Becoming the Change


Kena standing with both her hands on her hips, wearing a shirt that reads "Free Oromia."

Helping people is Kena Lemu’s passion. Yet the Chancellor’s Science Scholar has a more personal connection to the disease she hopes to treat: HIV. After seeing her cousin live through the symptoms of AIDS in her home state of Oromia in Ethiopia and discovering UNC-Chapel Hill’s HIV Cure Center, Kena knew what she wanted her career in medicine to look like. Since then, she’s been able to work with experts at the HIV Cure Center as well as in nutrition labs, thanks to the Chancellor’s Science Scholars program.

“If I’m ever in a position where I can mentor people that are willing to pursue research or go into the field of medicine,” Kena said, “I will make it a priority because I have seen the difference that diversity can make in medicine.”

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