Julia R.

Graduate Recipient

"Describe an achievement or rewarding experience that you are most proud of accomplishing while living with CF, and how it has molded the person you have become."

The lights hit my face and I could sense that my breathing was a bit fast. I walked to the podium and began speaking. I spoke about the opportunities that led me here and the opportunities I will continue to have once I walk off the stage. With my last few words I hear the audience begin to clap and in the distance see my parents crying. This moment was just over one month ago, and one that I will forever cherish, it was the day of my college graduation. As a young girl it had always been my dream to be a teacher and go to college, and four years ago I was granted that exact wish. Prior to leaving home my parents expressed concern about being on my own and were worried about how I would handle my health in this new environment. As they drove away that sunny August day in 2010, I felt alive. These past four years have shown me that regardless of anything I am the one to control my own destiny, and nothing will hold me back. My life with cystic fibrosis has only encouraged me to go above and beyond what people expect of me and my journey at college has strengthened that view point. Twenty years ago I was projected to not even make it to college, and now here I am, looking forward to the next twenty years in my life.


Julia R.'s Artwork


Seven years ago I attended a leadership conference where the objective of the week was to create a B.E. Goal--something you want to get better everyday at. Prior to this conference I had recently discovered the average life expectancy of a person with CF. As I am not one to dwell on the negative, I chose my BE Goal to be alive. Through this goal I promised myself I would not be another statistic, I would live each day to its fullest potential, and as a daily reminder of this goal I tattooed the phrase "alive" on my wrist this past September.

Julia R.'s Achievements

  • Speaker on behalf of Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (2010 – 2014)
  • Global Educator Cohort Program (August 2010 - May 2014)
  • Community Action and Response Experience, Volunteer organization, President, Member (January 2011 - May 2013)
  • Study Abroad in the United Kingdom (July/August 2012)
  • President's Advisory Committee on Disability Issues, Student at Large Representative (August 2012 - August 2014)
  • Longitudinal Patient Centered Experience, Volunteer (April 2012 - December 2013)
  • Bachelor's of Arts in Education from Michigan State University (with honor) (May 2014)
  • College of Education, Commencement Speaker (May 2014)
  • Kappa Delta Pi (Educational Honor Society), Member (April 2012 – Present)
  • Spartans Fighting Cystic Fibrosis, Co-Founder, Vice President (January 2013 – Present)