For DonorsFor Applicants

Taylor Coleman’s “More than a Conqueror” Scholarship Award

1 winner$500
Application Deadline
Jun 15, 2022
Winners Announced
Jul 15, 2022
Education Level
Undergraduate, Graduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Full-time undergraduate or graduate, sophomore or higher
3.0 or higher
Field of Study:
Science, health science, or creative arts
Medical History:
Diagnosed with a systematic autoimmune disease

Autoimmune diseases are not as uncommon as people may think and are the third most common cause of chronic illnesses in the US. 

The NIH estimates that autoimmune diseases affect between 5-8% of the US population, and autoimmune diseases are becoming more common. Autoimmune diseases are more prevalent among women, affecting three times more women than men.  

This scholarship aims to support female students who have autoimmune diseases in order to help them finish their degrees.  

Female undergraduate or graduate students who are sophomores or higher, are attending accredited two or four-year colleges full-time, have GPAs of at least 3.0, are majoring in science, health science, or creative arts, and are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, please upload a letter of recommendation, and tell us how your autoimmune disease has affected your life, education, and future goals and how this scholarship would help you achieve your educational and career goals. 

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published February 22, 2022
Essay Topic

How has being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease affected your education and your life? How has your diagnosis impacted your future goals? How will this scholarship help you reach your educational and career goals?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Nelena Gregory
Virginia Commonwealth UniversityChesterfield County, VA
In less than thirty minutes, my whole life changed. I still hear the rheumatologist’s words echoing in my ears, “Your body is producing antibodies of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Anticardiolipin Antibody Syndrome, Acute Varicella Zoster Infection, and Postherpetic Neuralgia.” I was completely overwhelmed with these diagnoses. Like most, I did not know what they meant, so I turned to Google. My diagnoses meant that my immune system is attacking my organs, it is difficult or painful to swallow at times, I am sensitive to sunlight, I have chronic nerve pain, and I am prone to miscarriages and blood clots. I was not ready for that news. I envision my future as a Physical Therapist, married, with at least two children, gone. The thought of my dream not materializing due to something out of my control was stressful, to say the least. Then I went to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions. I was not ready for that either. I knew that medical bills were not cheap, but, until that moment, I did not realize how much is left to pay out-of-pocket, even after insurance is applied. With the additional costs of doctor’s visits, lab work, and expensive prescription medications, my family’s financial situation has taken a turn for the worst. This scholarship is crucial to me because it will relieve financial stress on my mother. She is paying for both my medical expenses and my college tuition on a teacher’s salary, without the help of my father or federal financial aid. My step-father lost his job during the pandemic, and with it, the family’s medical coverage. Now my mother’s already stretched paycheck must cover insurance and groceries for the family. The value of education is something I take very seriously, but in order to help with finances, I considered taking a break from college. This left me in distress. I have worked too hard in school to let my illnesses dictate my trajectory. I know I cannot postpone my education, but I cannot postpone my health either. Through this scholarship, I will not have to choose between my health and my education. With financial assistance, I will be able to further my studies, which will help me achieve my job ambitions. Before medication and a proper diagnosis, I felt helpless and unmotivated. The side effects of my diagnoses restricted my ability to walk and lift objects. At that moment, I threw away any hopes of becoming a future Physical Therapist due to the reasoning that I had limited mobility. The prospect of not accomplishing my goals caused me to experience depression episodes, which harmed my academic and work ethic. I did not see the sense in studying when I believed I could not put what I learned into practice. My crying was just like my pain: it did not stop. It was not until after my diagnosis, when I was prescribed my medication and exercise treatments, that I really was motivated to make sure that no person felt the same way as I did. Knowing what I went through and am still currently going through motivates me to make sure I treat as many people as I can who have gone through the same issues. It is fundamental that no matter how intense the patient’s medical condition or mobility, I would never give up on them or let them give up on themselves as their therapist.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jun 15, 2022. Winners will be announced on Jul 15, 2022.

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