Olivia M.

Undergraduate Recipient

"In honor of the 25th anniversary of the AbbVie CF Scholarship, choose an event (personal or cultural/historical) from the past 25 years and describe how it has impacted your journey with CF."

One of the most profound events of my life was losing my Medicaid at nineteen. I moved in with my grandmother when I was eleven, so getting on my parents' insurance wasn't an option. I worked a minimum wage job that didn't offer any coverage. I didn't know anything about insurance, and I felt like I had nowhere to turn. I went two months without insurance, and without most of my medications, because I had to wait for the open enrollment period. I was so sick that I checked into the hospital the day I received insurance. Though this was an incredibly strenuous time emotionally and financially in my life, it shaped me into a more empathetic and educated individual. I felt the burden of living without government assistance, and learned how programs like Medicaid truly save lives. I even changed my major from Physics to International Relations because I realized that politics isn't about abstract ideologies — it has tangible effects on people. I found an outlet where I could help others and also feel engaged and rewarded in my work. This incident also showed me how important it is to routinely exercise and take medication. I never want to feel that sick again. I continue to do everything I can to prevent putting myself and my loved ones through that. After losing my safety net and having to find new insurance, I realized you had to be a fighter to be a survivor.


Olivia M.'s Artwork

Olivia M.'s Achievements

  • Mayor's Fellow, Office of the Mayor of Columbia, 2016
  • Undergraduate Researcher, University of South Carolina, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Writer, JASPER Magazine, 2016
  • Intern, Office of the State Treasurer, 2016
  • Politics Writer, The Daily Gamecock Magazine, 2015, 2016
  • Volunteer, Campus Outreach & Media Liaison, Presidential Campaign, 2015, 2016
  • Conference Manager, Capstone Conference Center, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Saxophonist, North Augusta High School Band, 2013, 2014
  • Capstone Scholar, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Speaker (presenting in Russian), SRAS Conference in Saint Petersburg, 2017