I am a student at the University of Tennessee. My major is Microbiology and my minor is History. My experience with Crohn’s Disease has deeply impacted my life. I was diagnosed with Crohn's in 2009 and eventually hospitalized for around 3 weeks where I underwent surgery, (removal of 1.5 ft of small intestine). 2009/2010 was marked by continued hospital visits and severe Crohn’s symptoms/pain. I began taking anti-TNF medicine in 2010 and my Crohn’s symptoms have been significantly alleviated since then. Crohn's Disease erased my high school football career yet it has taught me life lessons I would not trade for anything. Crohn’s changed my view on weakness and strength. I have found that instead of running from my weakness, instead of trying to deny it, I can turn it into something fruitful. My experience with Crohn's enabled me to help two of my friends who were diagnosed with Crohn’s. I realized that it was our shared "weakness" that allowed me to bring genuine compassion to them. Crohn’s continues to teach me that our weaknesses can be turned into gifts of healing for others. That there is a compassion and an understanding that is dependent on our own experience of brokenness. That the primary way we bring emotional healing to others is from our own wounds. Thus Crohn’s has taught me that our hindrances can be turned into our strengths. This spring (2013), I did an Independent Study in Microbiology on Crohn’s Disease. My study was writing a review article on the relationship/linkage between Crohn’s Disease linked genes and a newly discovered microbial process called Autophagy. I am hoping to publish my research in a minor immunological journal. I plan on applying to medical school and pursuing a career in Gastroenterology. I hope to be able to help those suffering from IBD. In my free time I love hiking, biking, baking and piano.