2014 L.I.F.E Scholarship Recipients

 

Brina Olunkwa- Hofstra University, NY (Sponsored Winner)

 "Though I have lupus which affects my physical being, my dreams and passions remain the same. I am focused in continuing my education in order to pursue my goal of being a medical researcher."

 

 

 

 

Ewodaghe Harrell- Brown University, RI (Sponsored Winner)

"My battle with lupus has taught me three distinct lessons: I am capable of overcoming adversity; a disability does not erase one's ability to pursue their aspirations; and helping others through advocacy and awareness truly makes a difference."

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Zhang- University of California- Berkeley (Sponsored Winner)

"Lupus has made me a stronger and better person than I believe I would have been otherwise. It taught me to embrace my imperfections, and to live passionately, honestly, and gratefully… As my struggle with Lupus continues, so does my strength to persevere in this life and all it has to offer." 

 

William Aguilar-John Jay College of Criminal Justice, NY (Sponsored Winner)

 "Throughout all of this, I have chosen to take a path of positive thinking. I choose to ignore the things that might have held me back, and to strive forward toward my educational goals. I used my diagnosis as a reason to seek for answers, to learn and prove to myself that I may have the illness, but the illness does not have me." 

Jena Trowbridge-Remington College School of Nursing, FL (Sponsored Winner)

 "I have faced many challenges, balancing work, school, and a chronic disease. I enjoy listening, working with others, and acting as a patient advocate and educator.  This new chapter of my life will continue to grow and develop who I am as a student, professional and individual; I gladly welcome all of these upcoming changes with ample enthusiasm for what the future may hold." 


Destini Thomas- Massachusetts College of Art and Design

 "I also have become a very flexible person; this condition is a day to day experience. So, I have to be ready with a plan B,C, and even D, and take back the power in my life. I've learned to control the disease and not let it control me!"

 

 

Gianna Raponi- Rollins College, FL

 "If I could leave an imprint on this Earth, I would wish that others could understand all of the sacrifices that led to me to the experiences to be the person that I am. I want them to see through my eyes that living with lupus can be difficult but not impossible. Lupus patients learn to live very day with so much inner strength, that others do not realize their daily challenges."

 

 

Jacqueline Saunders- Ferris State University College of Pharmacy, MI

 "Lupus completely broke down my body, but it never broke down an eternal spark inside of me. An unexpected positivity came from having lupus, teaching me enriched life lessons. It made me appreciate even the smallest events in life, realizing I can choose my attitude each day and make it what I want it to be."

 

 Jolene Milewski- Temple University Tyler School of Art, PA

"Being diagnosed with lupus didn’t register in my mind. I didn’t really understand how serious it was…Sometimes I worry that lupus will prevent me from the future I want to obtain, but in my fight I know I will be successful."

 

 

Katelynn Henderson- University of New Mexico  

 "The truth is, having lupus is not a walk in the park. I could tell you about how I'm a hero and how I fight through it, but it wasn't always like that."

 

 

 

Lauryn Bille – University of Nebraska- Lincoln

 "Lupus gave me perspective. I was taught patience along with appreciation and respect. Before lupus, I almost glided through life not realizing how special each moment I spent with friends and family was. Although this disease may look like an obstacle, it helped me grow as a person more than anything else could have.”

 

Mattie Newman- Harvard University, MA

"Lupus made the start of high school nearly unbearable because people around me were ignorant as to how opening a door could be a challenge for me now…However, there was a point when lupus transitioned from a burden to a motivator. I decided to take lupus as a reason to work harder… My diagnosis does not make me any less capable.

 

 

Natasha Pacheco- University of Massachusetts Lowell

 "But towards the end of those dark days the more I thought the more accepting I became. I now think of this as something to push me forward. My disease is now my motivator because it shows me that I can handle anything life throws at me."

 

 

Patricia Lawlis – University of Chicago

 "I have decided to continue on with my life and not let my lupus end my educational and career dreams… I am not expecting to find balancing school and volunteering to be easy, but I know that with the correct attitude and preventative measures, I can manage my lupus without losing the things I care about."

 

 

Vanessa Fuentes – Baylor University School of Law, TX

 "At some point, there was a moment of recognition in which I saw my struggles as an opportunity to humble myself by accepting my weaknesses and receiving help… Because of lupus, I am courageous, I am optimistic, and I am strong."

 

 

2013 L.I.F.E Scholarship Recipients


 

Antoinette Grimes- Mesa Community College

"Lupus took many precious things away from me: my husband, my Army career as an officer, and almost my life… I thought Lupus had taken everything from me… I decided that I was not going to let Lupus rule my life, I was going to win. I was ready to take on the challenge of my “new normal.” Lupus will never steal my joy, but I will use my Lupus to help others.”

