Chronic Boss Scholarship

Funded by
Patient Authentic
Learn more about the Donor
1st winner$1,000
2nd winner$1,000
3rd winner$1,000
4th winner$1,000
5th winner$1,000
6th winner$1,000
7th winner$1,000
8th winner$1,000
9th winner$1,000
10th winner$1,000
Application Deadline
Mar 1, 2022
Winners Announced
Mar 31, 2022
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school, undergraduate, graduate
Must have:
One or more autoimmune conditions
Education Level:
Must have:
High school, undergraduate, graduate
One or more autoimmune conditions

John D. Rockefeller once said, “I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything.”

Those living with autoimmune diseases embody the quality of perseverance, often cultivated by their experience overcoming the challenges brought on by their conditions. Chronic illness can create a difficult road, but this doesn’t deter the passion and effort of many who strive to make a difference.

These women are Chronic Bosses. Powerful, strong, and resilient. Kind and empathetic. Leaders and change-makers shaping our future. 

The Chronic Boss Scholarship seeks to reward women with autoimmune disorders who have preserved and succeeded. This scholarship is geared towards women who have an entrepreneurial spirit, whether that is in launching an initiative, a campaign, a startup, a blog, starting a club, organizing a fundraiser, or other endeavor.

To apply, write an essay explaining how living with an autoimmune disease has shaped who you are and how you have transformed your struggle into your strength.

Published December 1, 2021
1st winner$1,000
2nd winner$1,000
3rd winner$1,000
4th winner$1,000
5th winner$1,000
6th winner$1,000
7th winner$1,000
8th winner$1,000
9th winner$1,000
10th winner$1,000
Application Deadline
Mar 1, 2022
Winners Announced
Mar 31, 2022
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Essay Topic

How has your experience as a person living with an autoimmune disease shaped who you are today? How have you turned your struggle into your strength?

400–600 words

Winners and Finalists

March 2022

Ari Patterson
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Bainbridge, GA
Julia Lottes
Westmont College
Roseville, CA
Madalynn Cruz
Cutler Bay Senior High School
Homestead, FL
Casey Eaton
University of Alabama in Huntsville
Harvest, AL
Hadley Williams
Middleton High School
Madison, WI
Nilija Foendoe
SUNY at Albany
Queens, NY
Olivia Mello
West Coast University-Orange County
Huntington Beach, CA
Anne Doyle
College of DuPage
Homer Glen, IL
Emma Banks
D H Conley High
Winterville, NC
Ashley Korbonski
Dana Hills High
Laguna Niguel, CA
Khadiatou Coulibaly
Home School Experience
Minneapolis, MN
Elizabeth Bird
Watertown High School
Watertown, CT
Sara Crowley
Chamberlain University-Illinois
Charlton, MA
Mackenzie Engel
Genoa-Kingston High School
Hampshire, IL
Maggy James
Coastal Alabama Community College
Coffeeville, AL
Katherine Price
Anderson High School
Cincinnati, OH
Ruthann Perrot
Rasmussen College-Wisconsin
Waupun, WI
Medina High School
Medina, OH
Alyson Vigneau
Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix
Cave Creek, AZ
Kylee Kraemer
Internet Home School
Midlothian, TX
Abigail Kratofil
Blue Valley Northwest High
Overland Park, KS
ashley narten
Southwest Technical College
Minocqua, WI
Marina Lane
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX
Carli Mankowski
Joe E Newsome High School
Valrico, FL
Taylor Coleman
Georgia Southern University
Upper Marlboro, MD
Kaitlin Maples
University of South Alabama
Mobile, AL
Salma Campos
Mount Whitney High School
Visalia, CA
Anna Cosgrove
Liberty University
Lynchburg, VA
Gillian Williams
Montclair Kimberley Academy
Glen Ridge, NJ
Darcie Adams
University of Maryland-Baltimore County
Havre de Grace, MD
Alexis Gomez
University of California-Riverside
Covina, CA
Shiela Peters
Mott Community College
Raleigh, NC
Josie Mumford
Westlake High School
Saratoga Springs, UT
Avary Wathen
Larry A. Ryle High School
Union, KY
Victoria Abell
Texas A & M University-College Station
New Braunfels, TX
Karilynn Burks
Capella University
Summerfield, FL
Sarah Dismuke
Gemological Institute of America-New York
New York, NY
Cecilia Hernandez
Rollins College
Oviedo, FL
Gabriella Nibaldi
Liberty University
St. Cloud, FL
Liz Rains
Southern New Hampshire University- Online
Smithtown, NY
Ella Hansen
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Omaha, NE
Sarah Conviser
Columbia University in the City of New York
New York, NY
Katie Craddock
Chantilly High School
Chantilly, VA
Abby Farnsworth
Parkersburg South High School
Walker, WV
Erica Haire
Baldwin Wallace University
Hanover, PA
Cleopatra Williams
University of Houston
Houston, TX
Lydia Pastore
Red Mountain High School
Mesa, AZ

