Recognizing academic achievementin the rare disease community

2018 Recipient

2018 Recipient



19 years old
Evansville, WI

High School:
Evansville High School
Evansville, WI
Graduated May 2017

Northern Illinois University
Dekalb, IL
Entered fall 2017

Rare disorder:
I have primary sclerosing cholangitis and Crohn’s disease. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2014 and primary sclerosing cholangitis in July, 2015. During my senior year of high school I got very sick and had to have my colon removed. It was stressful and difficult to keep up with my studies. Most of the time I would not have enough energy to complete my classes and would have to go into school late or leave early. Since my surgery, I’ve been doing a lot better. I have scans every other year to make sure the primary sclerosing cholangitis isn’t progressing. I have a super positive outlook on life and don’t let anything affect my attitude. When I was going through the worst of my health issues, I kept positive and kept thinking it would be okay in the end.

Favorite subjects:
My favorite classes are math and science. I love chemistry because it isn’t theoretical at all. In college, I’m studying dietetics which incorporates a lot of math and science. I want to be a pediatric dietician and work with children with metabolic diseases. Originally, I wanted to be a nurse, but when I got sick I realized nursing wasn’t the right fit for me. However, I was meeting with dieticians to help me gain weight and I discovered that I’d like to be able to do the same type of work and help kids.

Favorite activities:
At school I work a part time job with campus childcare. Since I want to work with kids, I thought it would be a good way to learn how to make connections with children. I also enjoy going to the gym to work out – it helps me pass time and get out stress. When I’m not studying or working I also enjoy hanging out with my friends.

Academic and professional plans:
In my sophomore year I’ll be taking nutrition and management classes. After I finish college, I will need to do an internship and will then get my masters – either through my internship or through a different program. My dream job would be at the American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, WI as a pediatric dietician to help children learn how to eat well with their disease.

Proudest moment to date:
I’m a first generation college student and my proudest moment was telling my parents I got a 4.0 my first semester in college. My parents were super happy. They knew I was doing well, but since they don’t have access to my grades, they didn’t know exactly how well. I was amazed with myself. It is hard to be at school and away for the first time ever, and I was so happy to be able to succeed with the new changes in my life.

How I found out I was the ACES 2018 recipient:
I was getting ice cream with my friends and my mom texted me that she had received the letter and asked if she could open it. I gave her permission and she went ahead and opened it and saw that I was awarded the scholarship. It was a great day. We were both freaking out. I was hopeful that I would get the scholarship, but didn’t actually expect to get it.

Advice for students applying for ACES next year:
I asked a high school teacher who I had had a number of classes with to write my recommendation. She shared things about me that I wouldn’t normally say about myself including how much I did to raise awareness of my diseases. I wouldn’t normally be comfortable sharing these accomplishments as it feels like bragging, but I’ve learned to not be afraid to present yourself in the best light possible.

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