Recognizing academic achievementin the rare disease community

2017 Recipient

2017 Recipient



18 years old
Peculiar, MO

High School:
Raymore-Peculiar High School
Peculiar, MO
Graduated May 2016.

Attending North West Missouri State University
Maryville, MO
Entered fall 2016.

Rare disorder:
I have Hereditary Angioedema or HAE. I wasn’t diagnosed until a year ago and was the first person in my family to be diagnosed. I was in my 2nd class of the day and a classmate noticed that my top lip, which had been itchy, was swollen to three times its normal size. I went to the school nurse, then my mom took me to a local urgent care, and then I visited my regular family MD. They all thought it was just an allergic reaction. I knew that it was more than a reaction, so we kept pushing and I finally saw an allergist who ran the right tests and was able to diagnose it correctly as HAE. My mom was also tested and diagnosed with HAE at the same time. 

Favorite subjects:
Currently I am majoring in Spanish. I’m interested in foreign languages and also thinking about minoring in statistics. I also enjoy art, but just as a fun hobby.

Favorite activities:
I recently joined a sorority at school. It is a lot of fun and a wonderful bond to create with others. I also work a part-time job through our campus dining, which keeps me busy. In my free time, I enjoy painting and doing arts and crafts. I also really like music; I played clarinet in band in high school. And, I’ve always been a reader and enjoy realistic fiction.

Academic and professional plans:
I’m majoring in Spanish, and for the longest time I wanted to go into translation or be an interpreter.  Recently I’ve been thinking about volunteering with Doctors without Borders.  I think of myself as a compassionate person and have always wanted to do something that would help others.  In this type of work, I could translate and help the doctors and patients communicate. In the long term, for a career, I’ve thought about a government position as a translator.

Proudest moment to date:
My proudest moment so far was after my first semester of college. I was very excited to go home for winter break and tell my parents that, while working at my job 35 hours a week, I was still able to get a 4.0 grade point average that semester! I was very excited and happy.

How I found out I was the ACES 2017 recipient:
The weekend I was expecting to hear, I had to work and couldn’t go home. I texted both my parents to tell them that if they got a letter in the mail from Shire it was probably about the scholarship. I told my Mom not to open the letter, because I wanted to open it myself when I got home the next weekend. When the letter came, my Dad really wanted to open it, so I told them to go ahead and send me a picture of the letter so I could read it and be surprised.  My parents did open the letter and send me a photo, but my Dad also sent along the message “Congrats, we are so proud”.  I saw his message before the letter, so I didn’t get to be surprised, but I was still really happy!

Advice for students applying for ACES next year:
My advice is to not give up. I’ve applied for a lot of scholarships and sometimes you won’t be successful. Maybe you hear “no” 15 times in a row, but the 16th is the scholarship you get. I’d also tell students to get involved in campus activities and to be the best person you can be and try to reflect that mindset in your application. 

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