Meet the 2023 Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship Recipients

As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship, Project Sleep is honored to introduce the 35 recipients of the 2023 award. This is our largest group of scholarship recipients to date, each of whom will receive $1,000 toward their college education. In 10 years, the scholarship program has now awarded a total of 191 scholarships to 191 students, totaling $191,000.

“Our hearts are overflowing with pride and gratitude for the incredible generosity of the sleep community. With their support the narcolepsy scholarship program has continued to grow, and this is our biggest year yet. Looking back on where we started with two awardees in the first year, we can hardly believe how far the Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship has come,” says Julie Flygare, J.D., President & CEO at Project Sleep. “It is a joy and an honor to award this scholarship in celebration of the achievements of these students, who are excelling while living with under-recognized sleep conditions. We are inspired by the resilience and dedication of the 2023 recipients, and proud to support them as they pursue their dreams in college this fall.”

This year’s very strong group of applicants included 60 students from 28 states. The 35 recipients represent 21 states and include 30 students with narcolepsy and five students with idiopathic hypersomnia. Project Sleep is proud to partner with the Hypersomnia Foundation, whose generous support funded scholarships for our five recipients 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. “We are showing these determined young adults that they have a whole community cheering them on as they build the bright futures they deserve.”

Meet the 2023 Narcolepsy Scholarship Recipients


Lansing, KS

Abigail was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia the summer before her senior year. While her life is forever changed by IH, her journey teaches her the power of resilience. She participated in many clubs and organizations in high school, including Student Council and Interact Club. She enjoys volunteering in her community and works at a local bakery and cafe. Abigail loves photography, being outdoors, sports, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. She plans to major in earth and climate science at Duke University.


Chattanooga, TN

Alexis was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia in her senior year of high school after struggling with symptoms since middle school. She is a lifelong dancer and was on the cheer team through high school. She was also an active member of the National Honor Society and the recycling club, and graduated in the top five of her class. Alexis loves to travel, scrapbook, listen to music, and be with friends and family. She will attend the University of Tennessee Knoxville to study business with an interest in pre-law, with hopes to build a company and be the CEO.


Crete, IL

Aminah was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy in third grade. Despite always feeling tired throughout the day, she never lets it stop her from accomplishing her goals. Her faith is a very important part of her journey and she regularly volunteers with her church youth group on service projects. She took AP and Honors courses throughout high school and graduated Summa Cum Laude. Aminah plays the flute and keyboard, and was in the marching and pep bands. She will attend the University of Kansas to study architectural engineering.


Blue Mountain Lake, NY

Anna was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy when she was 11. Growing up in a tiny, remote town was challenging, with long-distance travel to see her sleep specialist while coping with changing symptoms. Despite this, Anna was the captain of her varsity soccer team, President of Student Council, and class Valedictorian. She is also a member of the New York State Governor’s Youth Council, and wants to help others in rural communities who are dealing with hidden disabilities. Anna is very excited to attend Smith College this fall and explore the social sciences.


Ashland, MA

April was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in eighth grade. Despite challenges, she learned to manage her time and develop self-initiative. In high school, she was an editor-in-chief of the Yearbook Club, treasurer of the Leos Club, and a member of the Robotics Club, Student Council, and National Honors Society. She enjoys reading, crocheting, and playing volleyball. April will attend Cornell University, majoring in Materials Science and Engineering.


Tucson, AZ

Brayden was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy as a senior in high school after battling intense fatigue for years. He stayed involved in the community by becoming a member of the National Honors Society and Key Club. He was a three-year varsity quarterback and two-year varsity setter, and his volleyball team won a state championship in his junior year. Brayden plays sports in his free time and loves hanging out with friends and family. He will attend Brigham Young University, and plans to major in exercise science with a minor in business.


Canonsburg, PA

Briella learned how to live with idiopathic hypersomnia and chronic migraines in high school, while taking rigorous classes and leading her school’s debate and Model United Nations teams. She loves volunteering with kids through tutoring and working as a camp counselor. Her passion for learning and personal experiences led her to pursue a degree in neuroscience and behavioral biology on a pre-medical track at Emory University.


Uniontown, OH

Casey was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy the summer before senior year. She believes that persevering through the difficulties of narcolepsy empowered her to pursue her interests with greater vigor. During high school, she participated in her school’s string orchestra, served as a member of the National Honor Society, and helped found a digital news club. Casey graduated summa cum laude and was her class Valedictorian. In the fall, she will attend Vanderbilt University.


Brighton, MI

Colin has battled narcolepsy with cataplexy since his diagnosis in fifth grade. His passion is working out and lifting weights, and he enjoys outdoor activities like fishing. Colin will attend Grand Valley State University to pursue a future in business or entrepreneurship.


