By Tala Strauss
Gordon College News Service
May 1, 2013
(This appeared in a GCNS package of stories in the print and online editions of the Boston Globe, North, May, 16, 2013.)
When Samantha Fowler, 21, of Westchester, NY, was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 13, she thought her life was over.
“I didn’t think I’d grow up a regular teenager,” she said. “I thought, ‘Oh, I’m not going to go to college, because I’m not going to be able to have fun.’”
Eight years later, as a graduating senior at Endicott College in Beverly, MA, Fowler now spends much of her time advocating for diabetes awareness. Like Fowler, Endicott senior Jon O’Bryan, 22, of Essex VT, has also spent most of his free time helping others as a volunteer firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with the Essex Fire Department. O’Bryan even keeps his gear in the trunk of his car so he can drive straight to the scene of an emergency.
Before either walks across the stage at Endicott’s 73rd graduation with 520 other undergraduates on Friday, May 24, they will have made a difference in the lives of hundreds of people.
Brandi Johnson, the associate dean of students at Endicott College, has known O’Bryan and Fowler since their freshman year. Johnson, whom Fowler affectionately calls “Mom,” took both students on alternative spring breaks and interacted with them regularly throughout their time at Endicott.
“From their start here, they were automatic rock stars,” she said. “They engulfed themselves in Endicott in a positive manner.”