Meet the 2021 Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship Recipients

Photo collage of the 2021 Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship recipients

Project Sleep is proud to introduce the 31 recipients of the 2021 Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship program. This is the largest class of recipients to date, with each student receiving $1,000 towards their college education. In eight years, the scholarship program has now awarded a total of 126 scholarships to 126 students, totaling $126,000.

“With all the challenges we have collectively faced this year, it means so much to be able to recognize and celebrate the achievements of students living with under-recognized sleep conditions,” describes Julie Flygare, J.D., President & CEO at Project Sleep. “The 2021 recipients have demonstrated strength and resilience, and we are proud to support them in furthering their education as they take on college this fall.”

This year, the very strong group of applicants included 79 students from 29 states. The 31 recipients represent 19 states, and include 28 students with narcolepsy and three students with idiopathic hypersomnia.

The Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship was co-founded by Flygare and the Graham family as the first national scholarship program of its kind in 2014. In addition to supporting the educational aspirations of students with narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia, the program shines light on serious but often overlooked sleep conditions and fosters community.

“Low public awareness of narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia leads to long delays in proper detection and diagnosis, along with high levels of stigma and isolation,” said Flygare. “This diverse group of determined young adults reminds us that we can adapt to changing times while persisting in our vision of a brighter future.”

Meet the 2021 Narcolepsy Scholarship Recipients

Alyssa

Bergenfield, NJ

Alyssa was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in fifth grade. Although living with narcolepsy is one of the hardest things she has experienced, it has made her the strong, resilient person she is today. She loves playing the violin, and was Concert Master of her high school’s Honors Symphony Orchestra as well as a Varsity Track team member competing in the shot put event. Alyssa graduated in the top 10 of her high school class, and will attend Fordham University, majoring in biological sciences on the pre-med track.

Alyssa

Newport News, VA

Alyssa was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy during her sophomore year of high school. After finding the right medication she became involved in school activities such as the National Honor Society, Science Honor Society, and Spanish Honor Society. She also served as class vice president for all four years of high school. In her free time, she paints, reads or works out. This fall, Alyssa will attend Washington and Lee University to major in math or biology in the pre-med course. Her dream is to become a doctor.

Amber

Weston, FL

Amber was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in her freshman year of high school after struggling with symptoms since fifth grade. She has learned to prioritize self care so she can manage her symptoms, love herself, and enjoy her favorite pastimes of traveling internationally and collecting crystals. She will attend the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg this fall, where she plans to study environmental and health sciences.

Anjana

Dayton, OH

Anjana was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy at the beginning of her junior year. Throughout high school, she played on the varsity tennis team, served as the president of Interact Club, worked at a local pizza restaurant, and spent time volunteering with the park district. Anjana also enjoys playing guitar and being outside. She will attend the Ohio State University this fall, and plans to major in neuroscience and minor in philosophy and French. She hopes to work with Doctors Without Borders in the future.

Audrey

West Linn, OR

Audrey was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in her junior year of high school, but can remember experiencing symptoms as far back as middle school. During high school, she participated in varsity dance, and her biggest hobbies are painting and drawing, for which she has received multiple awards. She loves traveling and exploring different cultures. In the fall, she will attend Oregon State University to major in environmental engineering. She has always been passionate about sustainability and hopes her future career will benefit the environment.

Audrey

Cincinnati, OH

Since being diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy, Audrey has learned how to schedule her days in a way that works best for her and allows her to enjoy life. She has come to realize that balance is everything when living with narcolepsy. One of her favorite things to do is go to the gym and lift weights, because it lets her forget about everything else and always gives her a burst of energy. This fall, she will attend the University of Richmond, to study biology.

Bailey

Oak Ridge, MO

Bailey was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy in the fifth grade after experiencing symptoms for a year. In high school, she was on the volleyball, cheer, cross country, and softball varsity teams. She was also a member of multiple clubs including student council and the National Honor Society. She was salutatorian of her class, graduating as part of the top 10% in the state. This fall, she will attend the University of Tennessee-Martin to pursue a degree in mechatronic engineering.

Benjamin

Herriman, UT

Benjamin was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy when he was 8 years old and has been battling the symptoms ever since. While in high school, he was a member of the National Honor Society and competed in Future Business Leaders of America at the state and national level. He took numerous college and AP courses and graduated second in his class as salutatorian. His hobbies include welding, programming, building things, learning about cars and engines, and spending time with friends. Benjamin will attend Snow College to pursue a degree in computer science.

Brandon

Lithia Springs, GA

Brandon was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy at the beginning of his senior year of high school after experiencing symptoms since 7th grade. He was a member of the swim team in his first two years of high school, and participated in wrestling during his junior year. His favorite pastime is playing video games. Brandon will attend Kennesaw State University this fall to major in mechanical engineering, his intended future career field.

Brynnlee

Spiceland, IN

Brynnlee was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy when she was 7 years old. In high school, she was a varsity tennis player, student body president, National Honor Society vice president, and class treasurer. She graduated as valedictorian and received additional academic and leadership awards. Brynnlee enjoys volunteering at a local hospital, playing tennis, and traveling. She will attend Purdue University to major in pharmaceutical sciences and minor in business economics, with hopes of attending medical school to become a pediatric anesthesiologist.

