spring 2023, Nathan reflected on his time at the Longmore Institute and how much change he has experienced.

In 2019, as a freshman new to SF State, Nathan responded to a job posting. He didn’t yet identify as disabled, even though he’d dealt with the effects of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and ADHD his whole life. The job posting noted, “Disabled students, please apply!” which sparked intrigue. He recalled:

“One of the things I was most appreciative of was getting paid and getting job skills while also attending events about disability culture that helped teach me the values and nuances of the community and also helped me learn about myself. Growing up, I was often made to feel like I had to defend myself and my body’s needs while listening to people who claimed to know my body better than I did, and being involved at Longmore helped me understand that I am the expert of my own experience.”

—Nathan Burns (B.A., Sociology, ’23, with a minor in LGBTQ Studies), Longmore Student Fellow

Then, the pandemic hit. Yet, amidst the turmoil, Nathan's work as a Longmore Fellow provided joy and stability. He shared, “Being able to continue my work within the disability community in the middle of a pandemic—where disabled people are, without a doubt, the experts on safety and mutual aid—I felt very safe and supported.” During this time, he also helped co-found DREAM (Disability Rights, Education, Activism, & Mentorship), a disability student group.

Nathan's experience as a Longmore Fellow also helped develop his confidence that he had a role in academia. He reflected, “I am continually grateful for [Longmore Institute's interim director Emily Beitiks and director emeritus Catherine J. Kudlick's] mentorship in exploring the possibility of what my future in academia could look like.”

Nathan has now embarked on his Master’s degree in spring 2024, continuing at SF State in the Department of Sociology and Sexuality Studies. He is excited about his new journey, sharing, “My education [at SF State] taught me that academia and lived experiences do not have to be separate from one another, as I was told growing up. In fact, my scholarship is stronger by understanding my own personal connections to it. I am ecstatic to be continuing my education in an M.A. program, and even moreso to be continuing it on our campus.”

For more information about donating to the College of Health & Social Sciences, contact:

Dafna Kapshud ( She/Her/Hers )
Director of Development
College of Health & Social Sciences
(415) 338-7112