Born and raised in San Francisco, California, May Chen’s work represents a lifelong commitment to serve and support marginalized communities touched by violence. A first-generation college student, she received her B.A. from Wellesley College, where she was involved in a number of organizations and initiatives to bring about positive social change for LGBTQ people and survivors of abuse. She earned her Master of Science in Public Health from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, where her thesis explored individual- and family-level factors impacting teen dating violence.

May’s doctoral research examines the causes and consequences of interpersonal violence, with a focus on developing prevention programs for vulnerable youth. At UNC, May has worked in various capacities to elevate minority representation in public health. In 2015, May chaired the UNC Minority Health Conference, the nation’s largest and longest-running student-led health conference, devoted to raising awareness of health disparities. Recognizing notable training gaps in UNC’s health curricula, May helped to develop and teach a graduate-level course on LGBTQ health for professionals in medicine, public health, social work, and other allied health fields. After earning her Ph.D., May hopes to teach and conduct research that contributes to better policy and prevention efforts, thereby building healthier communities where individuals can live to their full potential free from violence.