Winning Applications

Abigail Jenkins
Christa Mcauliffe Art ScienceWest Linn, OR
Ria Marsh
Booker T Washington Spva MagnetDallas, TX
I was having occasional trouble breathing, and my heart was fluttering. Every time I stood up, I got dizzy. I was having trouble thinking during classes, and my mind was blurry. Then I was diagnosed with Immune Thrombocytopenia(ITP), an autoimmune disease causing my body to destroy my own platelets. Without platelets, my blood could not clot, and spontaneous bleeding could occur. That explained the nose bleeds, the bruises, and the loss of blood explained the anemia and brain fog. I just remember asking why? Why has my body failed me? After I was diagnosed, I tried different medications, and spent countless hours with doctors, in hospitals, and even saw specialists at the Mayo clinic, but nothing seemed to help. I would drag myself to school every day but didn’t even feel like I was there because I was so tired. There were days where I could not get out of bed, those days I would have nose bleeds for 3-4 hours and feel completely drained. I decided that ITP may be a part of my life, but ITP was not going to control my life. As I tried different treatments, I started taking action on what I could control. I learned to manage my stress, manage my sleep, and improve my diet. We eventually found a medication that has treated my ITP effectively, and together with my health self-management, my body feels great. My anemia equally subsided, so my brain fog cleared, and I can think clearly. I have renewed energy. I now have more control over my life. Not only did I gain more platelets, but through this process I gained more confidence. I am a unique person. I am part of .003% of the population that have this autoimmune disease. ITP has led me to a fascination with healthcare as I spend time researching my blood disorder. I’ve become involved in the Platelet Disorder Association (PDSA) and participated in several webinars with younger children, so they can talk to an older child and know everything is going to be OK! This year I was featured in the opening video to PDSA’s annual conference with over 670 participants from 20 countries. I have always had an interest in the medical field, and now I have personal experience. Through my experiences with my autoimmune disease, I’ve formed my ambition to become a nurse. Being in and out of the hospital has shown me the atmosphere that I want to work in. Seeing nurses help and care for people and making a difference in the world, I’ve learned what I want to do. With this vision of becoming a nurse, and a strengthened resolve that I can conquer anything, my academics gained more purpose. I have a 4.1 GPA, am a member of National Honor Society (NHS) and will be earning the Distinguished Level of Achievement with a STEM endorsement in high school. One Of my favorite courses this year is Anatomy and Physiology. I have been admitted to a pre-nursing program and anticipate participating in the pre-nursing Living Learning Community on campus. I know that my physical immune system was compromised, but my emotional immune system is stronger than ever. I have confidence in who I am, what I can do and where I am going. Living with my autoimmune disease became a strength because it showed me that I could conquer anything. Dealing with the ups and downs of ITP has shown me how strong I really am. I am passionately pursuing a career in nursing. I know that whatever goals I set in life, nothing can stop me.
Nicole Payne
Capella UniversityPortland, OR
I have had an autoimmune disease of arthritis for a very long time. With the combined struggles of autoimmune disease, learning disability, and trauma it has been very challenging. It took many years to learn skills on how to communicate what I need and how to take the time I need to rest. There were many times I would push myself to the point where I would burn out and be of no use for long periods of time. I now know how to regulate myself better. This is vital for me to be healthy and successful in life. This has also assisted me in looking for ways to help others by volunteering on a few committees regarding disabilities and employment issues. Currently, we are having an employment crisis. According to the CDC in 2018, one out of every five Americans were diagnosed with a disability, that is 25% of Americans. In 2015, it was one out of every four. In three years we have had a 5% increase in disability rates. According to the Labor bureau people with disabilities have a 2-3x higher unemployment rate. Many autoimmune diseases fall under the category of disabilities. I with a fellow member in one of these committees have worked on submitting a proposal to present research on what employers need to hire more people with disabilities. I don't want to stop there. I started researching what colleges believe in equity for people who have struggles like mine and want to see more people like me succeed. I know that I am considered a minority group that is underrepresented and not always heard. I had taken college courses multiple times where people did not understand Ableism or disability within context, meaning capability. Having an autoimmune disease means I have to put my capability in context and know how to explain that to people. I knew I wanted to find a place that would help me become an authority so I could create change in this area. I found Portland State University and applied for their Ph.D. program. I am waiting to hear back. I constantly talk about Ableism to people and what it means. I also constantly talk to people about the importance of open communication, empathy, and understanding. I recently started working on a project called The Needs Languages and have written a series of books. At this time I have published two books. The Needs Languages are a system to identify and categorize personality types. It is fast and intuitive helping you feel connected and providing a sense of belonging in all your relationships. I discovered this modality while brainstorming on a road trip and have been working on it and applying it ever since. I have been seeing amazing results. I have included links to my website and to the books I have published. I have also included links to what I have referenced. Every struggle I faced I have overcome no matter how long it takes me and in that, I have made a commitment to myself that I will be a part of the change for others. Thank you for the opportunity to write for this scholarship. #theNeedsLanguages
Kayleigh Gallagher
Fairfield Ludlowe High SchoolFairfield, CT
In July of last year, I went to the emergency room after my watch measured a resting heart rate of upwards of one hundred fifty beats per minute and, following seven hours at the hospital and lots of blood tests, was diagnosed with Graves Disease, a condition that affects the thyroid and kicks it into overactivity. A lot of prior health issues began to make sense, such as difficulty participating in athletic activities, insomnia, and issues with metabolism, but I also found my mobility restricted over the next few months as I waited for the medications I was prescribed to take effect. These issues became exacerbated at the start of the school year. As someone who has had health issues my whole life, I was already aware that the public school system was not accessible to disabled students, but the extent of it quickly became clear. I missed parts of class when the elevators I needed access to were in use or when I felt sick and needed to go to the nurse, I found myself emailing teachers to remind them of parts of my 504 plan they were docking points for, and one teacher even told me my condition 'wasn't bad enough to result