 


Imani Rugless – University of Cincinnati

"Lupus opened the door to determination, empathy, compassion, a love of science, and a drive to understand. Lupus has prepared me to become an amazing doctor. Hopefully, I can credit lupus with my future task to eliminate lupus forever."

 

 

 


Katie Alexander – Sam Houston State University

"I know that I have a long fight ahead of me as my body just keeps reminding me. I will continue my struggle and live my life the best I can. I will also continue to pray every day for a cure for Lupus."

 

 

 

 


Elizabeth Yuen – San Francisco State University

“Being diagnosed with lupus inspired my career goal… to become a pediatric rheumatologist…I believe that one of the best gifts I could share with my future patients is hope - hope that they are not alone, hope that the hard time will end, and hope that they will get through this dark period.”

 

 

 

Cynthia Spurgeon – University of Phoenix

"If you were to ask me today how Lupus has affected my life, I would simply state that it was the stepping-stone for positive change in my life. It forced me to look at my life and make healthier, positive choices."


 

 

 

 

Bradley Phan –Orange Coast University

“Living with lupus for 6 years has taught and molded me into the person I am today, a fighter… I learn that I live for today because Lupus has shown me that the only assurance I have is NOW. It is not about loving Lupus and being glad I got it. It's about milking the good out of all the bad that surrounds us." 

 

 


Jena Trowbridge – University of Central Florida

“I have struggled with this disease, however Lupus will not have me, and I will not let it slow down my race for success… The 'load' of SLE has not broken me; I wake up ready to take on each day with Lupus as a warrior, a gladiator, a proud survivor."

 

 

 

 Hannah Thomason– University of La Verne

“All of the frustrations related to my health I now see as a strange kind of blessing, as they have led me toward a profession I feel uniquely suited for…. Investing my life in providing care, instruction and encouragement to individuals who have shared similar struggles is a way I can utilize my experience as a woman with Lupus to personally help make the world a better place.“

 

 

 

 

 

Whitney Hutchinson– South Dakota State University

“As I mature Lupus has made me understand that you need to live in the moment, because you never know what tomorrow might bring.  I learned that I need to appreciate all the little things in my life because they usually add up to the big moments.  I laugh harder, love more and give more of myself to the people who matter most to me.... I take life one day at a time and take head on what life has to give.  Lupus is what I have not who I am.”

 

 

 

Magdalene Quintero– University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

“Regardless of the scars on my fingers and toes, I don’t let my disease take over my entire life. I believe God gave me my challenges so I can help others. My experience of living with Lupus pushes me beyond my own endurance, because I know I will become a M.D., Ph.D. pediatric rheumatologist.”

 

 

 

Bethany Martinez – University of Central Florida

"Making the effort to push myself, in spite of my illness, started the momentum within me… I had emerged from my shell, and was not turning back. I chose to live every minute of my life… I openly share information about my illness, to help others realize that challenges can be overcome as long as your attitude remains positive and your conviction remains strong." 

 

 

Frances Trosa- St. John's University

"Lupus is a very quiet disease... No one can look at me and see the pain I am in or the mental exhaustion I am fighting against...The least I can offer is what lupus has offered me - compassion and understanding."

 

 

 

 

 

2012 L.I.F.E Scholarship Recipients

Amanda Moyer – University of Oklahoma College of Medicine

"Lupus opened the door to determination, empathy, compassion, a love of science, and a drive to understand. Lupus has prepared me to become an amazing doctor. Hopefully, I can credit lupus with my future task to eliminate lupus forever."

 

 

 


Holley Morgan - University of Hawaii, West Oahu

“[Lupus] brought out another side of me- Ambition! ..It has spurred a new passion and motivation in my life- I am capable of anything! … I have decided that Lupus can no longer hold me hostage to the limitless possibilities I am truly capable of.”

 

 


Jarrett Fowler – University of South Dakota, Vermillion

“Ultimately, I did not let lupus change my lifestyle for the worst.  It gave me a positive outlook and the determination to keep a positive attitude. “

 

 

Jeffrey King – University of New Hampshire

“Lupus has impacted me by making me more motivated, focused, a stronger person…  I wish to…succeed in creating the next revolutionary treatment for a once incurable disease..."


Kelsey Youngworth – Kansas State University

“Lupus has made me more appreciative for my own life… Lupus has taught me that with each day, I can meet the challenge and grow to be a more resilient person.”

 

 

 

 

Nicole Herrera – Cal State Long Beach

"Life with lupus isn't easy, but I try and make the best of it... I am thankful for the help and support everyone has given me… I am appreciative and blessed to have a supporting family, friends, and doctors."

 


 

Seth Menghi -  Georgetown University

“Even though lupus has set me back physically, I was able to find the strength that I didn’t know existed to overcome the obstacles.”

 

 

 

 

Shanna Brown – Cleveland State University

"At 11 years old, I was diagnosed with lupus... My physical health was taken away, but the life it has given back to me is more fulfilling and joyous than I had ever known."

