August 2012:SBA’s 2012-2013 Scholarship Winners

The Spina Bifida Association’s 2012-2013 Scholarship winners have been awarded. Applicants competed for six one-year scholarships and represented a wide range of academia. SBA applauds their goals and determination to pursue higher education. These scholarships were competitive and funds were limited, making it impossible to grant every request. The Scholarship Committee evaluated each complete application on its merits based on the criteria set for the scholarship program, and awarded the scholarship after carefully weighing all of the factors for selection.

SBA congratulates the one-year scholarship recipients that have been selected by the Scholarship Committee for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Text Box:Emily Wheeler of Morganton, NC will start her freshman year this fall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since the 9th grade, Emily has been an Honor Roll student at Robert L. Patton High School. In addition to excelling academically, Emily has developed exemplary leadership skills and a commitment to service. Emily currently serves as President of her high school’s Anchor Club. The Anchor Club matches students with local and community based volunteer opportunities. Emily also serves as a math tutor to area middle school students. She is member of the Mu Alpha Theta Math Club and Captain of her high school girls swim team. Emily’s Swimming Coach, Dan St. Louis, wrote that Emily helps her entire team improve and strengthen their swim techniques. “Everyone has a tremendous respect for Emily because of her work ethic and attitude.” An aspiring dentist, Emily plans to major in Biology at UNC Chapel Hill.


Ryan Minks of Nesbit, MS, will attend the University of Mississippi in January 2012. Ryan hopes to one day become a Social Worker. “As a young man in a wheelchair caused by Spina Bifida, I have always seen the world in a different light. That light has taught me that everyone should be helped... That is why I would love to be able to get a degree in Social Work.” Ryan considers himself a people person that enjoys lending a hand in times of need and crisis. He played an active role in preparing meals for residents of a homeless shelter affiliated with his church. Ryan currently serves as the President of the Green Club at his school. The goal of the Green Club is to champion the school’s eco-friendly and going green initiatives. Ryan is a two time national champion swimmer of the National Junior Disability Championships. He has his eyes set on a future and is committed to serving others. “When I finish my education, I will be able to be that person who holds out his hand to lift someone up.”


Hannnah Harkness of Elkhorn, WI, will attend the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the fall. She is the Carolyn Elizabeth Gilbert Scholar. During her four years as a student at Elkhorn Area High School, Hannah maintained an Honor Roll grade point average while actively participating in a number of service-oriented activities and clubs. When she was in the 10th grade Hannah served as Class President. Hannah’s other leadership accomplishments include, being twice selected as Student of the Month, serving as Senior Class Representative for the Student Council, and Vice President of Communications for her high school’s DECA chapter. She is a four year member of the Forensics Team and is a member of the National Honor Society. Hannah is ranked in the top five percent of her senior class of 236 students. Hannah’s academic and extra-curricular achievements have made her an inspiration to teachers and students alike. “Hannah shows up every day with a smile on her face, even when she is not feeling well and not only attends school but excels at it through academics and extra-curricular activities,” said English Teacher, Desirae Heckendorf-Reece. Hannah plans to earn a degree in Accounting and hopes to one day become an Accountant.


Text Box:Jordan Coughlin of Point Pleasant, NJ plans to attend Rutgers University in the fall. Jordan’s interest in healthy eating comes from personal experience. “My passion for the nutritional sciences stems from my lifelong struggle with food and it relates to my own health and wellbeing.” Jordan was an obese child. Doctors were concerned that we would soon develop Type II Diabetes. He took charge of his health and life and became so inspired he decided to devote his academic and professional life to nutrition. Jordan will attend the Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. There he plans to major and nutritional sciences. As a student at Point Pleasant Borough High School, he has devoted much of his time to learning about food and volunteering. Jordan was selected to participate in the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute. This Institute recognizes nutrition based achievements made to improve global health and development. Jordan served as a volunteer for the food pantry organized by his church. He plans to build a career in nutrition. “I would like to work with prenatal nutrition and contribute to the development of nutritious and affordable baby formulas that can be distributed to babies in need.”


Description: Emma ShreveEmma Shreve of Charlottesville, VA is the recipient of the Adele Turnbull Jeffras Scholarship. Emma will be a sophomore at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville this fall. She is planning a career in politics. Her interest in public policy comes from her beliefs in the importance of social justice. Throughout high school and college years Emma has been involved in a wide range of political activities. In high school, she worked on the re-election campaign of Tom Perriello and served as President of the Young Liberals Club. She is currently a member of UVA’s Chapter of the Young Democrats and an Intern at the Miller Center for Public Affairs. One of Emma’s scholarship references stated, “Emma’s psychical abilities and limitations are only one small portion of her persona. She is a remarkable force and a brilliant leader.” Some of Emma’s most recent and outstanding work has been with the local Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA). She worked with the agency to create, produce, and edit three Public Service Announcements for their Speak Out campaign. The focus of the campaign is to raise awareness on teen dating violence and abuse. After completing her Bachelor’s Degree, Emma plans to earn a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and attend Law School. In her spare time, Emma works as a certified ski instructor at Wintergreen Adaptive Sports Ski Program.


Morgan Graham of Portland, OR is the Nan Gingher Scholarship recipient. She is a graduate student at Portland State University. Morgan earned a degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Maine. She is committed to serving other people living with disabilities. Her desire to work in the field of Speech Language Pathology was crafted by her challenges and experiences as a person living as an amputee and with Spina Bifida. Morgan believes that self- acceptance is one of the most challenging parts of living with a disability. “I came to accept myself and, in turn, have broadened my world view. I have conquered that mountain and now live empowered by diversity.” Upon completing her Bachelor’s Degree, she completed independent study in Disability Services in Italy. Morgan enjoys gardening and worked abroad with the Willing Workers on Organic Farms, an organization focused on bringing organic foods to families in need. Domestically, she served as a volunteer with the Special Olympics and St. Charles Children’s home. Morgan’s all around can do attitude and compassion for others living with disabilities helps her stand out a leader and advocate. Providing speech and language therapy to others in need to improve quality of life is her ultimate goal. She says that she “marvels at the tangible progress that can be made through therapy.”