As the second part of our three part series to introduce our Senita Scholars, the recipients of our inaugural scholarship, we are pleased to introduce Emmy!
As Emmy’s recommender shared, “I learned quickly that Emmy knows herself very well; she identifies as a natural helper, a teacher at heart, an eager volunteer, an avid reader, a letter writer, and a devoted sister. She would also call herself a role model, advocate, and mentor for children who share her “cool abilities”— those with Type 1 Diabetes and those who are deaf or hard of hearing.”
It’s clear to see that Emmy has a huge heart and is a tireless advocate for both herself and those around her through her constant dedication to giving back to others and her community service work. She has been supporting, advocating, and educating for the last decade! Emmy has been a Youth Ambassador for the American Diabetes Association since the age of 9 and has been a mentor for Advanced Bionics (the company that makes her cochlear implant) since 2012. She constantly served as a volunteer at her elementary school throughout high school, as a camp counselor for students with diabetes and on a Teen Advisory Board working to break the stigma, and build awareness, around teen hearing loss.
Life with T1D
Emmy was diagnosed with T1D just before her ninth birthday. She shares, “As a kid, my experience with Type 1 Diabetes wasn’t the forefront of my childhood… However, that changed once I got to high school. Once high school began, I struggled with how others viewed my success with my diabetes, which I internalized and deemed as my own success and self worth. Numbers dictated my life - what I did, what I ate, what time I woke up, how long I spent on homework, and so on. One number; my A1C. Through my struggles with depression and diabulimia (an eating disorder specifically targeting those with Type 1), I also faced paralleled struggles with my diabetes. As my senior year in high school approached, my mental health and relationship with my diabetes improved. I decided to do a senior capstone during this year and devote my project to Type 1 Diabetes. Much like I had done in my life previously, I best navigated my way through a situation when I could turn it into something positive and meaningful.”
Emmy dedicated her senior capstone to create a tool, in the form of a website, that aggregated information and resources on T1D allowing individuals and families with recent diagnoses, or questions about the disease, to easily find answers and guidance all in one place. This single website contains information on diabetes technology, basics on what diabetes is, information on everyday life with diabetes (school, puberty, driving, pregnancy, emotional support, exercise, etc.), as well as diagnoses that are related to and may be more prevalent with Type 1 Diabetes. As Emmy so eloquently shared, “It’s often the simplest of day-to-day activities that can be the most demanding and exhausting when it comes to diabetes. That is the importance of creating one comprehensive tool with a wide variety of information - with Type 1 Diabetes, much like other things in life, you often don’t know what you need to know until you’re in the moment and struggling.” Finally, Emmy reflects, “I worked through my senior capstone and found a way to appreciate my diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes again through helping others. I am now eleven years post diagnosis and am doing my best, though it is not without its challenges. Type 1 Diabetes is a constant in my life and I am continuing to navigate life with this disease, but the disease does not navigate my life.”
Emmy is currently majoring in Elementary and Special Education. She shares, “One of the main reasons I decided to pursue a college education and these degrees in particular, is my passion and desire to be a teacher. It is important to me and is a part of my fundamental philosophy that as a future educator, I educate my students on disability and diversity awareness through my lessons.” Many of Emmy’s goals have been shaped by her experience growing up and educating her peers as well as the adults she interacted with regarding her disabilities. Emmy states, “I knew that if I took the time to educate those around me about my deafness and Type 1 Diabetes, that by doing so, then they as an individual would be more educated for the next person they interacted with who was deaf or had Type 1. This mentality became part of my foundational philosophy as a human being and is one I am passionate about projecting on my future students. As a future educator, I want to proactively teach students about a wide variety of disabilities.”
Furthermore, Emmy shares, “Along with my passion for educating the general population about those with special needs, I’m also passionate about advocating for those with special needs. Making sure these students are given access to education in a way that is appropriate for each individual student. This goes beyond the delivery instruction of materials and performance expectations of the child and extends to the students’ basic needs such as mobility and ability to communicate, which may require adaptations or modifications to set the child up for success.”
Finally, Emmy shared, “It’s my goal that as a future educator I can make my students feel welcome, loved, and safe while incorporating the inclusion of social emotional health and disability diversity into my lessons. Through my own hardships and persistence in school, I strive to be a teacher that will advocate for my students as I had to do for myself.” We’re beyond excited about the prospect of having such a fiercely dedicated and thoughtful leader such as Emmy teaching the future generations following her graduation.
Once again, we are blown away by Emmy's accomplishments and commitment to helping others. We hope you're loving learning more about these incredible individuals and Type 1 Diabetes!