The School of Social Work is proud to announce that Aces Lira, a current dual degree major in social work and women’s studies and gender studies (MSW/MA), is an award recipient of The Gran Varones Positive Digital Arts Fellowship. The highly competitive year-long fellowship is comprised of a cohort of six Afro-Latinx and Latinx, HIV positive, gay, trans, queer, and bisexual men from across the United States. The fellowship comes as a result of five-years of fundraising efforts led by The Gran Varones project and also serves as an opportunity to challenge HIV stigma, promote family acceptance, and pair cohort members with mentors to create digital content about these topics. Aces met the other fellows to commence their collaborative work in Washington D.C. a couple of weeks ago. In addition to this prestigious fellowship and completing his first year in the MSW/MA dual degree program at Loyola, Aces is also a member of the International Student Training Network (ISTN) of the International Partnership for Queer Youth Resilience (INQYR). As part of his work on this global academic and community-based partnership, Aces is a research assistant working with Dr. Michael Dentato, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, and collaborating with colleagues from across the U.S. to develop a photo elicitation research study focusing on LGBTQ+ youth. When asked about the meaning and importance of the Gran Varones fellowship, Aces remarked: “This opportunity means so much to me. I get to do so many of the things I enjoy; find community, listen to stories, and channel an artistic practice!” Congratulations Aces!