2023-24 Arthritis Champions Scholarship Awardees
$5,000 scholarships have been awarded to 20 deserving college students.
The Arthritis Foundation is pleased to announce the 2023-'24 Arthritis Champions Scholarship winners. These 20 college students living with arthritis demonstrate the spirit of Yes as well as a commitment to helping others.
Andrew R., Arizona: Living with a form of arthritis has made Andrew’s life full of challenges, yet he has discovered ways to cope. He has immersed himself in many Arthritis Foundation events and opportunities, including Walk to Cure Arthritis and Jingle Bell Run, as well as advocacy and other volunteer work. Andrew intends to earn his bachelor’s degree in business while playing lacrosse at Lindenwood University and then pursue his MBA and hone his leadership abilities.
Beatrice M., Maryland: At 14, Beatrice suddenly went from playing sports and living an active life to joint pain, swelling and a wheelchair, leading to a diagnosis of juvenile arthritis and eventually a double hip replacement. Now she’s attending Northeastern University, majoring in public health with a minor in business and a minor in law and public policy. Her goal is to improve public policy for disability rights and those who live with invisible illness. Beatrice and her family consistently support the Arthritis Foundation’s mission with their commitment to fundraising.
Bryce S., Ohio: Bryce began taking biologics at just 15 months old to treat her arthritis, which was accompanied by uveitis and other eye disorders. Over the years, she and her family have participated in numerous Arthritis Foundation events and opportunities. Bryce is in an accelerated master’s program at the University of Alabama, simultaneously working on earning a bachelor’s in political science and a master’s in public administration, with minors in psychology and history. She wants to be on the front lines of improving the nation’s educational system.
Claire H., Tennessee: Some days are better than others, but Claire says she’s always got at least one aching joint and often battles fatigue caused by ankylosing spondylitis and juvenile arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation has helped her find her voice to spread awareness about JA. She has attended JA camps and now serves as a volunteer leader, in addition to raising funds for our mission and doing other volunteer work. She attends the University of Tennessee, majoring in biology, and then plans to go to dental school.
Clare P., Utah: Clare’s life took an unexpected turn at age 23 when, after years of mysterious symptoms, she was finally diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She works at a children’s hospital doing pediatric rheumatology research while studying for her bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of Utah. Clare volunteers at a nearby JA camp in a leadership role and credits the Arthritis Foundation with helping shape who she is today.
Elizabeth F., New Jersey: Diagnosed at 15 months old with juvenile arthritis, Elizabeth’s pediatric rheumatologist suggested, as she grew older, that she stays active in a low-impact sport, and she soon became a competitive swimmer. In addition, she became a strong Arthritis Foundation Advocate, raising awareness and thousands of dollars. Elizabeth plans to major in psychology with a minor in counseling at Villanova University and wants to continue making a difference.
Ethan B., Ohio: After being diagnosed with juvenile arthritis as a young child, Ethan wondered if he’d be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Throughout his time as a liberal arts undergraduate student, he combined business and social justice courses. This fall, he’ll start graduate school at Vanderbilt University. Someday, he hopes to start a venture capital firm focused on bringing innovative health care products to market. Ethan is a dedicated Arthritis Foundation Advocate whose goal is to help improve the lives of others.
Isabelle F., Pennsylvania: Isabelle was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at age 4, and every day she feels fear of the unknown while simultaneously feeling blessed. She has participated in several Arthritis Foundation fundraisers, has served as an Advocate and is mentor for a family with a 5-year-old who has JA. Isabelle is in the occupational therapy program at Elizabethtown College, working toward her bachelor’s degree in health science, then will pursue her master’s and doctorate degrees.
Joshua J., California: Diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at age 4, Joshua is pursuing his degree at California State University of Long Beach, developing the counseling skills needed to support underrepresented students in achieving their professional, educational and personal goals. Over the years, Joshua has raised thousands of dollars for the Arthritis Foundation and now serves in a leadership role.
Katelyn M., Iowa: Diagnosed with undifferentiated autoimmune arthritis and fibromyalgia in her late teens, Katelyn says her condition affects almost every element of her life. She is pursuing her PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Montana. Katelyn serves in a leadership role at a JA camp and says each year at camp reaffirms her commitment to be a clinician, researcher, teacher and advocate in the mental health field.
