Biology major receives Arthritis Foundation scholarship

Tori Chellis ’25

Tori Chellis ’25, a biology major and theatre minor at The College of Wooster, recently received an Arthritis Foundation Champions Scholarship, which recognizes people for their advocacy work for people with arthritis and their educational and professional goals. Chellis, who has lived with juvenile arthritis for 14 years, plans to go to medical school to study pediatric oncology. “This award allows me to continue my education path with the hope of less debt and more success,” said Chellis, who uses the pronouns “fae” and “faer.”

Chellis was “incredibly proud and honored” to receive the scholarship from the Arthritis Foundation, whose work fae has supported for nearly 11 years. Chellis participates in the annual Jingle Bell Run and the Walk to Cure Arthritis, which raise money for arthritis research. Chellis is also an Arthritis Foundation Advocate and has shared faer story with state representatives to advocate for bills that support people with arthritis.

Chellis also raises awareness about juvenile arthritis. As a co-chair of the Warrior Engagement Committee, fae ensures that Arthritis Foundation events include younger people, and fae also runs an Instagram account to share information and personal experiences. “It’s important to me that people understand that arthritis is not just an ‘old person’ disease,” Chellis said. “It’s so important for people to be educated so that they can treat people with arthritis better, especially since it is an invisible disability that can change in symptoms on a day-to-day basis.”

While it is challenging to live with arthritis, Chellis is thankful to be part of such an amazing community through the Arthritis Foundation and be recognized for faer work through the scholarship. “It feels incredible to have all my hard work acknowledged and know that as much as I care about this community, they care about me too,” fae said.

In addition to all of the arthritis advocacy that Chellis does outside of school, fae is also very involved on campus. As a participant in Wooster’s Health Coach Program, Chellis visits a local patient weekly through Wooster Community Hospital and the College’s Community Care Network partnership. “It allows me to have healthcare experience from the perspective of the caregiver.” Chellis said. “My experience with my patient is what reminds me why I want to be a doctor when I’m struggling and questioning if this is the right path.”

Chellis is also a sophomore research assistant in a biology lab, a writing consultant in the Writing Center, and sings in the Wooster Chorus. “It gives me a break from all the STEM I do on a day-to-day basis and lets me do something else I love: sing,” fae said.

It has been challenging for Chellis to transition to living on faer own, especially while living with arthritis, but fae said that her professors at Wooster have been very supportive. “As long as I communicate with my professors they are so understanding, and my friends are always willing to help me when I’m struggling,” Chellis said. “Being in an environment where I am so accepted and cared about and accommodated with no complaint has been incredible.”

Posted in News on March 7, 2023.