Stephen S.

Graduate Recipient

"Life can be a series of challenges or opportunities depending on how you approach it. As you enter adulthood, how have you conquered a difficult task to turn it into an opportunity? As part of your essay, please explain the significance of your creative presentation to your journey with CF."

Due to cystic fibrosis, I often find myself in the hospital from pulmonary exacerbations. Time in the hospital can be a black hole opening to a despair that life can not be normal and ornamented with a family, fulfilling career and the simple freedom to be carefree.

For me in particular, my hospitalizations separate me from coursework required for my doctoral program in biomedical science. I have come to accept this challenge by working with my doctors to turn hospital stays into a normal part of my life in which my hospital room is transformed into a study. I use my time between IVs and physiotherapy to study, prepare talks and read primary literature. I have also arranged to keep on track by attending classes and exams, which are held in the same medical campus as my hospital.

These dual patient, student visits have challenged me, yes, but they have provided me with powerful insight into the patient experience, allowing me to connect my research in the laboratory to its real application in the treatment of patients.

I created a white, porcelain pitcher with patterned carvings in the shape of an inverted triangle on each side of the vessel's hexagon shape. Just as the function of a pitcher is to hold water, the function of the lungs are to hold air. The pitcher's descending triangles take from its function to hold water just as cystic fibrosis descends the lungs creating scarring and taking from its function to hold air.


Stephen S.'s Artwork

Stephen S.'s Achievements

  • Madision and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship at University of Kansas Medical Center (2015)
  • Science and Research Columnist at BioNews Services, LLC. Write a weekly column on Cystic Fibrosis News Today concerning research, drug development and life-style relating to Cystic Fibrosis. (January 2015 - Present)
  • Beaver-Schmale Research Award at Wheaton College (2013)
  • Endocrine Society Summer Research Fellowship (2012)
  • Student Technician at the Uniformed Services University, research: investigated the effect of mild-traumatic brain injury impairment of fear conditioning in male mice. (Fall 2010, Summer 2009, 2011, 2012)
  • Biology Student Advisory Council Member at Wheaton College (2012-2013)
  • Research Intern at the University of Kansas Medical Center, research: identify role of cux-1 transcription factor in mouse testes. (Summer 2010)
  • Biology Teaching Assistant at Wheaton College (2009-2010)
  • Sigma Delta Pi Pre-Health Professions Club at Wheaton College (2008-2010)