Announcing our 2012 Hydrocephalus Association Scholarship Recipients!

We are pleased to announce the 2012 Hydrocephalus Association Scholarship Recipients. The scholarship program marks its 18th year and we are very proud to honor these amazing young adults. Despite the challenges and obstacles of having hydrocephalus, these future young leaders of our community are able to further their education, help their community and inspire their peers.

These scholarships were funded by two Gerard Swartz Fudge Memorial Scholarship Funds, two Morris L. and Rebecca Ziskind Memorial Scholarship Funds, two Anthony Abbene Scholarship Funds, the Justin Scot Alston Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Mario J. Tocco Hydrocephalus Foundation Scholarship Fund, and the Giavanna Marie Melomo Memorial Scholarship Fund.

We are very grateful to all the funders and the Scholarship Committee for all their support and dedication.

Congratulations 2012 Scholarship Recipients!!!


linsays pictureLindsey Pamlanye – Ronkonkoma, NY
Recipient of the Giavanna Marie Melomo Memorial Scholarship Fund

Lindsey is attending Manhattan College where she is majoring in Secondary Education with a concentration in English. She aspires to be an English teacher and plans on furthering her education by receiving a Master’s degree in British Literature.

Volunteering has always been a part of Lindsey’s life. She has volunteered at a local community center tutoring students and also took part in a program called, College Advantage: which motivates inner-city high school students to not only graduate high school but also assists them with the college application process.  Her passion to become a teacher stems from the learning difficulties she had to overcome in school. Although hydrocephalus has given Lindsey her fair share of challenges, failure has never been an option.  As she states: “People with hydrocephalus are not weak. Hydrocephalus does not defeat you…”  She believes it is crucial to spread the word and help raise awareness for the cause… “I believe that getting awareness out, as well as reaching out to others who are in my situation is a strong way I can help others with hydrocephalus and I will continue to do so.” Lindsey’s positive outlook on life is truly inspiring.

Ashleys pictureAshley Reber – Roanoke Rapids, NC
Recipient of one of the Anthony Abbene Scholarship Funds

Ashley Reber has a degree in Criminal Justice, loves studying languages, and enjoys dancing and swimming.  Due to hydrocephalus, Ashley has endured numerous surgeries, undergone years of occupational and physical therapy, and had to relearn how to walk and write. Despite the obstacles, she continues to show courage in the face of adversity. Ashley has been an asset to local communities. Over the course of a year, she spent time working with homeless felons, families, and veterans at a shelter in Texas and was involved with the Texas Coalition against the Death Penalty. Ashley wants to make a difference in the hydrocephalus community by starting a regional support group for HA and one day, she hopes to launch her own non-profit that would help cover the cost of surgeries and co-pays for individuals living with hydrocephalus.  Ashley recently underwent another shunt revision but is determined to go back to school to attain a degree in Spanish and Business Administration.

Elizabeths pictureElizabeth Ann Norris – Lenoir, NC
Recipient of the Mario J. Tocco Hydrocephalus Foundation Scholarship Fund

Elizabeth Ann Norris is finishing her junior year at Lenoir Rhyn University and is in the process of declaring a major in Human and Community Service. Elizabeth’s free time is spent volunteering at local groups throughout the community; events she has participated in have included: Stop Hunger Now, Post Office Food Drive, and Yokefellow.  She serves on the Youth and Family Committee, Christian Education, and is a Youth Adult Resource Person for the ELCA Lutheran Church in North Carolina. Diagnosed with hydrocephalus at 4 weeks of age, the condition has taught her to listen to others and to become an advocate for her health care and for the cause. Elizabeth states:  “Hydrocephalus is more common than many realize and should not be used as an isolation feeling.  I want to inform not only those with hydrocephalus but also those that know what it is and those that have no clue.  It is those that have no clue, who can possibly change the research and investments of hydrocephalus improvements.”

Elizabeth has been a member of the Hydrocephalus Association since 2008, takes part in HA’s WALK Events, and even started the first support group for HA in Charlotte, NC.

Davids pictureDavid Creighton – Highland, UT
Recipient of one the Gerard Swartz Fudge Memorial Scholarship Funds

David Creighton has been accepted to Brigham Young University Idaho and will begin classes in January 2013. David is interested in majoring in foreign languages, science, engineering, or teaching and has a strong desire to obtain a master’s degree in language or linguistics. He takes pleasure in outdoor activities, which include camping, hiking, and running long distances through the mountains. David also enjoys wood carving playing the trombone and reading. David endures headaches, seizures and has undergone multiple surgeries. Complications during a shunt revision resulted in a brain bleed and left David partially blind in both eyes.  As a result, David is not able to drive, but this didn’t stop him from trying in his other endeavors.  Here is David in his own words: “Not being able to drive has made things very difficult because I have to depend on my parents and friends for everything. It has made it more difficult to succeed in school because I can’t see as well as most. But it hasn’t stopped me from working hard.”

