Meet the 2017 Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship Recipients

June 15, 2017

Project Sleep is proud to announce the 11 recipients of the 2017 Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship, a national scholarship program supporting students with narcolepsy while also raising narcolepsy awareness in high school and college settings. In just four years, the program has awarded 36 scholarships of $1,000 each to 36 students with narcolepsy entering college.

4
Years
36
Scholarships
$36,000
Given Out
This year, we received applications from 45 courageous students living with narcolepsy, a neurological disorder affecting 1 in 2,000 people worldwide. Symptoms include excessive sleepiness, cataplexy (sudden muscle paralysis triggered by emotions), sleep paralysis and frightening hallucinations while falling asleep or waking up.

To help fundraise, Project Sleep’s founder and president, Julie Flygare took on a grueling marathon – raising over $3,000 for the scholarship and gaining national media attention via CNN’s Runner: Having narcolepsy is harder than a marathon. In addition, a wonderful $5,000 charitable contribution from Jazz Pharmaceuticals provided vital funding for this year’s program.

“When the Graham family and I founded the program four years ago, we planned to give one scholarship each year,” describes Flygare. “The fact that so many caring individuals, families, and corporations including Jazz have joined us to make a positive impact on so many more students with narcolepsy – it’s a dream come true and an honor to share the 2017 recipients with you today.”

Meet the 2017 Recipients:

Cassandra Stewart

Nitro, WV

Cassandra was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy at age 5. Since then, her family and teachers have strived to provide a positive and efficient atmosphere for a great learning environment. Cassandra graduated in the top 25 of her class and will be attending West Virginia University in the fall, majoring in Fashion, Dress and Merchandising.

Zachary Marcha

Clyde, OH

Zachary was diagnosed with narcolepsy in August of 2015, but had symptoms long before that. Zachary has participated in various activities including golf and running track. He also enjoys snowboarding and watching movies. In the fall, he plans to attend Ohio University to major in biology, and he hopes to eventually go on to medical school.

 

Christian Goduti

Huntersville, NC

Christian was diagnosed with narcolepsy as a sophomore in high school, after years of searching and countless doctors visits. Since his diagnosis, Christian has continued to be active in varsity soccer, golf, youth ministry, and many community organizations. Narcolepsy has not defined who Christian is and he will be attending the Seminary in the fall of 2017 at Belmont Abbey College.

 

Stephanie Sydney

Bowie, MD

Stephanie was diagnosed with narcolepsy around age 13. She will attend University of Maryland: Baltimore starting this fall, with plans to major in graphic design because she loves art, especially digital art, sketching and painting.

 
 

Ebonia Moody

Colts Neck, NJ

Ebonia was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy when she was 10 years old. The past eight years have been hard with medicine losing effectiveness over time. In high school, Ebonia has participated in concert band, marching band, pit band and step team. She is section leader of marching and concert band and was step team captain her junior year. Band is an outlet and passion for Ebonia and she hopes to continue it in the fall at Syracuse University as well as majoring in architecture.

Sam de Jesus

Sterling Heights, MI

Sam was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy at age 10. For high school, he attended the Utica Academy for International Studies, where he marched in the band, was on the build team of a FIRST Robotics team, played ultimate frisbee, and learned to play several instruments. Sam will attend the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in the fall, and plans to march in the Minutemen marching band.

Jenna Huskey

Sevierville, TN

Jenna was diagnosed with narcolepsy her junior year of high school nearly 10 years after first experiencing symptoms. She now strives to raise awareness for narcolepsy by serving as a Youth Ambassador for the Narcolepsy Network. She graduated this year with honors in the top 5% of her class. She is passionate about naps, music, the outdoors, her 1948 Ford pickup truck, and helping others. Jenna will attend the University of Tennessee this fall as a part of the Honors program. She is majoring in sociology in preparation to become an occupational therapist.  

 

Mikelle Rogers

Tooele, UT

Mikelle was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy at age 16, after struggling with symptoms for two years. In high school, she took AP classes, maintained a 4.0 GPA, ran varsity cross country and track, was a member and the accompanist of the Show Choir and served on the Seminary Council. Mikelle’s diagnosis has allowed her to sympathize with others who have disabilities. She plans to study applied mathematics at Brigham Young University, Provo and eventually pursue a graduate degree that will help research involving narcolepsy.

Jessica Zhang

Morristown, NJ

Jessica was diagnosed with narcolepsy in sixth grade when she started falling asleep in her favorite class, math. Outside of school, Jessica enjoys baking, cooking, spending time with her younger brother, and getting involved in her community through her local 4-H club. She looks forward to studying biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.

Jordan Geyer

Gladstone, MI

Jordan was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy during her junior year of high school. Despite her diagnosis, Jordan participated in her school’s theatre program, honors choir, chorale, marching Band, and book club. She was the president of her school’s National Honor Society and spent much of her time volunteering. This fall, Jordan plans to study Paramedic Technology at Lake Superior State University.

 

Jillian Neff

Waitsfield, VT

Jillian first started having symptoms of narcolepsy with cataplexy in 6th grade, but was only officially diagnosed four years later in her sophomore year. In high school, Jillian participated in STEM clubs and played softball while taking numerous honors and advanced placement classes. In the fall, she plans to study biochemistry with a pre-med track at the University of Vermont. Her hope for the future is to work in medical research, finding possible treatments for incurable diseases and disorders.

Supporting big dreams:

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Please share this post to congratulate the scholarship recipients and raise critical awareness of narcolepsy today!