Meet the 2021 NextGen Fellows!

March 16, 2021

Alexandra Mendez

Alexandra is a business student focusing on Operations and Supply Chain Management at California State University East Bay. She has lived with type one diabetes for over 10 years. Alex understands a supportive medical team and modern treatment is essential for better diabetes management. Hence, her goal is to grow professionally in the diabetes sector. Her goals are to work with companies that develop treatments to make resources more cost-effective and accessible to everyone living with diabetes, especially minority populations. Alex enjoys working out and outdoor activities such as camping, swimming, skiing, biking, and hiking.

Ally Lupu

Ally Lupu lives in Michigan and was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 15. She loves diabetes for all of the opportunities it has given her and the people it introduced her to. She is a junior at Grand Valley State University studying Recreational Therapy, and she hopes to one day become a Child Life Specialist to aid in the diagnosis transition for children and their families. She loves traveling, spending time with family and friends, going to the beach, and doing anything creative!

Alyssa Leong

Alyssa is a third-year Human Biology major at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Her dream is to become a doctor to help those in need and to give back to the community that has given her so much. Alyssa was diagnosed with type one diabetes when she was 18 months old. She was selected as a delegate for the JDRF Children’s Congress in 2017 and is currently serving as the chapter president at UCSD.

Amanda Kaufman

Amanda has had diabetes for ten years. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University in May 2020 and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Health Care Management at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. She served as the chapter president at Johns Hopkins during her undergraduate years, and she interned with JDRF International in D.C. Amanda is interested in diabetics’ varied and unique experiences.

Bradley Martin

Bradley has had type one diabetes since 2013 and joined The Diabetes Link in his first year at the University of Rochester studying digital media studies and computer science. Working as business manager, Bradley balanced funds for his Chapter while also planning events to educate others about life with type one. He was the BGM Marketing/Customer Relationship Management Intern at Ascensia Diabetes Care for a year before joining The Diabetes Link as a NextGen Fellow. In his free time, Bradley enjoys working on computers and playing video games. Expressing his love for tech and passion for type one diabetes, he hopes to work in the diabetes technology field.

Crystal Diaz

Crystal is an undergraduate Global Disease Biology major at UC Davis. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 18, Crystal joined The Diabetes Link chapter on campus and has loved connecting with fellow type 1’s and people who “get it.” She currently serves with the Global Perspectives Initiative, drawing on her lived experiences and working to develop more inclusive curriculum reform in the Global Disease Biology major and One Health courses. For fun, Crystal loves to do Tahitian dance and hula!

Emily Swanson

Emily has had type one diabetes for 12 years and is a senior nursing major at Carthage College. She is the current president of the Carthage chapter of The Diabetes Link. Her career goal is to be a pediatric nurse practitioner working with endocrine disorders, such as diabetes. She grew up going to diabetes camps and has spent time volunteering with JDRF. Currently, her favorite aspect of her career choice is working with patients, and is eager to work more closely with the diabetic community.

Emma Fleet

Emma has had T1D for 17 years and is the chapter leader at Boston College, where she is a junior. She spent many summers as a camper and counselor at ADA Camp Carefree in New Hampshire. Her favorite thing about the T1D community is the incredible friends she has made. Outside of the diabetes sphere, Emma loves reading, ice skating, and swimming.

Emma Smith

Emma is from Seattle, WA, has had T1D for 17 years, and is President of the Santa Clara University (SCU) chapter of The Diabetes Link. She is currently in her final year at SCU, and is moving to Boston in the fall of 2021 to pursue a Master of Social Work at Boston College. Emma is passionate about mental health and hopes to work in a clinical setting in the future. She loves spring time and taking spin classes.

Evan Strat

Evan has had T1D for 11 years and is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in computer science from Georgia Tech. While an undergraduate student, Evan served as Vice President of the Georgia Tech chapter of The Diabetes Link and was the Co-Director of HackGT, a student organization that hosts hackathons and other computer science education events. Outside of school, Evan enjoys keeping up with the latest diabetes technology, playing the clarinet in the Georgia Tech Marching Band, and skiing.

Haley Napier

Haley has had T1D for 16 years. She is currently pursuing a dietetics degree at the University of Kentucky as she works to become a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. She serves on committees with the ADA and JDRF. She volunteers as a camp counselor for diabetes camps with the ADA and camp Hendon. She also serves as the president of the chapter at the University of Kentucky. Haley enjoys traveling, hiking, and playing volleyball in her free time.

