Today, the White House will be honoring University of California San Diego student Meghan Yap, one of 10 students from across the country being recognized as an “It’s On Us White House Champion of Change.” The event is part of a series of campaigns happening around the country in recognition of National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
The April 14 ceremony event will be live streamed on the White House website at 11 a.m. PT. The program will feature remarks by Vice President Biden and Tina Tchen, assistant to the President and executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls. The program will also feature actor Matt McGorry.
According to the White House, Yap and the other honorees were chosen as “Champions of Change” for their “leadership in mobilizing others to change the culture around sexual assault and dating violence and to create systemic changes on their campuses and beyond.”
Yap is a senior at the UC San Diego, double majoring in biological anthropology and global health. She is a college ambassador, resident assistant and a research assistant at the university. Yap was first exposed to the effects of sexual and domestic violence while rendering care as an emergency medical technician in Los Angeles. Following her own experience of campus sexual assault, Yap made it her personal and professional mission to improve the lives of survivors through research and activism.
As an intern at UC San Diego School of Medicine’s Center on Gender Equity and Health, Yap is helping to develop policy and best practice recommendations for the university to address sexual violence. She has been reviewing recommendations from state and national coalitions against sexual assault and conducting an analysis of campus policies to assess their adherence to these coalition-recommended approaches.
On campus, Yap collaborates with administrators and resource centers to promote evidence-based, trauma-informed policies and practices in an effort to advocate for greater sensitivity and prevent re-victimization of survivors. Yap is a first generation college student, and after graduating from UC San Diego in June 2016, she plans to pursue a Masters of Public Health and Ph.D. in global health, with an emphasis on gender-based violence.
The “It’s On Us” campaign, launched by President Obama and Vice President Biden in September 2014, seeks to engage college students and all members of campus communities in preventing sexual assault. Since its launch, the program has engaged students at over 500 schools in 48 states, had more than 340,000 people sign the “It’s On Us” pledge, and worked with community members and celebrities alike to support survivors and change the culture around sexual assault.