Dedman College News
Originally Posted: November 9, 2018
By: Ryan Garrett
In the 2017-18 academic year, SMU Human Rights Fellow Benjamin Chi fought to change the Texas Family Code, advocating for underage youth without guardians to give consent to their own medical care, which would allow them to attend school and improve public health.
“Working as an SMU Human Rights Fellow has been the most formative experience of my undergraduate experience,” said Ben.
Inspired to study human rights through his parents’ experiences of living in poverty until their thirties, Ben has been collaborating with homelessness advocates, state government officials, healthcare specialists, and youth experiencing homelessness. In the 2014-2015 school year, 113,000 students were identified as homeless, according to the Texas Homeless Education Office, an organization funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the Texas Education Agency to ensure educational opportunities for homeless youth.
“I’ve had the opportunity to coordinate with activists in Dallas and across Texas, and with organizations like the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance and Promise House,” Chi said. “From meetings with leaders to hosting drives for clothes, I have been able to be a part of the Dallas community in ways I never could have imagined.”
Chi, a native of Lewisville, Texas, graduated Suma Cum Laude in May with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, and Health and Society. He will continue meeting with local representatives and traveling to Austin during the next legislative session to advocate for the homeless youth in Texas.
“There are so many issues coming to us in the next few decades, like the rise of diabetes and obesity and increasing health in the world,” Chi says. “What really interests me is the impact you can have in healthcare. You can really meaningfully impact peoples’ lives.”
Through his passion for healthcare policy, Ben received the prestigious Schwarzman Scholarship, and is currently pursuing his one-year master’s degree in Global Affairs from Tsingua University in Beijing, China.
Learn more about the SMU Embrey Human Rights Program