Southeastern student awarded prestigious scholarship
Contact: Tonya Lowentritt
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SOUTHEASTERN STUDENT AWARDED NATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP – Southeastern Louisiana University student John Tiley (left) is one of only a dozen recipients nationwide of the $10,000 scholarship for college students with Crohn’s Disease. Also shown is Stuart Stewart, interim executive director of Louisiana Campus Compact and a member of Southeastern’s foreign languages faculty. Steweart encouraged Tiley to apply for the scholarship and wrote a letter of recommendation.
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University sophomore John Tiley of Hammond is one of only a dozen students nationally to be awarded a $10,000 UCB Crohn’s Scholarship.
UCB, a global biopharmaceutical company, develops treatments for inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s, which affects the digestive system. The company created the pilot scholarship program last year.
Tiley was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the age of six, but has been determined not to let the chronic illness affect his life. Despite many absences from school, he has never made a grade lower than an “A” since kindergarten.
“I didn’t want to be defined by the disease. I want to be treated like everyone else. I don’t want to use my disease as an excuse,” he said. “Even if I was sick, I would always force myself to go to class or to do what I needed to get things done.”
A pre-med biology and Spanish major, Tiley did have to take a medical leave from Southeastern last semester. “Last semester, since I was in the hospital for so long, I couldn’t finish,” he said.
While on medical leave from Southeastern, Tiley traveled to Cleveland seeking specialized treatment. There he saw a flyer advertising the scholarship and decided to apply.
“The whole part of the scholarship is reaching beyond boundaries,” he said. “In a one-page essay, I had to explain what I would do with the scholarship, how it would benefit me, and how I have reached beyond boundaries in my everyday life coping with Crohn’s Disease.”
In addition to the essay, Tiley also had to submit letters of recommendation. One such letter was written by Stuart Stewart. Interim executive director of Louisiana Campus Compact – a service learning consortium of Louisiana universities -- Stewart was also a member of Southeastern’s foreign languages faculty. Tiley was the only freshman in her upperlevel Spanish 303 class.
According to Stewart, Tiley “was one of the most perceptive students I’ve had. He was able to understand the nature of reflective learning.” Stewart also describes Tiley as a very dedicated and hard working student who is able to adapt to the conditions that exist with service learning. She was very impressed with a piece that he wrote for her class that integrated his community service with his academic learning.
Tiley wants to attend medical school to become a pediatric gastroenterologist. “I’ve always loved sciences and medicine. If I was a gastroenterologist I could relate to my patients on a whole different level, having experienced what they have first hand,” Tiley said. “I’d like to be able to see how different medications evolve over the years and how treatments for Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis progress, because right now there is no cure for the disease. All they can do is treat the symptoms.”
In addition to receiving the scholarship, Tiley and a guest are being flown to Washington D.C. in May for National Digestive Diseases Week, where top gastroenterologists from around the world will convene for a conference. He will be awarded the scholarship during a special banquet and will have the opportunity to tour the city for the first time with one of his biggest supporters, his mother. Tiley is the son of Susan and George Tiley of Hammond.