March 20, 2021
Two undergraduates students represented the Gillings School of Global Public Health in the running for the 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Aneesha Tucker was the scholarship winner, receiving $2,000. Amy Lo was one of two runners-up, earning $1,500.
Tucker is a double major in health policy and management and women and gender studies. A Morehead-Cain Scholar from Charlotte, North Carolina, they are the policy chair of the Criminal Justice Awareness and Advocacy organization, which works in partnership with Emancipate N.C. to end mass incarceration. Tucker also is a content creator for The Bridge, a publication that uses different creative media to grapple with the experiences of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).
Tucker serves as a youth education assistant at the Orange County Rape Crisis center, where they facilitate a consent and sexual education class for students in grades K-12. Tucker is an active member of the Black Youth Project’s Durham Chapter and works with Durham Beyond Policing, which engages in abolitionist work and supports local mutual aid projects.
Tucker’s involvement with these causes represents engagement with King’s most fundamental concern: Humanity.
“When we work within the community, we embark on a journey of not only taking back our personhood and demanding people see it, but of seeing it within ourselves,” Tucker says. “When we liberate ourselves, we liberate others. The work of decolonizing our environments is intimately linked to the art of doing the same within our minds and intimate relationships. This is what collectivism means to me, and it is a value that was practiced and implemented during the civil rights movement.”
Lo, a junior from Cleveland, Ohio, studies public health nutrition with minors in chemistry and food studies. She is president of The Food Ark, a nonprofit that fights against food insecurity in North Carolina, and serves as co-president of Nutrition Coalition, a club within the Gillings School in which she piloted a mentorship program between graduate, undergraduate and prospective students.
She also has been culinary chair for the Chinese Undergraduate Student Association, and she is working to establish a satellite branch of Root Causes, a Durham nonprofit that connects patients at Duke Health with free groceries. In addition, Lo conducts research with Shu Wen Ng, PhD, Distinguished Scholar in Public Health Nutrition at the Gillings School, and works as a certified nurse aide at UNC Hospital.
Lo emulates King’s example of fighting for human rights, remaining selfless and learning from others by putting herself in different positions to see the dimensions of food insecurity in North Carolina so she better understands how to make positive change. Through these interconnected threads, she has weaved creative approaches to tackling food insecurity among some of the most vulnerable people in local communities.
Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org.