Recognizing academic achievementin the rare disease community

2012 Recipient

2012 Recipient



18 years old
Durham, North Carolina

High school:
Durham Academy
Durham, North Carolina.
Graduated June 2012.

Stevens Institute of Technology
Hoboken, New Jersey.
Started August 2012.

Rare disorder: 
Gaucher disease. I was diagnosed when I was 8 years old, after a physical exam to register for a summer camp. I had a very low platelet count, so I went through various tests, including a bone marrow biopsy at the University of North Carolina Hospitals, and that’s when I got the diagnosis. It took only a week of testing for the diagnosis.

Favorite subjects:
Math, science, and computers.

Favorite activities:
Spending time with friends, going to the movies, and playing volleyball.

Academic and professional plans:
I would like to get a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or electrical engineering, and a master’s degree in engineering management. The school I’m going to, Stevens Institute of Technology, has a very strong co-op program, where you attend school or go to work during different semesters to gain hands-on experience in the workplace. I’d like to overload and take classes during the co-op semesters to do the program in 5 years. After college I’d like to be a project manager, because it involves doing both engineering and managing.

Proudest moment to date:
Getting the job I have at ATI Industrial Automation. The company develops robotic accessories and robot arm tooling, like tool changers that go on the ends of robotic arms that make cars and planes. I work on information systems and software development, including projects like redoing the ATI website and improving company data reporting.

How I found out I was the ACES 2012 recipient:
It was a very, very good moment. I opened up the letter, went over and showed my mom and my dad, and also my grandparents, who were at my house then because it was also the same day as my high school graduation.

Advice for students applying for ACES next year:
When I applied, I tried my best to look like a candidate who would have a high return on the investment Shire is putting into the scholarship. Because it’s not just about me and who I am. It’s more about how I’m going to be able to contribute because of the scholarship.

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