This year, UCB awarded 30 scholarships of up to $5,000 and 3 scholarships of up to $10,000 to people living with epilepsy, their family members, and caregivers pursuing higher education. Two applicants d Epilepsy Leader Scholarships of up to $10,000 each honoring the late Sandra Helmers, MD, MPH, and the late John M. Pellock, MD, two prominent figures in the epilepsy community who passed away in 2016. Additionally, UCB awarded one applicant the Joe D’Souza Memorial Scholarship of up to $10,000. This scholarship was created in 2019 in memory of UCB’s global medical director. The recipients of the Epilepsy Leader Scholarships and the Joe D'Souza Memorial Scholarship demonstrate academic and personal achievement and also exemplify some of the qualities that Drs. Helmers and Pellock were best known for, including a desire to advocate for and serve others, an interest in positively contributing to the epilepsy community, and a persevering spirit.
With this year’s awards, UCB marks the 19th year of direct impact by increasing the number of winners to 617 scholarship recipients and over three million dollars awarded. More significant is the ever-expanding ripple our winners have had and will create in the epilepsy community and world at large.
Our winners were asked three questions about their thoughts on the future of epilepsy care, how they would inspire current and future researchers, and what winning this scholarship means for their future. Here’s what they said:
Q1: As we think about the future of epilepsy care and understanding that seizure freedom is the ultimate goal, if you or your loved one could have one other solution – whether it be a wearable, diagnostic, support framework, or AI tool what would it be?
“If I could have one other solution in epilepsy treatment that would enable the progression towards seizure freedom, I would want it to be a non-invasive, wearable patch that could regulate the misfiring of electrical signals in the brain that cause seizures. This could help the treatment for epilepsy to be more accessible and less intimidating.” Shelby R. - Living with epilepsy
“An app added to an apple watch or Fitbit in which a warning is given for a potential upcoming seizure. Not knowing when seizures are coming are the worst thing about seizures.” Brynn G. - Living with epilepsy
“I think that an AI tool or device that could drive a vehicle would change the lives of epileptics. Having a seizure removes the ability to drive - which affects all aspects of freedom. Having transportation allows work, school and social life to be normal and not hindered by this disability.” 2023 Scholarship Winner - Living with epilepsy
Q2: If you could say anything to a current researcher or healthcare provider working on the future of epilepsy innovation, what would it be?
“I would say thank you. It means a lot that so many smart, dedicated professionals are working hard to progress the field of epilepsy treatment, thus providing help and hope to patients and their families.” Shelby R.
“I hope that epilepsy researchers and doctors can figure out a way to detect the slightest possible seizure activity that doesn’t typically show up on an EEG (e.g. an aura or mini seizure). Being able to detect the smallest inkling of a seizure in an epilepsy patient could help them figure out why certain auras or feelings are happening and truly confirm they aren’t just imagining it.” Taylor P. – Living with epilepsy
“Collaboration is key! Epilepsy is complex but good communication across diverse fields and backgrounds can help further research with a goal of seizure freedom.” Anthony S. – Living with epilepsy
Q3: What does winning this scholarship mean to you and what advice would you give to others who might be interested in applying in the future?
“Winning this scholarship means that despite all of the hardships I have encountered, there is a possibility for a positive to come from it. I would advise others to share their story because you never know how it can impact others.” Brynn G.
“After first being diagnosed with epilepsy I had no hope for my future or what my life would be like. I wish my past self could see me now, embracing my epilepsy and winning a $5,000 scholarship as a woman with epilepsy, not being afraid of accepting my differences. My advice to others who might be interested in applying in the future would be – tell your story. Embrace your epilepsy and prove to yourself that you can do whatever you put your mind to.” Taylor P.
“Winning this scholarship has meant the world to me.” Alexis B. - Living with epilepsy
2023 UCB Family Epilepsy Scholarship Winners
Michael, K., Oakland, California – Joe D’Souza Memorial Scholarship
Cambria P., Phoenix, Arizona – Epilepsy Leader Scholarship
Allyson W., Springfield, Kentucky – Epilepsy Leader Scholarship
Camden B., Bristow, Virginia
Jayden B., Atco, New Jersey
Alexis B., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sofia C., Germantown, Tennessee
Ruby C., Elkhorn, Nebraska
La’Kendra D., Fort Wayne, Indiana
Jonah D., Wilmington, North Carolina
Brynn G., Fort Mill, South Carolina
Anna G., Oregon House, California
Braeden M., Colorado Springs, Colorado
Emily M., Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania
Zachary M., Boulder City, Nevada
Katelynn P., Atlanta, Georgia
Julie P., Portland, Oregon
Shelby R., Sacramento, California
Anthony S., Canfield, Ohio
Will S., Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
Haley V., Frisco, Texas
Chevy W., Bennett, Colorado
Ashlee W., Proctor, Minnesota
*Note: Winners names are included with their permission. Some winners opted not to have their names included in this announcement.
Learn more about UCB Family Epilepsy Scholarship here.
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