Meet the 2019 Scholars

Get to know the hopes, dreams, and talents of this year's winners.

Mike M.

Undergraduate Recipient

"Choose one inspirational quote or motto that has helped you throughout your journey with cystic fibrosis. How do you live by your quote or motto and how has it motivated you to accomplish your goals?"

“Your focus determines your reality.” - Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars Episode I Throughout my life, I have drawn motivation from this quote to maintain compliance with my CF therapies. Studies show that compliance has a strong correlation with improved health, so achieving 100 percent compliance is critical. CF does not take a day off, so neither should the CF patient. Respiratory therapy is vital, since it helps to keep the lungs clear, reducing infection, inflammation, and permanent lung damage. Nutritional compliance is also essential in order to maintain a healthy weight, strengthen the immune system, and reduce inflammation. Exercise is another important component of the regimen. Regular aerobic exercise can help clear and strengthen the lungs. Resistance training can be important to strengthen bones, which are more susceptible to osteopenia or osteoporosis for CF patients. And exercise is not effective unless done on a regular basis, thus I play ultimate frisbee year-round. Given the importance of therapy and compliance, I have established a rigorous regimen and achieve near 100 percent compliance. These daily therapies have helped keep me healthy and put me into a position to pursue my academic interests. Because of my heavy academic workload, my focus on my studies must also be intense. The amount of time I devote to my health necessitates high efficiency in my schoolwork. Therefore, by focusing on consistently completing my therapies, exercising regularly, and studying diligently, I am able to make my goals of staying healthy and pursuing higher education reality.

Mike M.'s Artwork

Mike M.'s Achievements

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Society - Inducted into high school fraternity recognizing service to community in 2017 for service projects including work with Nashville Food Project, Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen, and Last Saturday Supper
  • First Year Urban Project - Participated in program at Harvard focused on community service and teaching social justice
  • Tennessee Math Teachers' Association - First Place in Tennessee in 2017 Statistics Competition
  • Harvard Ultimate Frisbee - Named Rookie of the Year on Harvard Bred Line team 2018-2019
  • High School Ultimate Frisbee - 2015-2018, Captain (2018)
  • Science Olympiad - 2015-2018, Team Captain (2015), 23 Medals at Regional and State Levels
  • High School Ping Pong Club - Founder and President (2015-2018)
  • National Merit Scholarship Winner and National AP Scholar
  • Vanderbilt University Department of Psychology - Unpaid Internship, wrote statistical code for Quantum Cognitive Modeling in the Judgement and Decision Making Lab in Psychology Department - 2017 - 40 hrs./wk, for 6 weeks
  • Vanderbilt University Department of Physics and Astronomy - Unpaid Internship, wrote computational methods for electronic structure calculations in nanoscience and condensed matter - 2017-2018 - 8 hrs./wk, every week during school year