#ElonGrad 2022 spotlight: Queen Assata Stephens, public health studies

In this series, Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences is shining the spotlight on distinguished members of the Class of 2022 from a wide array of disciplines.

Photo of a smiling Black woman posed sitting on a brick wall.Queen Assata Stephens ’22 was involved in several “firsts” on Elon’s Campus as an inaugural undergraduate researcher with the Health, Equity and Racism Lab and a founder of Melanated Melodies, Elon’s first predominantly Black a cappella group.

A public health studies major with a minor in African and African American Studies, Stephens also served as president of Elon’s Black Student Union and was an employee of the Center for Race, Ethnicity & Diversity Education throughout her undergraduate career. In her junior and senior years, she assisted Associate Professor of Public Health Studies Stephanie Baker and Assistant Professor of Dance Keshia Wall in making the documentary-dance film, “Reclaiming Power: The Black Maternal Health Crisis.”

She was recognized with the Excellence in Leadership Award at the Phillips-Perry Black Excellence Awards this spring. Stephens is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

She came to Elon pursuing a career in healthcare but realized in her first year that a biology major didn’t suit her. When she discovered public health studies, the subject and focus on larger health systems and access to care clicked.

When you reflect on your time at Elon, what are some experiences that were most valuable or accomplishments you’re proudest of?

One experience that defined my undergraduate career was taking Dr. Yanica Faustin’s Maternal and Child Health Inequities course during the J-term of my sophomore year. This was the course that made me realize I wanted to be a doula and essentially changed my whole life path so I’m really grateful for that!

I’m really proud of myself for creating Elon’s first predominantly Black a cappella group! It took me three years to get it where it is today and I can only hope that it continues to grow and progress after I graduate. I also feel that being the president of two organizations (BSU and Melanated Melodies) while also working in the C.R.E.D.E. and being a full-time student has helped me perfect the art of multitasking.

Tell us about your undergraduate research in maternal health and working with your mentor.

I conducted research with Dr. Baker about Black women and out-of-hospital births. This was a previous research project that was unfinished and I was able to continue the work with Dr. Baker. I helped present our research at the UNC Minority Health Conference in Chapel Hill. We also created a documentary-dance film that combined our research and dance as a way to disseminate information in a creative way.

Dr. Baker has served as a wonderful mentor. She has been my advisor since my first year and I also took her Intro to Public Health course among many others during my college career. She’s really pushed me and offered great advice throughout the years and the relationship we’ve had has truly enhanced my Elon experience. I love her!

What are your plans after graduation?

I intend to take a gap year before applying to midwifery schools to become a Midwife. During that gap year, I plan on being a full-time doula and gaining more experience within that field.

What advice would you share with other Elon students?

Your college experience is really what you make it and you’ll get as much out of it as you put in. My experience has been very fulfilling because of all the things I was a part of, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a part of everything. As Elon students, we hold ourselves to high esteem and often find ourselves overextending ourselves to the point of burnout. Be active but also know when to say no. Find balance within your schedule to not only do what you have to do but also what you want to do.