2017-2018 Winterhoff Arthritis Scholarship Recipients
A college scholarship for students with rheumatic diseases.
The Arthritis Foundation is proud to announce the 2017- 2018 Winterhoff Arthritis Scholarship Awardees!
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
Samantha Bell is currently a third-year medical student at the University of California, San Francisco. She has an MPH in Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology from University of Washington, and a B.S. in Microbial Biology from UC Berkeley. She has an interest in pediatrics stemming from her personal experience living with juvenile arthritis. She was diagnosed at age 10, and since then her early curiosity in medicine transformed into a deep interest and desire to pursue a career in pediatrics. She is inspired to encourage patient self-advocacy and help families traverse the challenges that arise with optimism and grace.
Sean Patrick Bliven
University of Florida College of Medicine
Sean Patrick Bliven an arthritis advocate and volunteer, diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 9. Patrick is beginning his second-year of medical school to become a physician who can assist patients with a host of rheumatic diseases. Patrick grew up in Tampa, FL, where his family began a golf tournament to benefit the Arthritis Foundation and funded camps for kids with arthritis. His involvement with these camps has never ended, as he has spent entire summers there and returns regularly. Patrick’s current goals for activity with the Arthritis Foundation are twofold, the first has been a longtime goal, to educate people that arthritis and rheumatic diseases affect patients of all ages. The second, is to combine his unique perspective of both a patient and now health care provider, to support and advocate for those suffering from arthritis. In addition, Patrick will continue to operate a free medical clinic with other medical students and physicians in the Gainesville area. He is excited to further his education in the coming years to be able to care for others with the help of the Arthritis Foundation and Winterhoff Scholarship.
Mikayla Lee Bowers
Virginia Wesleyan College
Mikayla Bowers was diagnosed at twelve years old with systemic onset psoriatic arthritis with nerve pain disease after a strep infection manifested itself in her skin. She was number five in her High School graduating class with a 4.23 GPA and looking forward to starting her freshman year at Virginia Wesleyan College in the fall. Mikayla works with the Arthritis Foundation to help young children who have juvenile arthritis. She has also participated in the Jingle Bell Walk and the Walk to Cure Arthritis. Mikayla has also attended the National Juvenile Arthritis Conference for the last 3 years.
Molly Grace Lea McComb
Wake Forest University
Molly McComb will be a freshman at Wake Forest University in the fall of 2017. Molly was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 10 and systemic arthritis at the age of 14. Her hands are greatly affected by the disease, as it has eaten away the joints, bone and cartilage in many of her fingers and it also affects her eyes. Molly has had eleven surgical procedures over three years. In June of 2016, she had a joint removed and a bone fusion in her right pinky finger. In the summer of 2017, Molly will have the same surgery on my left pinky finger with the addition of a joint replacement in another joint. Molly began working with the Arthritis Foundation in 2011 and her team has raised $145,000 over the past seven years. Molly has traveled to Washington D.C. for the past two years to participate in the Arthritis Advocacy Summit and she met with numerous congressmen and staff. Speaking with them was a profound moment in her life because she realized how advocating could make a difference for people, especially children, who do not have the ability to speak for themselves. Molly plans to major in political science at Wake Forest and she hopes to provide feedback and make an impact on healthcare legislation. Molly looks forward to continuing to work with the Arthritis Foundation throughout her college years and beyond. Molly is so honored and grateful to have been selected to receive the Winterhoff Scholarship.
California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo
As a child, Rachel was determined to become a professional chef and spent countless hours perfecting her techniques. Her wish lists included kitchen tools and gadgets rather than more age appropriate toys. When Rachel began high school, her world changed. Her fingers began visibly deforming and at times, and she had difficulty walking due to painful feet, knees, and hips. Eventually, Rachel was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Arthritis had already affected her ability to work with my hands, and as a 14-year-old, the threat of disability weighed heavily. Confused and uncertain, she found refuge in volunteer activities. Since 2012, Rachel spent nearly 2,100 hours working in her community focusing on something other than herself. Since she had previously participated in several fundraising walks, it was natural for her to seek out the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk to Cure Arthritis
Consequently, the life-altering challenge presented by RA has completely changed her outlook. Rachel is now determined to combine the tremendous satisfaction she receives from her service activities and her love of cooking to create unique opportunities with a degree in Nutrition. Rachel wants to give people hope after a serious diagnosis whether it’s diabetes, an autoimmune condition, or cancer by helping patients use diet, in complement with traditional therapy, to manage or prevent chronic illness. Rachel believes that every individual is in the driver’s seat throughout the journey of their disease and her mission is to provide resources and reassurance, empowering them to take control and live longer, healthier lives.
Mikayla May Minnig
California State University Long Beach
Mikayla Minnig is 18 years old and will be attending her second-year at California State University Long Beach. Mikayla is studying Political Science with the hopes of becoming a government teacher for high schoolers. Mikayla was diagnosed at age 3 with juvenile arthritis. Since being diagnosed, the Arthritis Foundation has become like a second family to her. Mikayla founded a Facebook page called Change for Arthritis that she uses to reach out and connect with others who are going through similar journeys. Mikayla uses her experience to support and guide other young kids through the first months after diagnosis with arthritis. According to Mikayla, “no amount of volunteer work would be able to make up for all that the Arthritis Foundation and all those involved have done for me. And I am so grateful to the Winterhoff Family and the Scholarship Committee that has allowed me to continue in my studies.”
Wake Forest School of Medicine
San Clemente, CA
Katlin Poladian is from the small seaside community of San Clemente, CA. At age 14 she was diagnosed with a form of arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis, after slipping on a pool deck. Katlin attended San Clemente High School, and under the treatment of her pediatric rheumatologist, she played water polo and swam. Along with her brother, she was chosen to be a Youth Honoree for the Arthritis Walk of Orange County in 2008. During this time, she began volunteering with the Arthritis Foundation, which was the start of a lifetime commitment to finding a cure for arthritis. She was recruited to play Varsity Women’s Water Polo for Princeton University, where she majored in Sociology. After graduating, she attended Columbia University and completed a premedical post baccalaureate program. Currently, she is a medical student at Wake Forest School of Medicine and just finished her first year. Katlin plans to become a pediatric rheumatologist, where she can help patients with arthritis receive effective treatments so that they too can achieve their dreams.
California State University Long Beach
Long Beach, CA
Caitlin Ryan was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis at the age of 3. One thing led to another and by the age of 12 she had both of her hips replaced. Even with setbacks and problems Caitlin never lets arthritis stop her. Caitlin is a sophomore at California State University Long Beach and will start her second semester involved with Alpha Omicron Pi. She enjoys photography and adventuring outside. Although her arthritis has improved, she will not stop until there is a cure for this debilitating disease. No one should live in pain; no child should have to say they can't play. 16 years of fighting for a cure and not planning on stopping until every kid can be a champion of YES!