 

 

 


 

 


2011 L.I.F.E Scholarship Recipients

 

 Teri Bennett
 Essex County College

“This is to say I somehow became the sole owner of a chronic disease that would forever plaque me. “Not so!”  I declare the not-so old adage of “I may have Lupus, but Lupus does not have me”. “

  

 

 Sauntrie Abellera
 California State University, Northridge

“It is true that life altering events change your outlook in life … I have become more optimistic and excited about new chapters in my life. I have even become more of a free spirit and a spontaneous person.”

 

 Melissa Platt
 University of Utah

“To me, it doesn’t do any good to be sad or depressed about my lot in life. The best thing I can do is wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and a determination to have a good day.”

 

 

 Lauren Aukstikalnis
 Worcester State University

 “The hardships we face do not define us. It is how we respond and cope with our  circumstances that determine our strengths as individuals.”

 

 

 

 Dannielle Foster
 Howard University

“I was finally able to realize that no matter what happens to my physical body, the person who I am will always be there. I have finally come to accept the person that I am and that in part is due to my bout with Lupus.”

 

 

     Brittany Tucker
Baylor University  

“Despite the odds against me, I am still alive and realize that things could be worse than they are.”

 

 

2010 L.I.F.E Scholarship Recipients

 Tammy Cochenour

“Lupus does not define who I am. It is not me. Lupus is the enemy that has invaded my territory and seeks to devour what is mine...I declare victory over my enemy!" 

 

Amanda Cypher

“I am beginning to understand the importance of being present in the moment, rather than worrying about the future or past events, as well as the importance of accepting my illness and recognizing that having lupus is another "chapter" in the story of my life." 

 

Lauren Howell
California Polytechnic State University

"I will work hard to achieve each of my dreams, but I have no way of predicting how Lupus will play into reality or when the wolf will reappear. And this is how Lupus has most incredibly affected my life: in preventing me from promising myself that each of these dreams will come true."

 

 Jennifer Konick

“By realizing the value and delicacy of life, I suddenly began to get more out of every single day, finding joy in everything I did.” 

 

 

Marta Parys

"Also, being more aware now that anything can happen in life, I treasure every moment and love everything around me."

 

 

 

John Truong

"Lupus gave me two choices in life. One was to be pessimistic. The other was to do something about it. I chose the latter."

 

 

 Kristin Walsh

"I know what it is to be endlessly grateful for "good days" and for the friends and family who have journeyed with me through this. I know I will be a better doctor because I have lupus."

 

 

 

Former Scholarship Recipients

  • Jennifer Garrett, Arizona State University
  • Rachel Hirshfield, New York University
  • Endya Frye, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University
  • Bianca Augusto, University of Florida
  • Micaella Cabral, UC Santa Barabara
  • Cheryl Nangit, University of California, Irvine
  • Tunisia Bulluck, East Carolina University
  • Katherine Skaggs, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Lindsay Gordon -- Georgia College & State University
  • Courtney Morgan -- East Carolina University
  • Julianna Corbett -- Depaul University
  • Sara Alspaugh -- Northeastern State University
  • Sandra Crusa -- St. Mary's University San Antonio
  • Ruth Michael -- California State University, East Bay
  • Michelle Spurling -- St. Mary's College
  • Veronica Cruz -- Long Island University
  • Gina Insalaco -- St. Louis University Grad Program
  • Dana Turner -- Cardinal Stritch University
  • Cristen Wetherbee -- Mercer University School of Law
  • Carla Martinez -- Cal State University Long Beach
  • Brittany Black -- University of Florida
  • Emily Gunsberger -- University of Wisconsin
  • Kirstin Badrak -- University of Texas
  • Yesenia Godinez -- UC Irvine
  • Kathryn Draper --University of Oklahoma
  • Breya Chantarabunchorn -- Indiana University of PA
  • Nicholas Cabal -- UC Berkeley
  • Tracee Fultz -- New York University Graduate School-Wagner
  • Sable G. Janney -- Morehead State University-Ohio
  • Clarissa Marie Unger -- University of Kansas
  • Erin Cobb -- University of North Texas
  • Taryn West -- University of Oklahoma Health Science Center
  • Janice Toskich -- Stetson University College of Law-Florida
  • Holly Warman -- University of Montevallo
  • Ogechi Onwubu -- Monmouth University
  • Nathaniel Braithwaite -- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Julia Hilengas -- Temple University
  • Keelia Postlethwaite -- University of Oklahoma
  • Melany Nitzsche -- Webster University
  • Brittany Pritchard -- UNCA Asheville
  • Anna Szafranski --Saginaw Valley State University
  • Natasha Toe -- Rutgers, the State University of NJ
  • Chelsea West -- University of Minnesota