Cassidy

Manchester, KY

Cassidy has had narcolepsy with cataplexy since she was 8 years old. She credits her achievements as class valedictorian and ability to stay awake during AP courses to her determination and faith in God. Cassidy was the lighting technician for her high school’s theatre group and is active in her church youth group. Her hobbies include making puzzles and crafting, and she is a huge fan of anime, Star Wars, and the Legend of Zelda. She will attend the University of Kentucky in the fall, where she will major in computer science.

Emerence

Hanover, MA

Emerence was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia at the beginning of her senior year of high school after years of symptoms paired with chronic headaches. Despite these challenges, she took AP and honors courses as a senior, played trumpet in her school’s marching and concert bands as well as the brass choir and wind ensemble, competed in local and varsity softball, and tutors younger students in math. She earned her blackbelt in karate at age 10 and enjoys horseback riding. She is looking forward to attending Virginia Tech in the fall, and has interests in Spanish, math, psychology and anthropology.

Emma

Festus, MO

Emma was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy in the spring of her sophomore year. She struggled with her symptoms, finding the right medications, and learning strategies to excel in school and life. Despite these challenges, she was a varsity athlete in cross country and track and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She is very passionate about learning and will attend Southeast Missouri State University in the fall. She plans to major in environmental science, with the hope of building a career in research to help preserve the Earth and life around us.

Garrett

Akron, OH

Garrett was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy in his junior year of high school, after many years of struggling to stay awake in school. His favorite hobbies are skiing and going to the gym. He will attend the University of Alabama in the fall, majoring in chemical engineering, and has been accepted into the STEM path to MBA program.

Jada

Cincinnati, OH

Jada was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy at the beginning of high school after experiencing symptoms since middle school. Her symptoms made it difficult to stay awake in classes and participate in activities, but she is proud of the hard work she did to graduate. She loves to watch movies and TV series, spend time with friends and family, and play her Sims video game. Because of her narcolepsy journey, Jada understands the importance of mental health. She will attend the University of Cincinnati, where her goal is to find a field she is passionate about that will enable her to contribute to the mental health community.

Kamille

Collierville, TN

After experiencing symptoms for two years, Kamille was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy when she was 16. Throughout high school, she was president of the speech and debate team and a senator in student government, participated in various clubs, worked part time at a local candy store, and discovered her passion for writing music. Kamille will attend Middle Tennessee State University, majoring in music industry with a focus in commercial songwriting.

Katie

Haverhill, MA

Katie was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia in her freshman year of high school after a year of experiencing symptoms. The challenges she has faced have made her stronger and more determined, and she participated in her high school’s dual enrollment program, graduating in the top 5% of her class. This fall, Katie will attend Florida Southern College and will pursue a degree in nursing. Her dream is to become an emergency department nurse.

Kelly

Edmonton, KY

Kelly was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy the summer before sixth grade, after struggling to find answers since second grade. She had a hard time accepting this diagnosis, and still struggles sometimes with knowing she has narcolepsy. Despite this, Kelly has maintained excellent grades in AP and dual credit classes. She enjoys farming, taking care of children, cooking, photography, and making others happy. She will attend Western Kentucky University and plans to major in exercise science in hopes of becoming an occupational therapist for children with disabilities.

Krissy

Indianapolis, IN

Krissy was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia in her freshman year of high school. While working to find a treatment plan, she maintained a busy schedule with multiple AP classes and extracurricular activities. In high school, Krissy was a section leader in the women’s show choir, captain of the varsity academic team, and co-managing editor of her school’s newsmagazine. In the fall, Krissy will attend Indiana University to major in journalism and minor in political science. She dreams of working for a major news publication and traveling the world.

Kyrin

Arlington, TX

Kyrin was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy in first grade after his teacher reported to his mother that he had been sleeping often in class. Having narcolepsy hasn’t stopped him from living and loving his life, it only altered it and made him adapt to a slightly new way of living. Kyrin loves playing and watching sports, being in church, and learning about God. He plans to study marketing at Texas Tech University this fall, and hopes to build a career in marketing for sports teams or athletic equipment.

Lydia

Saraland, AL

Lydia was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in ninth grade after struggling with symptoms since fourth grade. Throughout school, she remained engaged in many extracurricular activities, clubs, and all honors classes, maintained her place on the honor roll and involvement in church. Lydia was a varsity cheerleader and an officer and representative of her class since middle school. She has many interests including journalism, photography, biology, fashion, psychology, and cinematography. She will attend Lipscomb University, pursuing a major in fashion merchandising and minor in advertising.

Madalyn

Cedar Rapids, IA

Madalyn was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy during her sophomore year. Since her diagnosis, she has managed some of her symptoms with medications and lifestyle changes. Throughout high school, Madalyn participated in dance, choir, Amnesty International, Rotary Club, and literary magazines. She enjoys reading, sewing, and thrifting. This fall, she will attend the University of Maryland at College Park to study psychology in hopes of becoming a developmental psychologist.

