Media Contact:
Lori Millner
The National Children’s Cancer Society


Childhood Cancer Survivors Across the Country Win College Scholarships From The National Children’s Cancer Society


Forty-one college-bound childhood cancer survivors around the country have been awarded scholarships totaling $141,750 from The National Children’s Cancer Society’s (NCCS) Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship Program. The program provides financial assistance to young adults as they move forward with their lives after cancer. The scholarships help young adult survivors achieve their educational goals so they can pursue their personal and professional dreams.

For 20-year-old Neha Kundagrami, the scholarship means the difference between going to college stressed about loans and how she’ll pay for those after graduation, and going to college without worrying and being able to fully enjoy the experience. “My cancer treatment had taken a lot out of my family financially,” said the University of Maryland student. “I applied for around 25 scholarships that are given to cancer patients, and the NCCS was the only one that helped me out.” She added that college also helped her connect with other survivors her age, further enriching her college experience.

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness month, a fitting time for the students to receive the scholarships and a reminder to everyone who knows a child with cancer that their future is bright, and help is available for their journey.

Scholarship applicants must be childhood cancer survivors living in the United States, under the age of 25 and diagnosed before the age of 18. The program is open to all childhood cancer survivors who currently attend or plan to attend an institution of higher learning.

“We want every survivor to have the support and tools they need to thrive, and for many of them, college is a lifelong dream that we can help fulfill,” said Mark Stolze, president and CEO of the NCCS. “We are very proud of these young people for overcoming the challenge of cancer and pursing their dreams, and we are honored to help make that happen.” In addition to financial help, the NCCS provides opportunities for recipients to connect and engage with one another. For example, the organization initiates a monthly topic via an email thread – such as study habits, the challenges of college life, and the benefits of volunteering – and students share their thoughts, encourage one another and help one other solve problems. The NCCS requires the students to do community service as a condition of their scholarship. Many of them participate in the organization’s mentoring program, where they serve as a friend and role model to a younger survivor, providing encouragement to the child during and after treatment.

“The scholarship program provides a community that not only brings young adult survivors together but also gives the NCCS a better understanding of how we can support them,” said Pam Gabris, Beyond the Cure coordinator for the NCCS.

What’s extremely encouraging, added Gabris, is that most of the scholarship recipients are studying for careers that will allow them to help children with cancer, in fields such as medicine, education and psychology.

To date, the scholarship program has awarded more than $650,000 in scholarship money to childhood cancer survivors throughout the country. The NCCS is extremely grateful to the Englehardt Family Foundation, the Energizer Charitable Trust and the BNSF Railway for their generous support of the program. This year’s scholarship winners span the country and will attend a diverse group of schools in the 2015-2016 academic year. They are:


Englehardt Scholars Hometown School attending 2015-16
Caitlin Adkins Norton, VA University of Virginia
Emmanuel Agyemang Savannah, GA University of Georgia
Jessica Allen Concord, CA Saint Mary’s College of California
Cara Antonaccio Long Valley, NJ Penn State University
Rachael Avery Charleston, SC College of Charleston
Rachel Barclay Orem, UT Utah Valley University
Natasha Bear Marietta, GA The George Washington University
Olivia Bliven Magnolia, TX University of Houston
Harrison Bond New Orleans, LA Vanderbilt University
Lenn Brown Rockaway, NJ Syracuse University
Montana Brown Thomasville, GA Georgia Regents University
Dean Brownworth Merrick, NY University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Farah Contractor Churchville, PA University of Pennsylvania
Amber Dixon Manito, IL University of Illinois
Helena Exeni Dalton, GA University of West Georgia
Tyler Galvelis Holland, PA University of Pittsburgh
Kristen Glavee San Ramon, CA Azusa Pacific University
Neha Kundagrami Bethesda, MD University of Maryland, College Park
Melinda Marchiano Nipomo, CA Pepperdine University
Brian Moore Cincinnati, OH Manhattan School of Music
Nishant Mysore Freehold, NJ University of California – San Diego
Lacey O’Neal Virginia Beach, VA Drexel University
Gabriella Palasthy Chesapeake, VA Virginia Commonwealth University
Sarah Pierce Providence, RI Brown University
Halle Redfearn Laguna Beach, CA University of California – Berkeley
Adam Rose Shelby Twp, MI Kettering University
Shoshana Rudin Madison, WI University of Chicago
Clarissa Schilstra Ellicott City, MD Duke University
Benjamin Seeley Tustin, CA Chapman University
Riley Steiner Dublin, OH Miami University
Megan Tapp Dexter, MN University of Minnesota Duluth College of Pharmacy
Sophia Tilley Benton, AR Arkansas Tech University
Lily Upp Berkley, MI University of Michigan
Cecilia Wang Beaverton, OR Robert D. Clark Honor’s College
Kane Weinberg Trenton, IL Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Energizer Scholars Hometown School attending 2015-16
JoAnn Chung Holland, OH University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Kodi Jones Battlefield, MO Ozarks Technical Community College
William Weishaar Webster Groves, MO Missouri University of Science & Technology
BNSF Scholars Hometown School attending 2015-16
Jenna Heim Simi Valley, CA California State University-Northridge
Carolyn Hudson Leawood, KS Oklahoma State University-Stillwater

About the NCCS The mission of The National Children’s Cancer Society is to provide emotional, financial and educational support to children with cancer, their families and survivors. To learn more about the NCCS and its support services, visit The National Children’s Cancer Society is a 501C(3) organization that has provided more than $61 million in direct financial assistance to more than 36,000 children with cancer. To contact the NCCS, call (314) 241-1600. You can also visit the NCCS on Facebook at

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