Sona Fokum is a rising senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) majoring in Public Health and double minoring in Biological Sciences and Chemistry. She is deeply passionate about bridging the health access gap rooted in systemic racism, classism, and gender inequities that burdens vulnerable communities. Sona hopes to use her experiences at SUMR to aid her in her future pursuit towards a dual MD-MPH degree.
During SUMR, Sona is working on two projects that focus on health equity. With Dr. Zachary Meisel and Dr. Jake Morgan, Sona will aid in producing an online resource and manuscript that unifies data and state policies to address the opioid crisis – information that will be disseminated to stakeholders and policymakers to encourage action against this epidemic. With Dr. Florence Momsplaisir, Sona will be working on a community-based project and a study on LGBTQ populations with the Center for AIDS Research Implementation Science in Philadelphia to end the HIV Epidemic Regionally (ISPHERE) Scientific Working Group (SWG).
At UIC, Sona is a Presidential Awards Program Scholarship recipient through the Honors College and president of the UIC American Society of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (ASBMB). She is also on the leadership council for Peer Health Exchange and a Peer Success Coach through the African American Academic Network. As a self-taught hair and makeup artist, Sona loves playing with different hairstyles and makeup looks on herself and her friends in her free time.