June 28, 2016
The Point Foundation, the largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students, has announced its 2016 Scholars. May Chen, doctoral student of health behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been named the Janssen Therapeutics Point Scholar.
Chen is one of 22 students hailing from across the United States who run the gamut of domestic and international backgrounds. Half belong to underrepresented ethnic groups, 36 percent are first-generation college students and 41 percent identify as gender non-conforming. What all the Point Scholars have in common is identifying as either LGBTQ or allies, and showing strong academic achievement, a record of leadership and active work for the betterment of the LGBTQ community.
Chen was born and raised in San Francisco, and received her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College. There, she was involved in a number of organizations and initiatives to bring about positive social change for LGBTQ people and survivors of abuse.
She next earned a Master of Science in Public Health degree from the Gillings School, where her thesis explored individual- and family-level factors impacting teen dating violence.
Now, Chen’s doctoral research examines the causes and consequences of interpersonal violence, with a focus on developing prevention programs for vulnerable youth. She also works in various capacities to elevate minority representation in public health.
In 2015, Chen chaired the UNC Minority Health Conference – the nation’s largest and longest-running student-led health conference – which is devoted to raising awareness of health disparities. Recognizing notable training gaps in UNC’s health curricula, she also helped to develop and teach a graduate-level course on LGBTQ health for professionals in medicine, public health, social work and other allied fields.
After earning a doctoral degree from UNC Gillings, Chen hopes to teach and continue conducting research that will contribute to better policy and prevention efforts, thereby building healthier communities where individuals can live to their full potential.
Hear more from May Chen in a Question and Answer post from the Gillings School’s Department of Health Behavior.