Kate A., Illinois: It took Kate awhile to come to terms with her juvenile arthritis diagnosis at age 9. But the empowerment and advocacy tools she gained during several years at JA camp have helped her get to where she is today. She has raised funds for our mission and found her voice for advocacy. Kate is attending Emory University, exploring her love of histology and microbiology, convinced that the medical field is where she belongs. She is also a member of the basketball team.
Katherine W., North Carolina: Katherine was diagnosed at 18 months old and doesn’t remember life without juvenile arthritis. Upon attending their first Arthritis Foundation JA Family Summit in 2013, she and her family’s lives were filled with support and new friendships, and they began fundraising for many Foundation events. Attending Wake Forest University, studying anthropology and Spanish, Katherine is planning a career as either a college professor or in museum education.
Lana L., California: At age 3, Lana was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis and was put on a cocktail of several medications. After attending a JA camp, she finally felt like a “normal kid” and started advocating for other kids with JA and participating in a variety of Arthritis Foundation fundraisers. Lana plans to major in sustainable environmental design at the University of California. She says she can do anything by being persistent.
McKenzie R., New Hampshire: Diagnosed with juvenile arthritis and scleroderma at age 4, McKenzie has traveled to Capitol Hill to advocate for other children with JA, appeared in media to promote Arthritis Foundation events and has raised thousands of dollars for our mission. Enrolled in Saint Michael’s College, McKenzie is double majoring in theatre and music with minors in Spanish and criminology. She aspires to be an actress and continue being a spokesperson for the arthritis cause.
Miranda L., Wisconsin: As a middle-schooler, Miranda was very active in gymnastics, cross country and downhill skiing, when she was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at age 12. Despite JA making just about everything a challenge, she has thrown herself into a wide range of Arthritis Foundation events and activities. Accepted into Carroll University’s nursing program and with a passion to help others, Miranda’s goal after graduating is to become an infusion nurse.
Rhiannon C., California: Rhiannon has had arthritis for nearly 20 years but has found friendships through numerous Arthritis Foundation opportunities, including being a local and national youth honoree for Walk to Cure Arthritis, attending several Advocacy Summits and being involved in the JA Family Summit for years. Along the way, she has gained extensive public speaking skills. Majoring in theatre at the University of Nevada, her dream job is to be a stage manager for live shows. Rhiannon takes pride in the positive effect she’s had on young people with arthritis.
Rose A., Wisconsin: Having juvenile arthritis since she was 3 years old, Rose often felt left out while other kids played sports. But connecting with the Arthritis Foundation’s fundraising events year after year also connected her with many other JA patients and their families. Currently, she’s attending Saint Louis University and studying occupational therapy. After graduating, Rose plans to work in the field, specializing in pediatric care.
Sydney K., Kentucky: Juvenile arthritis made Sydney’s life very difficult as a child, with pain weighing her down. Yet her involvement with the Arthritis Foundation, including major advocacy efforts, has shown her that the disease can be a blessing when used to help others. At the University of Kentucky, Sydney is studying to become a nurse practitioner, and she plans to put her degree to work to advance women’s health education.
Taylor L., Ohio: Diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at age 6, Taylor’s condition affected every major joint in her body. But her extensive community involvement as a dedicated Arthritis Foundation volunteer has empowered her to navigate the disease’s many challenges. Taylor is enrolled in the Honors College at Cleveland State University, emphasizing her passions for English and business. She plans to pursue law in graduate school.
Taylor V., South Dakota: When he was 9 years old, four words changed Taylor’s life: polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. He learned from his parents to not give up when faced with adversity but to meet it head-on. He has engaged in every Arthritis Foundation event and fundraiser possible, in addition to attending JA camp, and now serves as a volunteer camp counselor. Taylor is double majoring in political science and economics at the University of South Dakota.
The 2024-25 Arthritis Champions Scholarships application process will open in early 2024. The program is generously funded by the Walter J. and Kathryn M. Winterhoff Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Dr. Smriti Bardhan College Scholarship Fund.
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