Joyce Yao

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Joyce Yao, a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in health policy and management with a minor in urban studies and planning, is a student leader active in addressing issues of social inequality and community power. For the last two and a half years she has worked closely with the Community Empowerment Fund, a local organization that cultivates opportunities, assets, and communities that support the alleviation of homelessness and poverty. She has also been significantly involved in service and community engagement work through the Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History, the Student Health Action Coalition, the Asian American Working Group, the Campus Y and the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Yao is currently working with a team of student at Carolina and Duke to organize a national summit of student activists doing anti-poverty work.

Carol Folt
Chancellor
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Personal Statement

My experiences in community advocacy have together helped commit me to work that uplifts community voices and cultivates innovative solutions on the local level. The Community Empowerment Fund showed me the power of community-centered work, why community should matter most to me, and how I could honor that passion. The Community Empowerment Fund is about bringing together people of all backgrounds to remind us that efforts to support fellow community members must be human-centered, and that everyone should be able to be a part of a community that cares about them. I have seen this community change lives, from finding Members crisis housing and promoting affordable housing bonds at town meetings, to hosting events where Members share their art with the community. Community is why and how Members and Advocates show up daily to challenge dehumanizing systems. Every aspect of the Community Empowerment Fund's community has transformed my worldview and informed my moral compass, shaped by personal experiences and relationships. With my education in community power, I cherish community building roles in organizations that allow me to cultivate meaningful relationships with community members and organizations for a shared mission.

Joyce Yao
BSPH Health Policy & Management, Urban Studies & Planning Minor: Class of 2020
written 2019

2019 Fellows Alphabetical by Institution

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Seda Sahin, Univeristy of Connecticut Bernardo Villarreal Rodríguez, Universidad de Monterrey Elizabeth Paige, University of Baltimore Itzel Velazquez, University of Central Arkansas Jordan Borenstein, University of Central Florida Hunter Caudillo, University of Central Oklahoma Delali Nenonene, University of Dayton April Singleton, University of Delaware Amanda Wittebort, University of Denver Mikaela Lopez, University of Houston-Downtown Nicolas Robledo, University of Illinois at Chicago Natalie Benson, University of Indianapolis Jocelyn Roof, University of Iowa Kaitlyn Frick, University of Kentucky Dyamond Gray, University of La Verne Sarah Nichols, University of Maine at Augusta Maheen Haq, University of Maryland, Baltimore County Madison LaCure, University of Massachusetts - Boston Marvens Pierre, University of Massachusetts Amherst Elizabeth Anusauskas, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Twisha Mohapatra, University of Massachusetts Lowell Shravya Jasti, University of Miami Jalen Rose, University of Michigan-Dearborn Robert Harper, University of Minnesota Danielle Friz, University of Missouri - St. Louis Daisy Ward, University of Montana Adrianna Pittman, University of Montana Western Lizbeth Perez Hernandez, University of Nebraska Omaha Kaitlin Griffin, University of New Hampshire Joyce Yao, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Yesika Sorto Andino, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Adriana Zarate, University of North Georgia Hector Robledo, University of North Texas at Dallas Malaika Michel-Fuller, University of Northern Colorado Sashay Carroll, University of Northern Iowa Carson Ball, University of Oklahoma Carter Gale, University of Pennsylvania John Farris, University of Redlands Mary-Kate McGeary, University of Rhode Island Lina Tori Jan, University of Richmond Nina Schneider, University of San DIego Nyteia Tyler, University of San Francisco Karen Padilla, University of South Carolina Beaufort Danica Leaphart, University of South Carolina, Columbia Andrew Spencer, University of St. Thomas Shaneika Bowra, University of the District of Columbia Livia Karoui, University of the South Jordyn Gaurkee, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay Emiliana Lopez, University of Wisconsin - Madison Zach Atkins, University of Wisconsin - Parkside Madison Hale, University of Wisconsin-Superior
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