Spencer H.

Undergraduate 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."

Much is made nowadays, sometimes almost to the point of lapsing into a cliché, of the value in expressing one’s unique “voice”. For me, this truism can take on almost grotesquely literal meaning: like others with cystic fibrosis, my speaking voice is unusually deep for someone of my characteristically small stature. As someone who is soft-spoken, the added handicap of gravelly speech has gotten me requests to “speak up” more times than I can remember.

In high school, I became involved in mock trial. A demanding extracurricular focused on public speaking, mock trial was a continual challenge, its late night meetings often making evening treatments difficult to stick to, and its insistence on good volume requiring me to moderate and train my breathing. Months quickly stretched into years, and before I knew it, I found myself giving my final oration at the state competition. As I finished the speech and sat down, I found that what I had become most proud of, and what I have carried with me into college to this day, was not the various awards and honors that the team had accumulated over the years. Far more valuable was that in a literal sense, I had found my voice. The awkward casualty of years of drainage and coughing had become an indispensable companion, an honored force on the team. Rather than seeing a hindrance, I learned to find in my odd voice “and through it, the disease it represents” an opportunity to rise.


Spencer H.'s Artwork


This piece is a poetic call to reject the excessively mechanistic worldview which has dominated Western scientific and philosophical thought for the past couple of centuries. The narrator's exit from the cell into a cathedral symbolizes the need to reconsider a philosophy of the world which does not exclude the progress made by science, but which does not limit itself to these advances in its understanding of the cosmos.

Spencer H.'s Achievements

  • Designation of High Honor on the National Greek Exam (2009, 2010, 2012)
  • Georgia High School Mock Trial State Competition, Two-time winner of double Outstanding Attorney awards (Spring 2011 and 2012)
  • Toastmasters Youth Leadership High School Speech Club, President and speech mentor (Fall 2011)
  • AP Scholar with Distinction (2012)
  • Toastmasters International, Competent Communicator Award (Summer 2012)
  • One of six incoming freshmen at Georgia Southern University to be chosen as a 1906 Scholar, the University's premier full tuition scholarship (Fall 2012)
  • Presented paper entitled, "Charging Dr. Jekyll" at the Georgia Southern University Philosophy Conference (Spring 2013)
  • University of Georgia MathCounts Chapter, Volunteer tutor (Spring 2014)
  • Demosthenian Literary Society's Inter-Society Debate Team, Member (Spring 2014)
  • Presented paper entitled, "Personality and the Kalam Cosmological Argument: A Critique" at the University of Georgia Philosophy Conference (Spring 2014)