Meet the 2020 Scholars

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

Chris W.

Graduate Recipient

"What do you believe is the greatest unaddressed patient need in the CF community, and if you could, how would you try to fix it? Who would you partner with (e.g. public figure, organization) to help fix the issue and why?"

CF is difficult to manage, even on the easiest days. During exacerbations, keeping up with treatments quickly becomes overwhelming. The fight to maintain well-being often prioritizes physical health over emotional health, even though the latter may be equally important. The psychological toll of CF has been recognized in the CF community for years, but the integration of mental health services has not advanced as quickly as other medical developments. Personally, I didn’t realize how impactful mental health services could be until I recently started counseling. “That’s not for me” or “I’m fine, I don’t need that” had always been my typical responses, aligned with my strong, self-sufficient, and masculine identities that I thought were required for handling the responsibilities of my condition. But I was wrong. The empowerment I’ve experienced from therapy has convinced me that psychological treatment is essential. To increase access to mental health services, I would advocate for policy change. My home state runs a program that covers expenses for vital CF medical treatments. This program could be expanded to support mental health services. I would look for an ally in the state assembly who has encountered CF or has lived with a chronic illness. Mobilizing advocacy agencies to support such a policy expansion seems politically reasonable because it is demonstrably medically necessary and would increase the business of health providers. Such a change would not only support the CF community, but bring our society one step closer towards embracing a holistic culture of well-being.



  • Published six first-authored research papers in top academic journals, 2019-2020
  • Co-authored three research publications and chapters in two books, 2019-2020
  • Served as a co-organizer of a nationwide network of scholars who partner with schools and educational organizations, 2019-2020
  • Awarded a grant from the campus diversity office to conduct research that supports marginalized youth, 2020
  • Held a position as a visiting scholar at the community engagement center of the University of Colorado, Boulder, 2018
  • Received a Community Engagement Fellowship to conduct research with a local low-income high school, 2018-2019
  • Hiked to Mt. Everest base camp, 2017
  • Awarded the University of California Provost Fellowship (given to the top 5 percent of Ph.D. students), 2016
  • Selected as graduation speaker by the students of Idyllwild Arts Academy, 2016
  • Founded and managed the Global Arts, Action, and Social Entrepreneurship Program at Idyllwild Arts Academy, 2016