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Cole Backhaus


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I am an incoming freshman at San Fransisco State University majoring in biology. I am currently a student at Califonia School of the Arts with a concentration in production and design. I identify as gay and as a transgender male. I am a passionate activist of the LBGTQ+ community and other marginalized groups. I am highly motivated and a hard worker. I love challenges and learning new skills. My goal is to become a vetinarian. I have many hobbies and skills including ceramics, computer science, and theater tech.


California School Of The Arts - San Gabriel Valley

High School
2019 - 2023


  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Majors of interest:

    • Biological and Physical Sciences
    • Zoology/Animal Biology
    • Biology, General
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:


    • Dream career goals:


      • California School of the Arts- Production and Design conservatory

        Theatre Tech
        2021 – Present

      Public services

      • Advocacy

        Earth activism club — club member
        2019 – 2022
      • Volunteering

        North Central Animal Shelter — volunteer
        2021 – 2022

      Future Interests




      Elijah's Helping Hand Scholarship Award
      My most significant connection to the LGBTQ+ community is my identity as a transgender man. I always hated my body, but I was never sure why. I knew that I hated being a girl. I found myself eagerly awaiting puberty, hoping that this change would help me embrace my “womanhood” and free me from the pain I felt. To my dismay, as I grew older and puberty slowly began, my self-hatred only grew. I still didn’t understand why. I spent nights staring in the bathroom mirror, imagining the body I wished I had. The self-loathing I experienced spilled into my identity. It made me doubt my choices, opinions, and thoughts. It was often easier to comply with what others desired of me. From eating hot peppers until I was sick to pursuing singing despite a total lack of passion, my identity was formed to impress and receive praise from those I respected. Living in a confused state with an identity I felt completely disconnected from took a toll on me. After years of this, I emotionally collapsed, reaching an all-time low in mental health of suicidal ideation and a complete lack of motivation. My grades slipped and I withdrew from extracurriculars. Despite my struggles, this dark period of my life allowed me to reflect on my identity and come to terms with my emotions. I slowly pieced my thoughts together. Finally, I realized I was trans. The moment I understood, everything made sense. Unprepared to come out, I begged for a short haircut under the guise of escaping the heat, and my parents agreed. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. With each cut, I felt like a piece of my pain and hatred was falling away. My joy further confirmed my transness to myself. My realization sparked inspiration but also created a new fear inside of me. I knew now that to feel at peace with myself, I had to come out, which was terrifying. My mom always made sure I knew that she would support and love me unconditionally regardless of my path in life. Telling her first was obvious, but that didn’t make it easy. Through tears on a drive home, I said it out loud for the first time. “I’m trans”. My mom helped me on my journey and gave me the courage to slowly come out to the rest of my family and friends until everyone around me knew who I was. The reactions were overwhelmingly positive, though I did meet some resistance. However, the feeling of finally being perceived as the correct gender was worth the disappointment of losing those who didn’t support me. It's been three years since I came out. I've continued transitioning and fully embraced myself. Each step of the way has made me a happier person. My newfound autonomy and happiness helped me focus on key aspects of my life. My grades improved, I decided to learn to drive, apply for jobs, and to apply to colleges. Coming out also taught me the importance of self-advocacy. Once I came to terms with my gender identity, I became much clearer about who I was and what I needed in my everyday life by setting boundaries and communicating clearly, in academic settings by asking teachers for assistance, and on a larger scale through community service including protests and activism. I finally felt I could love my body, but more importantly, myself. While I still have a long way to go and continue to face challenges, I now know I can look in the mirror and smile.
      Carole H. Beveridge Memorial Scholarship
      I have always felt a deep connection with animals. I spent my whole life surrounded by pets. As a child, I used to pet stray cats like they were my own, feed squirrels, and pick up lizards. It felt like as much as I was drawn to animals, they were equally drawn to me. However, what truly inspired me to pursue a career with animals was my passion for snakes. From their solitary nature to their unique anatomy, snakes captivate me. Starting in middle school, I would spend hours watching videos and reading about snakes. Through my research, I came across countless examples of reptiles that were mistreated or improperly cared for, leading to health complications. Snakes are complex and difficult to care for. I noticed that in many cases, owners had the best intentions, but failed to educate themselves on the proper care. Once I noticed the mistreatment of snakes, I started noticing other pets who had health issues due to small mistakes from owners. Even friends and family would leave their dog's nails too long or have a cage too small for their guinea pigs. Seeing animals being mistreated, whether knowingly or not, inspired me to advocate for them and teach the people around me about proper care. This led me to volunteer at an animal shelter. Over the course of several months, I was able to receive more experience caring for cats, dogs, and even one time a potbelly pig. I also had the opportunity to observe veterinary technicians who helped animals that came in sick or needed to be spayed or neutered. I saw first-hand people actively helping sick animals. This experience was incredibly rewarding and solidified my decision to pursue a veterinary career. Ultimately, my goal is to open and run my own veterinary clinic in which pets and pet owners can receive compassionate care, and allow animals to live the highest quality of life possible through treatment and education. In order to achieve this, I will be attending San Francisco State University next year as a biology major. After I receive my undergraduate degree, I plan to continue my education in veterinary medicine. In addition to academic studies, I am eager to seek out volunteer opportunities and internships that will allow me to gain more hands-on experience working with animals. I know that as I continue my journey, my passion for animals will only grow.