Meet the 2022 Scholars

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

Connor P.

Undergraduate Recipient

"2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the AbbVie CF Scholarship. As we celebrate this milestone, we look forward to continuing to recognize more students pursing their educational goals. Please share your future ambitions in the Cystic Fibrosis community, professionally and personally."

As someone with cystic fibrosis I have made it my goal to never let my limitations define me. While often the phrase “oh i thought you were normal” and similar phrases can be quite insensitive there is a part of me that takes pride in rejecting that approval. Because I am not normal, I am not like “everyone else”. Firstly the word normal is highly subjective, furthermore I am not “normal” I have unique struggles that only a small percentage of the population can relate to. Few people know what the disease is and many of those who know it vaguely from biology class. Oftentimes when people learn I have this disease they feel pity but they show pity I don't want. I am alive and doing what I can because of the opportunities I was afforded and what I chose to do with those opportunities and I have no intention of slowing down anytime soon. From being a triathlete as a small child to being a captain of my mountain biking team in high school to being the ethics advisor in my schools model United Nations and debate club. I have always made it my goal to rise above my struggles and let my perseverance and ambition show my worth and value. However, I try to acknowledge that others with cystic fibrosis may have more struggles than I do which has brewed a strong sense of empathy and compassion within me. Going forward in my personal and professional career I would like to work in law. Specifically, be a public defender to help those that cannot afford help from a high profile firm lawyer. Part of what led me into wanting to pursue a career in law was philosophy. Along with having a chronic illness that is trying its hardest to shorten my life comes a toll very few talk about. An existentialist toll. Too many times have I been asked the question, “How do you get out of bed in the morning knowing that you will have to deal with your disease” or been told, “you're an inspiration” for simply being alive. I know oftentimes those that pose those questions and comments may have the best intentions and may truly believe that those with a chronic illness are inspirational but the more I get told that my story is inspirational the more I fear it is patronizing me. These thoughts led me to existentialist philosophy and the search for the meaning of life. Therefore in my personal life I would like to explore more of who I am outside of my illness and explore life with a chronic illness through a philosophical eye. I want to be inspirational not because of my disease but because of my accomplishments.

Connor P.'s Artwork

Connor P.'s Achievements

  • Cactus Shadows Model United Nations Officer and treasurer (2021-2022)
  • Cactus Shadows Mountain Biking Team Captain (2021-2022)
  • AP Scholar
  • Cystic Fibrosis Ambassador
  • AP Capstone Recipient
  • Helped Coach Elementary school and Middle school kids on how to bike. (2018-2019)
  • Ethics Advisor for Model United Nations as our club participated in an ethics forum.
  • Worked at Oregano's Pizza Bistro as a dishwasher, was later promoted to line cook.
  • Raced for the cactus shadows mountain biking team (2018-2022)