We are proud to announce the first recipient of the Roman Jax Nguyen Memorial Scholarship.

kateEntrusted with the memory of Roman, the scholarship committee has waited for the right applicant to come along. Avery’s Angels Gastroschisis Foundation is proud to announce the first recipient of the Roman Jax Nguyen Memorial Scholarship, Ms. Kate Krawczuk! Ms. Krawczuk is a ‪gastroschisis‬ survivor herself and the committee and Roman’s family agree, she truly deserves the award. We hope sharing her story and application will inspire many of our survivors and families. Congratulations Kate, we are excited to watch your achievements and wish you all the success as you embark on your new journey!

Kate E. Krawczuk will be a 2016 graduate of Susquehanna Township High School. During her high school career she has enjoyed academic highlights to include honors or distinguished honors each scholastic marking period, induction into the National Honor Society and recognition from the College Board as an AP Scholar. She has also achieved athletic honors that include Softball Team Captain, Mid-Penn All-Star’s and All-State for her first base performance.

Additionally, she has found time to give back to the community through volunteer work at the Central PA Food Bank and Susquehanna Service Dogs. Her plans for the future include pursuing an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science and a doctorate in Physical Therapy. She intends to work professionally as a Physical Therapist while pursuing her Master’s Degree in Athletic Training. Upon completion of her education she will continue her career in the sports therapy industry.

Kate E. Krawczuk – Personal Statement and Essay

The day I was born I discovered that I had a condition called gastroschisis. The first nine months in utero seemed to be going along just fine until I was awakened by a firm slap to my bottom and urgently had my small intestines sealed up in bubble wrapped traction. The rude start to the outside world was followed with a surgery that lasted hours into the night as I was put back together. Six days later I enjoyed my first liquid meal and on day ten I was pronounced a normal baby and was finally able to go home. Ten days into what is now eighteen years I had the scars of a fighter, the beginning of my experiences regarding being tall and living life with tall standards.

Somehow, throughout my entire academic career, I have managed to mostly earn A’s with an occasional B thrown in here and there. I’m not sure exactly why or how, but the material all came relatively easy to me; until AP U.S. History, that is. This was the first class to hand me a C on a report card. I did not know what to make of this foreign symbol. I had to learn a new way of studying to get through this class the way I wanted. I had to learn a new way of disciplining myself to study; I had to learn a smarter way to study; I had to show myself and my teacher that I was better than the letter C. By the end of the year I was able to secure a B+, just missing an A by .02 of a percentage point. A tall order, indeed!

Athletics has always been a part of my life. As a little girl my parents would take me to the playground to climb on the monkey bars and swing as high as I could propel myself. At a young age I would go to the ocean and challenge the waves to catch me on the shore. I did not show interest in organized sports until fifth grade when I joined a softball team. Everything started out great and then at my first game I unforeseeably broke my foot. I attended all practices and games while I healed, then finished the season. Next, I joined basketball. In my first season I collided with my teammate and broke my ankle. For three weeks I attended every practice and every game with my cast in tow, then, I finished the season. People wondered why I bothered to show up if I could not play. If you are part of a team, then you stick by your team and fulfill commitments. Anyone else with tall expectations would have done the same.

Volunteering in my community has become an enjoyable activity with the Key Club and the local Food Bank. Puppy hugging with Susquehanna Service Dogs helps to acclimate puppies that will someday help people in need. When I vacation at the beach I spend hours at the local Community Outreach, a no cage facility for homeless cats. I wish I could give them all homes, but instead I give love and hopefully a sense of normalcy until adoption to their forever home.

Giving my time to give back to these organizations may seem like a tall strain on my time, but to me it just seems right. Striving to be a better person each and every day has become my personal goal. Every day isn’t going to be great; there will always be unexpected setbacks and obstacles. In my life I have faced seemingly insurmountable barriers, injuries, and challenges. Because of these experiences, I want to enable others to overcome and avoid their struggles by utilizing inner-strength so they can resume their passions. This combined with my love for playing and watching sports and being active are what have led me to the major/career choice of physical therapy and athletic training.

Over the course of 60+ observation hours at three physical therapy institutions, I have learned the responsibilities of a physical therapist and have listened to countless stories of the patients I had the pleasure to meet. To enhance my understanding of athletic training I became a student trainer for my high school’s football team. The past year’s experiences have strengthened my belief that this career path is the correct choice for me. I have witnessed relationships develop between the patient and the Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapist and the elation as goals are achieved; it draws me to these fields. With that being said, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in exercise science combined with a doctorate in physical therapy and then pursuing a master’s degree in athletic training blends with my personal goals of being better every day and helping others do the same.

Learn more about the scholarship program HERE