Jensen Beach, FL

As a high school student living with narcolepsy without cataplexy, Emilia found coping mechanisms to manage her symptoms while still enjoying the little things in life. She played lacrosse all four years of high school, participated in YMCA’s Youth in Government program, and was accepted to the University of Central Florida. Emilia will major in media production and management, with hopes to explore a career in the entertainment industry creating movies and tv shows.


Mason, OH

Evan was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia in the middle of his sophomore year, after undergoing studies to understand why he was fatigued at times that did not make sense. He learned to accept his diagnosis and appreciate it as an explanation for symptoms that might otherwise cause him to be viewed as lazy, unmotivated, or uninterested. He enjoys math, competitive rock climbing, and spending time with friends and family. Evan will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall to study astrophysics.


Hummelstown, PA

Gabby was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy in her junior year. Before her diagnosis, she thought it was normal to be tired all day long. In high school, Gabby participated in many clubs and activities, including band, National Honors Society, and field hockey. She took AP and honors-level courses in high school, and graduated with college credits. Her main hobby is dance, which she hopes to continue in college. Gabby will attend Slippery Rock University in the fall to major in secondary English education and minor in psychology.


Fort Worth, TX

Harlow was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy at 11 years old, just a few months after her symptoms began. Despite all the challenges and setbacks that came with the diagnosis, she believes it made her a better person and shaped who she is today. She is incredibly grateful for her family and their unwavering support, and enjoys reading, painting, K-pop, and of course taking naps. Harlow will attend the University of North Texas where she will double major in interior and graphic design.


Sartell, MN

Jack spent his youth participating in team sports, karate, music, and scouts, and spent his summers at flight and space academies. He dreamed of joining the Air Force and becoming a commercial pilot, until his diagnosis of narcolepsy without cataplexy at 15 made him ineligible for both military and commercial pilot professions. Jack’s passions include music, language, and travel. He is eager to explore new interests and skills at Minnesota State University, Moorhead this fall.


Lakeland, FL

Jackson was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in fifth grade. While his symptoms were challenging to navigate, he succeeded through perseverance, faith, and an amazing support group. In high school, Jackson pursued rigorous AP classes and was on the Academic Team, Senior Justice of the Honor Council, and President of UthMpact. His hobbies include reading, watching and covering football, playing video games, traveling, and hanging with his dog, Cosmo. He will be in the Honors Program at Florida Southern College, majoring in history and pre-med.


Phoenix, AZ

Katerina was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy at 17 after living with symptoms since elementary school. In high school, she swam and played soccer. Katerina will attend Grand Canyon University to study exercise science. She wants to get her doctorate in pediatric occupational therapy, as her passion is helping kids grow.


Albuquerque, NM

Katherine was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy when she was 14 after experiencing symptoms since elementary school. In high school she played varsity volleyball, took AP classes, and participated in the National Honor Society, Student Council, and MESA Club. Her hobbies include art, music, dancing, and fashion. Katherine believes her duty is to help others and is always willing to reach out to those in need. She will attend Haskell Indian Nations University to major in biochemistry and environmental science.


Naples, FL

Leyla was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy the summer before seventh grade. She eventually found solace in having an explanation for her excessive daytime sleepiness, which helped her make lifestyle changes that improved the quality of her sleep and life. She learned to put her faith in God and rely on her community, and continued to excel in school and pursue her passions in dancing and jewelry making. Leyla is fascinated by the functionality and beauty of buildings and will attend Florida International University to study architecture.


Londonderry, NH

Lili was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in her sophomore year of high school. While finding ways to manage her sleepiness, she never lost her optimistic point of view. She participated in Bring Change 2 Mind, National Honor Society, and her school’s gymnastics team. She enjoys reading, teaching gymnastics, and learning everything about the brain. Lili will major in nursing at Endicott College and hopes to become a psychiatrist nurse practitioner.


Elizabeth City, NC

Lucas was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy in seventh grade. Although his symptoms made life more difficult, he didn’t let them stop him from pursuing his goals. In high school, he was a competitive swimmer on two teams, a member of multiple art clubs, in the National Honor Society, and worked as a lifeguard for the last three years. He graduated fourth in his class. This fall, Lucas will attend Old Dominion University to study graphic design.


Revere, MA

Madi was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia during her junior year of high school, after spending years struggling with her sleeping patterns. She enjoys being outside and spending time with friends. Madi will attend Wheaton College and major in nursing.


Bullard, TX

Madison was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy at the end of her sophomore year. She felt relieved to have an explanation for her struggles to stay awake during the day and learned to persevere. During high school, Madison was a part of the National Honor Society and a member of the drill team. In her free time, she loves dancing and spending time with her friends and family. She will attend the University of North Texas as a human resources major.


