Meet the 2022 NextGen Fellows - Cohort 2

Meet the 2022 NextGen Fellows. These young adults are interested in careers in community health and patient advocacy!

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Annalise Mackemer
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Annalise Mackemer is a junior at Florida State University. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five and has been active in the diabetes community since then. She has completed many JDRF walks and fundraised for many years, and is currently the president of the Students With Diabetes Club on campus. She is majoring in public health and minoring in child development, and  hopes to work as a diabetes educator or have a role in advocacy when she graduates from Florida State. She is ecstatic to begin this fellowship and learn what the career sector is like within the diabetes community.

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Bridget Meyers
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Bridget studies Healthcare Administration and Spanish at Loyola University Chicago. She was diagnosed with T1D during spring break of her freshman year at Loyola. After experiencing the costs of T1D, she decided to work in health legislation to advocate for others living with diabetes. She is so excited to participate in the NextGen Fellowship.

 

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Destiny Islas
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Destiny Islas is 24 years old and a first generation college student at CSULB. She loves dance, video games, and community advocacy. She was diagnosed with diabetes in 2018 at the age of 20. She has volunteered in a couple of nonprofit organizations such as Teacher TRAC, Aquarium of the Pacific, Associated Students Incorporated, and currently is a volunteer at Olive Crest. Her goal is to be a community leader that brings healing and change to not only communities near her, but to the world. She plans to enroll in a Master’s of Public Administration program this year. Diabetes has inspired her to not only be a stronger person, but also make a difference for the diabetic community.

 

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Grace Tarnutzer
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Grace Tarnutzer is  a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying human development and family studies. Her goal is to be a child life specialist to support children in hospitals. She was diagnosed with type one in December of 2020, and has learned a lot in the past year. She looks forward to becoming more connected with the diabetes community through CDN.

 

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Hannah Reidel
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Hannah is a senior at Seattle University studying International Studies and Public Affairs, with a concentration in Public Policy and International Development. She has lived with type 1 diabetes (T1D) for 12 years and is the president of SU’s CDN Chapter where she partners with local organizations to raise awareness of T1D. It is through this advocacy work that she has become passionate about accessible diabetes care, affordable insulin and diabetes technology, and navigating the complexities of health policy. Hannah hopes to pursue a career in public health or health law, working to increase access to T1D care and support for diabetics of all backgrounds. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to true crime podcasts, and finding new coffee shops around Seattle. 

 

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​​​​​​​Katia Kozachok
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Katia Kozachok (she/they) has been interested in the convergence between diabetes and mental health ever since her diagnosis of type 1, just before she turned 19. She recently graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and public health, and currently works in the mental health field. In the future she hopes to go back to school for nursing, eventually becoming certified as a diabetes care specialist and/or psychiatric nurse practitioner. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outside, cooking and baking, and being creative. 

 

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Kathryn Percy
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Kathryn Percy is 21 years old and  was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in April of 2009. She is a junior, soon to be senior, at Emmanuel College in Boston. She is majoring in health and counseling psychology, as well as minoring in sociology. It is her goal to be a school adjustment counselor and licensed clinical social worker in the next few years.

 

 

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Katie Little
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Katie Little is a Nursing Major and Medical Spanish Minor at James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She is originally from Fairfax, Virginia, which is where she was first introduced to CDN through the George Mason University Chapter. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 13. Since then, she has attended diabetes camp, various JDRF events, mentored others who have T1D, and started a new Chapter of CDN at her own college. She loves to read, dance, swim, sail, do arts and crafts, and spend time with the people she loves. She is looking forward to being a Next Gen fellow.

 

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Megan Pelli
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Megan was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in March 2020 when she was 22 years old. Shortly after her diagnosis, she switched her direction in college to focus on nutrition. She will be graduating in May with a bachelor’s in nutrition science and a certification in health and wellness coaching. She is currently applying to a nutrition graduate program to become a registered dietician. Her goal is to work with people with diabetes as a dietician and health coach, and eventually become a certified diabetes care and education specialist. 

 

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Michael
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Michael DiGiacomo
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Michael DiGiacomo (he/him) is a second-semester senior focused on pursuing a career in the medical field. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 15. One of his favorite past-times is working out and sharing his health/fitness journey on various social media platforms. Studying public health these past four years in undergrad has taught him the importance of spreading positive health behaviors and accurate health information relevant to people of all backgrounds. Extending his passion for health and wellness through his podcast, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok has been rewarding. It has allowed him to connect with others around the globe. Ultimately, he chose to pursue a degree in public health science because it focuses on addressing an individual's social determinants of health to eliminate health disparities/inequities within a community. Currently, he is undecided on whether he will apply to PA or DO school after graduation (plan on doing a dual degree to obtain an MPH). However, he knows either path will grant him the ability to provide a greater perspective on a patient as a whole. He is excited to be a NextGen fellow and learn from the clinical opportunities that will prepare him for the next stage in his career. 

 

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Parinita Kumar
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Parinita Kumar is a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Virginia where she is completing her last semester. She is double majoring in cognitive science and Spanish. She was diagnosed with type I diabetes at the age of 9 and has been incredibly passionate about advocacy ever since. She became involved with UVA’s CDN Chapter as a first year student and is currently president of the Chapter. She will be taking a gap year upon graduation and hopes to attend law school after that.

 

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Rebecca Burnett
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Becca is a psychology student with a minor in political science at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. She has had type one diabetes for the past 11 years. She was raised abroad in both Singapore and Thailand. Over the past few years Becca has discovered the importance of cultivating a diabetic community, as well as advocating for greater accessibility for the disease. Accordingly, she hopes to pursue a career in diabetes advocacy and education that extends internationally. In her free time Becca enjoys playing guitar, singing, tending to her plants, rollerblading and any activity that allows her to enjoy being outdoors.

 

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Shayna Sanderson
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Shayna has had type one diabetes since the age of ten. She was diagnosed in November 2010. Ever since, her world has been about diabetes. She is now a student at Ball State University perusing a degree in Health Education and Promotion. At BSU, she is the CDN Chapter president. Her end goal is to be a Diabetes Educator for type one diabetic children and adolescents. Outside of being a student, she is a wife and the mother to two boys.

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Tanner Barton
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Tanner was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2003 at the age of eight. His diagnosis came as quite a shock because he was – and still is – the only T1D in his family. In 2017, he graduated from Ball State University and the BSU Honors College with a dual degree in Health Science and Spanish. While pursuing his undergraduate degree at Ball State, he was able to fulfill both of his passions, intercollegiate athletics and diabetes outreach. He competed all four years as a Division I varsity swimmer, and was a co-founder of the Ball State CDN Chapter. He remained at Ball State and completed a MS in Exercise Science in 2019. His love for athletics and diabetes outreach has continued to flourish. He currently serves as a head collegiate swimming & diving coach while remaining active in various diabetes patient organizations.  An avid spokesperson for T1D, he has also conducted research identifying major social media themes in the online diabetes community (which was published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology).  

 

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Thank you to the sponsors of the NextGen Fellowship, CBDCE and Novo Nordisk!