Meet the 2012 Point Scholars
BY Advocate.com Editors
June 14 2012 8:43 AM ET
Wells Fargo Point Scholar
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Coming out at the age of 16, Monica Motley was fortunate to have a supportive family but still experienced marginalization as a triple minority: woman, African‐American and lesbian. She has chosen, however, to use those negative experiences as a powerful tool to excel beyond stereotypes.
In 2007, she was elected the first African-American Homecoming Queen in 35 years, as well as the first openly gay Homecoming Queen at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her campaign motto was “Be Proud of Who You Are” and her message promoted acceptance and diversity. Motley currently holds a B.S from Virginia Commonwealth University and M.S.Ed from Virginia Tech.
Motley is a dual degree student at Virginia Tech seeking a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in the Department of Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences and a Masters of Public Health Degree in the Department of Population Health Sciences. As a native of Danville, Virginia, a medically underserved area that struggles with high rates of obesity and chronic disease, she developed a personal understanding of the many barriers people face to lead and sustain healthy lives. Growing up in a household with a teacher and community activist for parents, Motley was taught to use her talents to be a catalyst for change, and not just to be a beneficiary of change.
And so she plans to become a social scientist and public health practitioner seeking to better understand how various socioeconomic factors influence health behaviors and outcomes in high risk populations, such as the LGBT community.