Mollys pictureMolly Fuchs – St. Louis, MO
Recipient of the Justin Scot Alston Memorial Scholarship Fund

Molly Fuchs is a creative young woman who is currently a student at St. Louis University. She plans on finishing undergraduate school with a B.A. in Biology and a minor in Spanish. Molly has spent many hours volunteering at St. Louis Children’s Hospital where she works with children who are battling hydrocephalus. She aspires to work as a physician’s assistant so that she can comfort, encourage and reach even more children undergoing treatment for hydrocephalus. It might be a long shot, but Molly dreams big and hopes to one day be a contestant on Jeopardy. “First thing on my bucket list: be a participant on Jeopardy. It’s definitely a long shot, but so is living 20 years without complications from hydrocephalus.” Other people in Molly’s position might give up, but defeat is not an option for her. “I don’t take no for an answer. Tell me I can’t do something and I will prove you wrong. Nothing can stop me, not even hydrocephalus.”

Marys pictureMary Conyard – Bellevue, WA
Recipient of the Morris L. and Rebecca Ziskind Memorial Scholarship Funds

Mary Conyard will be a student at Gonzaga University and is currently exploring the field of education while she interns for a third-grade class. She is fond of photography and has taken several courses to further advance her skills in the field.  Even though Mary has had to deal with debilitating headaches she is a determined young adult who is extremely devoted to her volunteer work. Mary has been a part of a leadership committee, was selected to attend Invisible Children’s Leadership Conference, the 4th Estate, and for the past five years Mary has volunteered for the Hydrocephalus Research Guild of Seattle Children’s Hospital where did she prep work for auctions and babysat children with hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus can be challenging, but Mary continues to look on the bright side … “One of the best parts about having hydrocephalus is that it makes for an excellent essay, whether it is for English class, college applications, or scholarships! Having hydrocephalus has also helped me realize the importance of having a good sense of humor.”

Carlys pictureCarly Bowles – Estes Park, CO
Recipient of one of the Anthony Abbene Scholarship Funds

Carly Bowles will be entering her freshman year of college at the University of Northern Colorado where she plans to pursue a career in nursing. A young adult with a vibrant personality, Carly finds joy in making others laugh, the color periwinkle, and chocolate cupcakes. Carly states, “For me, life is an adventure.  Whether I am catching a wave off the coast of North Carolina at surf camp or standing in amazement at the bottom of the Roman coliseum. I truly believe in living life with passion.” Throughout high school, she worked to improve school climate through the student council, coordinated blood drives with FCCLA, and worked with the Interact Group to better the lives of individuals in her local community and other countries. When the Sister Cities Organization chose Carly as an ambassador, she was given the opportunity to travel and live with a family in Costa Rica, participate in service projects in schools and on reserves, and gave presentations about her community. In 2008, she was awarded the Estes Park Pride Award for Volunteer of the Year and last summer she received a Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA). When asked how hydrocephalus impacted her life, Carly said: “Hydrocephalus does not have the power to define me. I have the power to define Hydrocephalus. … most importantly Hydrocephalus has impacted me as a person. It has taught me understanding and patience with others and myself.”

Amandas pictureAmanda Breem – Denville, NJ
Recipient of one of the Morris L. and Rebecca Ziskind Memorial Scholarship Funds

Amanda has been accepted to Montclair State University and is waiting for a decision from Thomas Jefferson Medical University in Philadelphia to pursue a career in occupational therapy. In her sophomore year, Amanda had five surgeries but that didn’t deter her from continuing school.  In her senior year, she became president of Circle Club and she continued to run meetings during and after school.  Amanda likes to spread the word about hydrocephalus in her community and help others affected by hydrocephalus. She volunteers at the hospital. She makes blankets and other crafts for others in the hospital. For years Amanda and her family searched for an answer to her symptoms, anxiety, dizziness, nausea, irritability, headaches, her playdates were cut short … “I couldn’t last at a friend’s house for a play date, couldn’t last recess, couldn’t make it through going out to dinner with the family and list goes on” Hydrocephalus has impacted her life and her family’s as well. Hydrocephalus has made her care about much more important things in life. It’s made her see that life is a gift and plans to share her gifts with people in need.

Maria's pictureMaria Wiggins – Littleton, CO
Recipient of one of the Gerard Swartz Fudge Memorial Scholarship Funds

Maria is currently a sophomore at Colorado State University-Pueblo.  Her goal is to work on a degree in Business Sports Management.  Her dream job is to work for a professional football team and organize events and fundraising. In school, Maria had difficulties with cognitive and abstract thinking. Mathematics has been challenging.  Feeling different was not a strange concept for her. During grade school, she couldn’t participate in many activities with the rest of her friends because of her hydrocephalus.  Maria had to go through very difficult surgeries that left her with cranial nerve damage to her eyes.  The one thing she misses most is having a driver’s license.  Without a driver’s license, she feels a bit of her independence is taken away from her.   Through it all, Maria likes meeting other individuals and families dealing with hydrocephalus. She listens to their stories, encourages them and lets them know that they are not alone, and even letting them know about available resources.  Maria is no stranger to the hydrocephalus community. She has attended two national conferences and volunteered at the Denver Hydrocephalus WALK.  When asked about Living with hydrocephalus, Maria states: “I feel like living with hydrocephalus has taught me a lot about life. I have a deeper appreciation and empathy for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities.”

Congratulations to all of our Awardees and Finalists! You inspire us all!