People to Know 2013: Amanda Mezer
As young adults transition from dependence to independence, they are not always prepared for what life will bring them. I understand this well: In 1993, I was a college freshman just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and completely alone in dealing with my diagnosis.
It's why I formed Students With Diabetes, an education and social support program for young adults with diabetes. Through the organization I reconnected with Amanda Mezer, a young woman with type 1 whom I had met 12 years earlier while visiting Disney as a contestant in the 1998 Miss America pageant.
A resident of Tampa, Amanda interned for Students With Diabetes at the University of South Florida before returning to Wake Forest University and establishing a complementary chapter. "Being a part of Students With Diabetes, I am not alone with my diabetes," Amanda says. "Plus, I have a group of friends that are supportive [and who] understand me on a deep level."
Now, as a graduate student at the University of North Carolina's College of Public Health, Amanda plans to form another Students With Diabetes chapter to encourage other young adults to engage with one another and then give back. She's a leader who fully understands the importance of showing other students how to be strong, safe, capable, and independent young adults with diabetes—just as she is.
Nicole Johnson, PhD, is the founder of Students With Diabetes and executive director of the University of South Florida's Bringing Science Home.