Haley Owens

Haley was diagnosed with T1D at the age of nine and has been living with diabetes for over thirteen years. She is in her senior year of undergrad at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and is pursing a bachelors degree in psychology with a specialty in developmental psychology and human services. Alongside her friends and peers, she founded the UMBC chapter of The Diabetes Link in 2018 and has been serving on the Chapter’s executive board ever since. This summer, July 2021, will mark her tenth year attending Camp Possibilities – a sleep-away summer camp for children living with type one diabetes. In 2018, she became the program director and head counselor of the camp’s Leadership-in-Training Program.

Jenna Feeley

Jenna has been living with T1D since 2010. Passionate about community building, she started The Diabetes Link chapter at the University of Maryland in 2019. Through her path navigating T1D, as well as talking with others about their journeys, Jenna has discovered her love of psychology and medicine. She is currently pursuing a career in healthcare. Jenna is also a volunteer for Camp Possibilities and the(sugar)science, two organizations that aim to enhance the lives of those living with T1D. In her free time Jenna enjoys podcasting, exercising, and talking to friends and family.

Kathryn Crooke

Kathryn has had T1D for 14 years. She is a junior at Quinnipiac University studying Health Science. At school, she is involved with starting-up a chapter of The Diabetes Link and is a Pre-PA representative for the Pre-Physician Assistant Club. Kathryn also spent many summers at the Barton Center for Diabetes and served on a T1D committee for Boston Children’s Hospital during high school.

Lauren Kneeland

Lauren is from Massachusetts and is currently a senior at the University of New Hampshire majoring in psychology and minoring in business administration. She has had T1D for about 15 years. She hopes to work within the field in some capacity after college to help spread awareness and help kids in the same position she was in.

McKenna Raimer

McKenna is a J.D. candidate at the University of Iowa College of Law focusing on health law. She has had type one for 15 years and is passionate about advocating for equal access to health care and fair-priced prescriptions, specifically insulin. Prior to law school, she graduated from The University of Iowa with a B.A. in Criminology, Law & Justice and Religious studies, and a B.S. in Medical Anthropology.

Megan Ervin

Megan was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 18, the summer before her freshman year at UCLA. She is the founder and president of UCLA’s first chapter of The Diabetes Link, serves on the American Diabetes Association’s planning committee, and counsels young children to prevent type 2 diabetes through Project Power. Megan is currently a junior at UCLA, hoping to attend medical school to become an endocrinologist. She enjoys long walks, playing piano, singing, and playing with her labradoodle, Hershey.

Serena Fox

Serena is a nursing student at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. She has had type one diabetes for 17 years and hopes to work with kids and adolescents that have chronic illnesses, like diabetes, in a mental health setting. On-campus, other than running a chapter, she helps to manage SalveTHON which is affiliated with the Children’s Miracle Network. She also mentors teens with chronic illnesses with The Adolescent Leadership Council (TALC) through Hasbro Children’s Hospital. She has two Dachshunds, Foxy and Franky, that she loves playing with in her free time.

Shay Webb

Shay has had T1D for 14 years and is a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with her Bachelor of Science in Clinical Research. There she served as the Founding Vice President of the campus’ chapter of The Diabetes Link, Dubs 4 Diabetes, in addition to serving as a research assistant focusing on the type 1 diabetic student’s transition to college. She has served in various organization leadership positions. She currently serves on the North Carolina Statewide Independent Living Council, a governor appointed council. Shay has always viewed her diabetes as an avenue for advocacy and has served as an advocate, mentor, and ambassador for JDRF. She has also created a medal-winning research board on the influence of diet on diabetics, with an emphasis on the African American community. Shay’s life motto is Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, or the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Zoe Cook

Zoë was diagnosed with T1D in 2009 and recently graduated from UT Austin with a BS in Psychology. She was a member of the UT Women’s Rugby Team and the President of UT’s chapter, Type Texas. Zoë is an avid athlete who was on the Beyond Type 1 2019 NYC Marathon team, is a part of the 2022 JDRF London Marathon team, and is training for an IronMan. She regularly works with newly diagnosed children and is a DIY Loop Mentor. Zoë just finished a certification in Nutrition & Lifestyle coaching and hopes to attend medical school soon, where she will pursue a career in pediatrics.

Thank you to the sponsors of the NextGen Fellowship, CBDCE and Novo Nordisk!

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