Tulane University Scholar Melissa Huynh.

Tulane University Scholar Melissa Huynh, a pre-med junior majoring in public health, is personally invested in supporting children with autism. Inspired by the experience of her nephew who was diagnosed with autism, Melissa helped bring the ACEing Autism tennis program to Tulane’s campus this past spring.

“I wanted to do this program to benefit children in the community like my nephew,” Melissa says. “This fall my plan is to expand, allowing for more children and volunteers to participate.”

ACEing Autism uses tennis to help children with autism enhance hand-eye coordination, motor development and social skills. Melissa collaborated with ACEing Autism, Autism Speaks and the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans to ensure that all aspects of the program were integrated seamlessly. She coordinated with Tulane’s recreation center to reserve courts, advertised for volunteers on campus, and registered participants.

“I was proud of how this first semester turned out,” says Melissa. “More than one parent told me that seeing their children hitting a ball with a tennis racket was amazing.”

Melissa also volunteers at the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans’ autism center. She assists nurses with patient care and is a liaison for Vietnamese speaking patients. On campus, Melissa is a historian for the Tulane University Vietnamese Association and is also involved with the Tulane University Public Health Society.

“We are extremely proud of Melissa,” says Posse New Orleans Director Monica Sylvain. “She exemplifies what it means to be a leader and will leave an indelible mark on Tulane’s campus.”

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