Giving back to recognize "compassionate advisors"

May 21, 2021 by Suzanne Flinchbaugh

Alumni support educational fund in honor of a beloved mentor

When Professor Margaret Ensminger announced her retirement earlier this year from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, her advisee Sophia Lo, SPH ’02 (MHS), ’10 (PhD), and Lo’s husband Hunter Chen, Engr ’03 (MSE), ’09 (PhD), decided to double their annual contribution to the school.

A family of three smile and pose in front of green succulents mounted on the wall.
Sophia Lo and Hunter Chen believe that paying forward the generosity given to them as students sets a good example for their son.

This decision was more than a token of appreciation. Lo credits Ensminger’s  approachable style and personal kindnesses with making a huge difference in her master’s and doctoral journey.

“She helped me with both the academic and social aspects of the program, and made it easier,” Lo shared in a recent phone call.

Her husband agrees. Remembering a lovely dinner he and Lo had at Ensminger’s home “in the woods, almost like a retreat,” Chen remarked that compassionate and supportive advisers helped them “both keep our sanity, through the whole PhD process at Hopkins, because it’s a marathon.”

The couple also believes that recognizing Ensminger’s generosity and the school’s support (Lo was a Johnson & Johnson Community Scholar) by helping endow the educational fund that the school’s Department of Health, Behavior and Society set up in Ensminger’s honor, in additional to their usual annual giving, is an important life lesson for their young son. Education is vital for them and their families, and a student’s successful journey involves many people along the way — paying it back truly does mean paying it forward.


Learn more about Sophia Lo and Hunter Chen’s commitment to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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Topics: Alumni, Faculty and Staff, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Whiting School of Engineering, Fuel Discovery, Promote and Protect Health, Support Scholars