What makes a winner? For Rebecca Hall, a recipient of the Tomorrow’s Leaders scholarship, it’s her determination to pursue her dreams, no matter the obstacles. Rebecca, who majored in anthropology at the College of William & Mary, was a very successful student – in fact, she was named a James Monroe scholar, an honor bestowed on fewer than 10 percent of W&M undergraduates. Throughout college, Rebecca controlled her type 1 diabetes while managing her daily demands, ensuring that her health remained in the best condition and that her life maintained balance.

Rebecca grew up with asthma and food allergies and was accustomed to watching what she ate and how she took care of her body. But when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 8, she suddenly had a whole new condition to master. During three days in the hospital, Rebecca learned how to count her carbohydrates and test her blood sugar, and her parents prepared to deliver her insulin. After returning home, Rebecca, like many people recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, was nervous about testing her blood sugar and learning to count carbohydrates alone. With the support of her parents, Rebecca quickly gained confidence.

As she looked toward college, Rebecca investigated scholarships that might be a fit. At the annual Friends for Life conference, she noticed the Diabetes Scholars Foundation table, where she learned about college scholarships for high school students with diabetes, including the Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow’s Leaders scholarship. Intrigued by the application’s essay question (Who would you want to take a road trip with?), Rebecca applied and was selected as a scholarship winner after writing about wanting to take a trip with her high school choir teacher, whose extraordinary life and achievements have inspired Rebecca’s resilience, professionalism and positive approach to life. With the financial support of the Diabetes Scholars Foundation, Rebecca was successful in balancing her priorities while challenging herself in countless new ways.

Rebecca notes, “Entering college with the support of the Diabetes Scholars Foundation was so helpful. It made me feel confident about my four-year commitment to W&M and my ability to manage my type 1 diabetes. The Foundation became an integral part of my support system, in addition to my friends, roommates and RAs, all of whom knew about my condition.”

Rebecca stayed on top of her diabetes while managing all of her commitments. She had a supply storage system containing all of her pump supplies, low snacks, syringes in case she encountered a problem with her pump, and more. Rebecca was passionate about choir, dance and anthropology. She worked in an archaeology lab and pursued a certificate in public history and museum studies. Inspired by the Diabetes Scholars Foundation’s work and her own experience with type 1 diabetes, Rebecca worked with two of her peers to launch the Type 1 Tribe, W&M’s branch of the College Diabetes Network. She was also a counselor at Brainy Camps’ ‘Camp Take Charge,’ sponsored by the Children’s National Medical Center.

Rebecca interned at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, helping her expand her knowledge of American history. Every year, Rebecca celebrates the anniversary of her type 1 diabetes diagnosis — and everything that she has accomplished — with a special treat. On her tenth anniversary, she applied for and received the 10-year Lilly Diabetes Journey Award and looks forward to many more years of success and good health. Rebecca is still waiting on the road trip with her choir teacher.