Since Losing Her Hair at 13, Senior Helps Others With Alopecia

May 3, 2024

Rutgers School of Nursing student Stephanie Yuen juggles coursework with volunteerism to support others who have the autoimmune condition

Stephanie Yuen remembers the moment she realized she was losing her hair.

The Marlboro, N.J., resident was in middle school, nearing seventh grade, just before summer break.

It started with “little spots on my head,” said Yuen, a senior who is wrapping up her bachelor of science degree at Rutgers School of Nursing in New Brunswick, which is part of Rutgers Health. After graduation, Yuen plans to work in a hospital setting as a registered nurse after passing her nursing exam and receiving her license. 

“I didn’t realize it until I was doing homework one day,” Yuen said. “I just ran my hand through my hair, and then that’s when I noticed it. And it varies from person to person, but mine fell out completely or 95 percent in two months. So, I decided to shave it off and gain that control.” 

Diagnosed with alopecia, an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss, when she was 13, Yuen said it was a challenging time. She also remembers going to numerous dermatology appointments at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – “and all those nurses, those are the people I could confide in.” 

It was a sign.

“I wanted to follow in those footsteps, essentially advocate for my patients, give them a voice and just be there for people,” the 22-year-old said. “And if I can make their day a little better, it’s worth it to me.”