Meet the 2022 Scholars

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

Elyse D.

Graduate 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."

Living with Cystic Fibrosis has undoubtedly made my life more interesting. I was diagnosed when I was seven years old, so I learned at an early age just how different I am from my friends and colleagues. Being different, having to do daily breathing treatments, and having to take medicine every time I eat, never made me feel ashamed or embarrassed. I am who I am, and CF is a part of what makes me, me. As I grew up and my life moved forward, I encountered new people in new environments that knew nothing about me. I had opportunities to choose how, when, and even how much of my story I wanted to tell. I never tried to hide my CF from new people, but I never brought it up unless someone else asked. It’s not my go-to conversation starter. When I was younger, I was proud to have CF because it made me different, but there was so much I didn’t understand then. Now, having matured a little, I know ‘proud’ isn’t the right word. I feel lucky. It’s strange to feel lucky to have a life-threatening, incurable disease. I was born with CF; there is nothing I can do to change that, so I feel lucky that I have been so fortunate to be as healthy as I am. I have faced some challenges in my life, and I feel lucky that they have been small enough for me to handle. I feel lucky that I was faced with these challenges, because they helped me grow stronger. I am proud of the person I have become. I earned my bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies after four years of hard work. I have been accepted into graduate school to work towards earning my Masters of Architecture degree. I am working at an amazing firm over the summer. And I have been awarded a graduate assistantship at school where I will be able to help other students navigate through the hardships of college as they work towards their own degrees. When you have so much on your plate, it can be a lot to manage. I had more time to be involved in the CF community when I was younger and did not have to worry much about school and work. I wish I had found a way to stay more involved and dedicate myself to helping others with CF throughout my undergraduate studies, but it didn’t work out that way. In high school, I volunteered my time and roped in a few of my friends to help at our annual Great Strides fundraiser every year. In the future, when there are fewer unknowns and surprises in my career, I want to get more involved again. I have a great number of people supporting me in my life and my future. I know that no matter where I go, my family and the other members of the CF community will always be there to catch me when I fall

Elyse D.'s Artwork

Elyse D.'s Achievements

  • Full-Time Architectural Intern Summer 2022
  • Graduate Assistant Fall 2022-Fall 2023
  • Magna Cum Laude Graduate Spring 2022
  • Part-Time Painting With a Twist Artist Instructor Spring 2019-Present
  • Member of American Institute of Architecture Students Spring 2019-Present
  • National Society of Leadership and Success Inducted Member Spring 2019-Present
  • Peer Mentor Fall 2019-Fall 2021
  • Great Strides Louisiana Ambassador 2019
  • Ricky Briggs Fighting Spirit Award Recipient 2018