Katherine Margolin (New Jersey)
School: Montclair State University
Hometown: Fort Lee
Hi! My name is Katherine Margolin and I am currently a sophomore majoring in chemistry at Montclair State University. Since the beginning of my junior year in high school, I was committed to the United States Air Force Academy to compete Division 1 gymnastics. I was in basic cadet training at the United States Air Force Academy a few days after graduating high school when my symptoms came on. My symptoms kept getting gradually worse, and eventually I was sent to a hospital where I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and immediately put on a biologic. Since IBD is a disqualification in the military, I was discharged shortly after and came home with no college to attend in the fall. I felt rushed to quickly adjust to my new life with IBD. Not only was I unable to attend my dream school, I could not compete the sport I loved. I enrolled at a university close to my house to be able to go to school and simultaneously learn how to manage my IBD. My friends and family were not aware of IBD and had a hard time understanding how the diagnosis would affect my life. I started slowly learning about how little is actually known about IBD. As I'm adjusting to my new reality, I want to help advocate and educate young people to be aware of IBD and the problems faced that would never cross a teenager's mind. I'm passionate about creating a supportive environment for people living with IBD to achieve their goals without being limited by their diagnosis.