by Pamela Sinicrope
The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation was pleased to be able to continue its annual scholarship program in 2020 to support students affected by Rheumatoid Disease (RD). We awarded five $1,000 scholarships to students who either have RD themselves or who have a parent with RD. We'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who applied for our Scholarship Program. We received many wonderful essays and applications. Our judging panel has chosen our five winners this year, and we'd like to introduce each of them to you. Please join us in congratulating these five individuals as they continue their educational pursuits!
Anne O. Jewell is a 25-year-old American musician, receiving her Masters of Letters in Sacred Music at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. She has suffered from Rheumatoid Disease her entire life, but wasn’t diagnosed until her early 20’s. She is working with her doctors to prove that she can have a normal life as a professional violinist, even when her body doesn’t want to cooperate! Annie is thankful to the RPF for giving opportunities and support to people like her.
Jillian Quam is from Northern California. She has been living with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) since she was 13, but was not diagnosed until years later. She is currently a speech language pathology major at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Living with a rheumatic disease has inspired her to pursue a health science degree so that she can work with other people with disabilities and be an advocate for them.
Maegan Ramchal is a first-year MSW Candidate at Columbia University's School of Social Work, studying Advanced Clinical Social Work with a focus in Health, Mental Health, and Disabilities. She is a recent graduate of Northwestern University where she received her B.A. in Psychology and Environmental Science. Maegan was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 14 and she aims to use her interdisciplinary education to advocate for and with other physically disabled individuals along intersectional lines. She is particularly passionate about disability and mental health, environmental justice, and gender-based violence. Her goal is to earn her LCSW and practice psychotherapy. Outside of her career, Maegan likes to read, create art, and travel.
Erin Elisabeth Vago is a junior Theatre Performance and Technology major and Sociology minor at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Her sister was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) twelve years ago, and Erin has been diagnosed with JIA for 7 years. Erin and her family have been volunteering with the Arthritis Foundation for 9 years, and she has been a patient advocate with the Arthritis Foundation and the Pediatric Rheumatology-Care and Outcomes Improvement Network (PR-COIN). Erin enjoys crocheting when she is able, blues/fusion dance, and making music.
Jillian Zaun is a Freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). She is from Minneapolis, MN and recently moved to Lincoln to begin school and compete on the UNL Rodeo Team. She was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at a young age and went through many different treatments trying to find relief. Little did she know, she would find relief from her horses. Her horses were able to alleviate much of her pain. Riding was the best source of exercise that she found to help. It alleviated so much physical pain and helped with the stress that comes with having Juvenile Arthritis. She is excited to begin the next step in her life at UNL. She has always had a passion for the oil industry and plans to use her Chemical Engineering major to help begin a career in the oil field.
A Special thank you to our sponsor, Myriad Autoimmune, for making this program possible!
Myriad autoimmune is passionate about impacting patient lives for the better. They are committed to providing actionable information with their molecular blood test, Vectra, to guide medical management decisions in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and improve patient outcomes. Vectra is a validated objective measure that combines 12 biomarkers, age, gender and adiposity to provide a personalized score of inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. For more information on Vectra, please visit: www.vectrada.com.