Aid to the Less Fortunate

2023 Jerry Nelson Award Recipient pursuing personal passion

By HQ Communications Staff


Motivated by the power of a life-defining personal connection, Matthew Cheng Penn ’22 is pursuing a career in the healthcare industry. His inspiration: his younger sister, Mattea, who lives with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“Mattea is why I want to dedicate my life to advancing healthcare.”

Brother Cheng is majoring in biology, finance and healthcare management. He volunteers with the Penn Autism Alliance (PAA), assisting with their tennis and dance programs, which are designed for children and young adults.

“I have been able to make a difference in their lives just by playing games or dancing together,” he said. “It has reminded me to continue appreciating the little things in life.”

Cheng has spent his years in college immersing himself in the world of healthcare, trying to understand perspectives from the research, medical and business angles. From his coursework, extracurricular activities and internships, he found that he was most interested in how healthcare can be improved through business.

The ability to connect science courses to the business world has sparked a love for learning that Cheng never experienced in high school. Beyond the classroom, he developed educational and career goals through real-world internship experiences.

During the summer of 2022, Cheng worked at Logos Capital, a San Francisco-based investment partnership that combines scientific and financial expertise with in-house clinical trial analytics to identify transformative therapies in healthcare. At Logos, he interacted with management teams one-on-one, which opened his eyes to the world of medical discovery and innovation.

This past summer, Cheng completed a healthcare banking internship with Goldman Sachs in San Francisco.

The Creed resonates strongly with Cheng. “I recognize that being generous, compassionate, and loyal is not a static process; every day, I grow as an individual, friend and global citizen.” That growth helps him understand a variety of perspectives and to put himself in others’ shoes. “That is why the Creed states that we ‘pledge throughout our lives’ to uphold these traits, not just for short periods of time.”

Cheng lives the Phi Psi values, constantly looking for opportunies to achieve intellectual, moral and spiritual excellence. Add academic excellence to that, too!

A student who relies on 70% financial aid, Cheng is grateful to the Foundation Donors and Trustees for the scholarship not only to assist with his college expenses, but also to be recognized for things he cares deeply about — leadership, community service, and academic excellence.

“Through my sister, I have witnessed the limits of today’s healthcare system, and in college, I’ve taken every opportunity to learn the foundations for improving accessibility and advancing healthcare infrastructure. My life goal is to address the challenges that families like mine face and create a brighter future.”

An Indiana University alumna, Leigh Hedger is the associate director of marketing analytics for the Kelley School of Business.