Special Needs Sibling Scholarship Winner: Joey Wikol
Over the past 25 years, Knapp & Roberts law firm has aligned their name and provided contributions to organizations and causes that align with their values. By reading their Giving Back page, you will see a list of organizations that represent these values, ranging from those serving their local community, including St. Vincent de Paul and the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix, as well as charities that affect people across the U.S., including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Special Olympics.
In an effort to build upon the causes nearest to their heart, Knapp & Roberts created the Knapp & Roberts Foundation, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to helping and enhancing the lives of those who need it most – both close to home and nation wide.
Although Knapp & Roberts Law Firm supports a wide range of causes, there is one that remains very important to founders Craig Knapp and Dana Roberts – and that’s their commitment to helping those with special needs and their families. As a result, Knapp & Roberts Foundation created two scholarships awarding students who share their passion and saw the importance of serving the special needs community.
One scholarship seeks a student with a special needs sibling who is pursuing a degree at a college and Knapp & Roberts is excited to introduce the first place winner of that scholarship, Joey Wikol. Congratulations, Joey!
Here is a short Q&A with Joey:
Please tell us about yourself and your accomplishments.
I recently graduated from Kennett High School in Southeastern Pennsylvania where I was very involved in the National Honor Society, the Special Friends Club and the high school soccer team for 4 years. I was in charge of managing finances as NHS treasurer, and I initiated and ran a soccer group as Special Friends Club Vice President. Outside of school, I have been involved in a volunteer organization called TOPSoccer for eight years. TOPSoccer is a community program where special needs children can work with volunteer “buddies” who help them learn and play the game of soccer. I was recognized as the 2015 TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year for the state of DE. Also, the summer after my junior year I completed a volunteer internship at the University of Delaware pediatric mobility lab. This lab houses “GoBabyGo” a program that modifies ride-on cars for preschool age children with disabilities so they are more mobile and social. During my internship, I helped design a new steering system, prototyped a soccer attachment and assisted in managerial processes. At graduation, I was awarded the Raymond M. Moynihan Trophy for my display of athletic ability, academic achievement and outstanding school service and the Congressman Patrick Meehan Good Citizen Award for exhibiting characteristics of leadership, courage and scholarship. I am now a freshman studying Engineering at my dream school, the University of Michigan.
Please tell us your family’s story.
I am the oldest of three kids. I live in a suburb of Philadelphia with my Mom and Dad along with my 15 year old sister named Ellie and my 12 year old brother named Billy. Ellie was diagnosed with autism and other disabilities at a young age. Ellie is typically a happy girl. She loves to swim. She spends most of her time in the water when we vacation with my grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins at the NJ shore and at a lake in Northern Michigan. My brother is higher functioning but also on the spectrum. He loves playing soccer, doing Boy Scout events and playing Pokémon. Some of the things we enjoy doing together as a family include going to church, participating in TOPSoccer, watching movies and cooking.
What made you pursue a degree in biomedical engineering?
I have strong skills in math and science and I like the idea of creating new things so I know engineering is a good fit for me. I chose Biomedical Engineering because it is a growing field with many job opportunities and I think I will be able to continue to contribute to the special needs community with this degree.
What do you plan to do with your degree?
Right now I am not sure what I may end up doing after I graduate college but I would like to have a sense of purpose in my career. I think combining my talent in math and science with my interest in helping others like my siblings is a way for me to fulfill my purpose. I feel engineering could give me a strong foundation no matter what career I decide to pursue and will enable me to help others in whatever I do.
Thank you for sharing your family’s story with us, Joey! We loved hearing how you applied your passion for engineering and helping those with special needs. We wish you the best of luck in your future!
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