Jenna Pedersen, a student at Illinois State University from St. Charles, IL, was recently awarded with the first Sara Elizabeth Stubblefield Memorial Scholarship. Jenna is honored to receive this award, which was created to provide financial support for the pursuit of higher education to a student living with epilepsy, who demonstrates a strong commitment to his/her education, and perseverance in overcoming the obstacles that epilepsy may present.
The family and friends of Sara Elizabeth Stubblefield established this Foundation for the purpose of creating and awarding a scholarship in memory of Sara. Sara developed epilepsy as a high school junior , was valedictorian of her graduating class and was a 1996 honors graduate of Greenville College. She received a Masters Degree in Social Work from Washington University in 1998 and earned the designation of Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Sara was a fearless advocate for epilepsy education and research. She dedicated her life to making a difference for better care and treatment for people living with epilepsy. She had served for ten years at the Epilepsy Services Coordinator of the Epilepsy Foundation of Southern Illinois and was participating in the Epilepsy Foundation of America’s Public Policy Institute in Washington, DC at the time of her unexpected death in March, 2011 at 36 years of age.
Sara’s story has helped Jenna see things differently.
“I used to think that nothing good would ever come out of having epilepsy. However, with the help of my family and friends I realized that it didn’t change who I was and what I could do. After reading about Sara and her outstanding accomplishments I thought about my own dreams and goals. Sara accepted her condition with grace and did not let it define who she was, and I hope to someday touch as many people’s hearts as she did,” Jenna says.