Marlo

Rochester, MN

Marlo was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in third grade after her parents and teachers noticed her constant sleepiness, fatigue, and declining grades and attention span. Throughout high school, she participated in drama club, Mayo debate team, Key Club International, and the diversity committee, and had a part-time job at a local coffee shop. Marlo will attend Howard University, pursuing a degree in political science. She knows her narcolepsy will always be a challenge, but will never let it hold her back.

Micah

Parker, CO

After seven years of trying to cope with symptoms, Micah was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in his junior year of high school. Even before diagnosis, he always made a concentrated effort to try new things. He has enjoyed participating in Boy Scouts, volunteering, swim team, and cross country. His long and difficult narcolepsy journey inspired Micah to go into the medical field, and he will attend Creighton University in hopes of pursuing a medical career.

Miles

Evansville, WI

Miles was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in his junior year of high school after dealing with sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome in middle school and early high school. He found a love for agriculture while showing livestock at his county fair and other open shows. This fall, Miles will attend University of Wisconsin-Madison to study genetics and genomics, with aspirations to build a career in agriculture, horticulture, or healthcare.

Olivia

Erie, CO

Olivia was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy the summer before her sophomore year of high school. Determined not to let this hold her back, she continued to take AP classes, joined the swim team, and played in the pit orchestra. She finished in the top 10% of her class. She loves art, gardening, hiking, and hanging out with friends and family. Olivia will attend Grand Canyon University to study graphic design. She is excited to use design to make an impact in the world.

Porsha

Defiance, OH

Porsha was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia during her senior year, after having symptoms for as long as she can remember. She graduated with honors in the top 10% of her class, was a historian of the National Honor Society, and a member of the National Society of High School Scholars. Porsha was also a competitive baton twirler and marching band captain, and played volleyball, softball, and tennis. She will attend Purdue University to major in science education and English education, toward becoming a high school physics or English teacher.

Quentin

Valrico, FL

Quentin was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy in fourth grade. Despite the challenges of living with narcolepsy, he was inducted into the National Honor Society during his sophomore year and maintained honor roll status while playing basketball all four years of high school. He was a member of Future Business Leaders of America, Mu Alpha Theta, and Special Olympics, has completed over 100 hours of volunteer service, and has received multiple awards for his outstanding academic achievements. This fall, he will attend the University of North Florida and major in accounting. He aspires to become a corporate CFO, serve as a leader in his community, and mentor student athletes.

Spencer

Watkinsville, GA

Spencer was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in fourth grade. He has had ups and downs trying to balance his symptoms, but has found a medication regimen that allows him more flexibility and freedom. In high school he was a Future Farmers of America officer for two years, competed on a shooting team, and fished on the high school bass team as a two-time state classic qualifier. He enjoys fishing, hunting, and woodworking. Spencer will attend Emmanuel College to study agriculture business. He hopes to one day open his own welding and fabrication company.

Schuyler

Perrysville, OH

Schuyler was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in her junior year of high school after struggling with symptoms and trying to hide them for years. She has remained determined to succeed and graduated at the top of her class as valedictorian. Throughout high school, Schuyler was involved in the bands and choirs at her school, the National Honor Society, drama club, community theatre, and dance, and served as a class officer. She loves to crochet, read, play piano, and take naps. Schuyler will attend the University of Mount Union to double major in music and theatre. Her ultimate goal is a career as a performer.

Tyler

Williamsport, PA

Tyler was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy at the end of his sophomore year. Medication prescribed immediately improved his sleepiness and energy. Tyler played three years of varsity basketball and four years of varsity soccer during high school. He was also a member of the men’s acapella group, Future Business Leaders of America, and the National Honor Society. He will attend Wake Forest University in the fall to major in business management.

Your Generosity Makes an Impact

Your donations and fundraising efforts throughout the year help to fund this annual scholarship program. In addition, special thanks to Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Harmony Biosciences, LLC for generous contributions to support the 2021 narcolepsy scholarship program. 

“This is a team effort,” said Flygare. “We are extremely grateful to our entire community for rallying together to empower students toward achieving their goals.”

About Narcolepsy and Idiopathic Hypersomnia

Narcolepsy is a neurological condition affecting 1 in 2,000 people worldwide. Symptoms include excessive sleepiness, cataplexy (sudden muscle weakness triggered by emotions), sleep paralysis, and frightening hallucinations while falling asleep or waking up. Idiopathic Hypersomnia (IH) is a chronic neurological disorder marked by an insatiable need to sleep that is not eased by a full night’s slumber.

Let’s Build A Brighter Future

Stories are powerful educational tools. Help us combat low awareness by sharing these 2021 narcolepsy scholarship profiles. Project Sleep is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so thoughtful individuals making tax-deductible gifts go far to advance our programs including the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship. Make a gift today.

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Vonna Rose Harrison
    June 21, 2021 8:54 pm

    Congratulations to my great niece Brynnlee! So very proud of her accomplishments and raising awareness of narcolepsy. #proudgreatauntiev

    Reply

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