Yardley, PA

Maggie was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy at 12 years old after feeling symptoms since age 9. She was on her high school’s swim team all four years and was a member of the National Honors Society. Maggie is a lifelong swimmer, and her favorite pastimes are going on the river and hanging out with friends. She likes to raise trees in her backyard and will major in environmental science at Penn State University.


Warner Robins, GA

Matthias was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in ninth grade after dealing with symptoms for several years. With support from his family, he overcame the challenges narcolepsy presented. He graduated third in his class and competed on his high school’s varsity cross country and track teams. Matthias will attend the Georgia Institute of Technology and major in computer science.


Paducah, KY

McKenzie was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy halfway through her junior year. Receiving the diagnosis encouraged her to finish high school strong, and she graduated as a valedictorian. She was an active member in many clubs and organizations and spent over 100 hours volunteering. She loves to bake and decorate cakes and spend time by the pool with her family. McKenzie will attend the University of Louisville to major in dental hygiene on the path to becoming a pediatric dentist. She wants to inspire others to follow their career goals even if they are living with a chronic disorder.


Forsyth, GA

Nolan was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy in the summer before his senior year, after years of symptoms beginning in fifth grade. While his family had assumed he was tired from school and would always be asleep at home, Nolan gained more energy after receiving his narcolepsy diagnosis. He ran track for three years and graduated in the top 5% of his class. His current hobbies include chess and basketball. Nolan will attend the University of Georgia and major in mathematics.


Cypress, TX

Olivia was diagnosed with sleep apnea in her freshman year and narcolepsy without cataplexy in her sophomore year of high school, after experiencing symptoms since age 8. She started dancing in middle school and plans to continue in college. Olivia will attend Baylor University with a double major in human resource management and international business and a minor in corporate communication.


Hartwell, GA

Olivia was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy when she was 15. Living with narcolepsy taught her the importance of taking care of herself in order to function the best she can. Her hobbies are going to the gym, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends. Olivia will attend Augusta University to pursue a degree in nursing. She plans to become a labor and delivery nurse and earn her license to be a nurse practitioner of women’s health.


Dumont, CO

Owen was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy at the age of 10, shortly after his parents noticed a drastic change in his energy levels and behavior. In school he participated in many activities, including chess club, band, and robotics. Outside of school he enjoys snowboarding, playing various instruments, listening to music, and playing video games. Owen’s hard work ethic and passion led him to graduate with honors. He will attend Western Colorado University this fall to study computer science and hopes to work in the space sciences industry.


Apopka, FL

Rebecca was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in eighth grade. Even though she faced many obstacles, she maintained a positive attitude throughout high school. She played percussion in her school’s marching band and was a member of the BETA club. Rebecca will attend the University of Central Florida to study marine biology, with plans to rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured marine animals.


Indianapolis, IN

Robert was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy when he was 16 after first experiencing symptoms of sleep paralysis. He ran cross country and track in high school and performed in school theatrical productions since fifth grade. Robert graduated high school with the Indiana Core 40 with Academic Honors diploma. His hobbies are acting, running, writing, and watching movie critiques. He will attend Butler University to major in exploratory studies and minor in theatre.


Clifton, VA

Ruby was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in the middle of her senior year. Despite struggling with narcolepsy and arthritis, she never stopped loving art. Ruby created the first art club at her high school, managing it along with the National Art Honors Society. She directed murals, volunteered in community art projects, and won several Scholastic Art awards. She also held a part-time job and played varsity tennis. Ruby graduated with honors and will continue her passion at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she will pursue a degree in animation.


Brooklyn, NY

Sadmir has had narcolepsy symptoms for his entire life, but wasn’t diagnosed until his junior year of high school. Trying different medications and discussing his diagnosis with teachers was a new experience for him. Although falling asleep while typing is a difficult challenge, Sadmir enjoys coding and will attend Brooklyn College to study computer science.


Buffalo, NY

Sophia was diagnosed with narcolepsy without cataplexy and sleep apnea in fifth grade, after her already-present symptoms worsened rapidly. Her diagnosis gave her her life back, and her hobbies include reading, writing, and learning. Sophia will study animal behavior and ecology at Canisius University.


Crossville, AL

Tonya was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy as a freshman, after experiencing symptoms since seventh grade. She was president of her local HOSA and SkillsUSA chapters, and an active member of BETA, color guard, National Technical Honor Society, and many others clubs. She graduated as Salutatorian of her class. Tonya enjoys gardening, cross stitching, and volunteering at the local hospital. She will attend the University of Alabama.

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 the Hypersomnia Foundation, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, and Harmony Biosciences, LLC for generous contributions to support the 2023 scholarship. 

“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 2023 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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