Aaron Malone came out as gay his senior year of college.
He graduated from IU in 2013, and is back six years later as a full-time Master of Business Administration student. He says the biggest difference between undergraduate and graduate school is the confidence he feels in himself.
“It's more of a 'come as who you are' type of mentality coming back to graduate school,” Malone said.
Malone was the first ever recipient of the Out in INformation Technology Scholarship this semester, which was created by IU alumnus Doug Hamilton and his partner Don Vossburg. Hamilton graduated with a Master of Business Administration in 1978.
The scholarship is intended for a student involved with the LGBTQ community, with preference given to in-state students studying operations, decision technologies or business analytics.
The number of scholarships as well as how much money is given will vary year to year depending on what the scholarship committee decides, Kelley spokesperson George Vlahakis said.
Malone said he first heard about the new scholarship last fall. He applied and received the award in December.
After he graduated from IU in 2013, Malone worked in sales for a pharmaceutical company and volunteered with the Indiana Youth Group, a center for LGBTQ youth. Malone tutored students in subjects like math and English, looked over resumes and did mock interviews.
“I wanted to find a way to give back to those maybe didn't have as easy of a time coming out,” he said.
Malone worked for a few years, and returned to IU for an MBA in 2017.
Doug Bauder, director of IU’s LGBTQ+ Culture Center, said he did not know about the scholarship before it was announced Jan. 14. However, he said that was a good thing because it meant Kelley put together the scholarship without the help of the LGBTQ+ Culture Center.
“It’s one more indication to me that the business world is more queer-friendly than we think,” Bauder said.