Meet the 2021 Scholars

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

Melissa W.

Undergraduate Recipient

"Living through a global pandemic with a chronic illness, what is one piece of inspirational advice that you would give to other students with CF who are in the same or similar position?"

Living through a global pandemic with a chronic illness is a situation that you only typically see in movies. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of strain on those with chronic illnesses, especially ones that affect the lungs. For those first few months, we felt disposable, as people would tell us to "stay home if you're so scared." Not being able to have appointments as needed was difficult as well. The best advice that I can give to those with chronic illnesses is to educate others on their resilience and strength. It is so easy to feel sorry for yourself, as you sit scared and alone, worried about a pandemic, but it's what you do with that worry that makes a difference. Take your fear and write about it. Write about what you've overcome, write about the challenges that you face, and write about how you feel. Throughout this pandemic, I have taken this advice to heart as I write and educate others about CF on social media. I even gave presentations at work about the effects of the pandemic on those with chronic illnesses. I can tell that these words have changed how people see me, focusing on my resilience and strength rather than feeling sorry for me. You never know how much your experiences can inspire those around you who may also be struggling. Write about your experiences, and let others step into your world.

Melissa W.'s Artwork

Melissa W.'s Achievements

  • Christopher Newport University 2019 Graduate
  • Christopher Newport University Office of Admission Student Ambassador
  • Gamma Phi Beta REAL Wellness Chairwoman
  • Gamma Phi Beta Sunshine Chairwoman
  • Christopher Newport University Rowing Team Fundraising Chairwoman
  • Midatlantic Erg Sprints Gold Medalist
  • Head of the Lafayette Regatta Gold Medalist
  • United States Department of State Editorial Intern
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency Human Resource Specialist
  • Weiner Roast Fundraiser Leader