Two Years Later: A Swaiman Scholarship Recipient Reflects
Two Years Later: A Swaiman Scholarship Recipient Reflects
Child Neurology Foundation Scholarships Alyssa Edwards (5)
Alyssa Edwards and Dr. Alexander Cohen

Alyssa Edwards and Dr. Alexander Cohen

Reflecting on the journey that has unfolded over the past few years, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and inspired to further explore my passion in child neurology. The Child Neurology Foundation (CNF) grant has not only supported my financial needs but also catalyzed a transformative growth in my career, offering me opportunities that have reshaped my outlook on pediatric neurology.

The CNF conference, a pivotal moment made possible through the scholarship, was an eye-opener. It connected me with leading experts passionate about making a difference in the lives of children with neurological conditions.

I realized the power of community and collaboration in advancing our collective knowledge and driving meaningful research forward. This experience reinforced my belief in the importance of continuous learning and the value of sharing insights for the greater good.

Mentorship is another important pillar of this scholarship and, as I’ve learned, it goes beyond the acquisition of technical skills; it’s about nurturing one’s character, honing critical thinking, and embracing the challenges that come with research. My mentor through this process has been Dr. Alexander Cohen and he has been nothing short of inspiring.  Dr. Cohen’s guidance through the complexities of coding and research methodologies has been invaluable but his wisdom and support have been instrumental in my growth as both a researcher and a future physician.

Child Neurology Foundation Summer Scholarships (1)

Applications for the 2024 Swaiman Scholarship are currently closed. Confirmation of receipt will be sent to all applicants. If confirmation is not received within 2 business days, please call Nyechi Oleka at 859.551.4986. Applications will be reviewed by a committee of child neurology faculty. All applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision by May 17.

For more details on the application process, reach out to Nyechi Oleka, CNF Programs Coordinator, at [email protected]

The CNF scholarship also brought to light the critical issues of diversity and inclusion within the field of child neurology. Attending the CNF Conference in Cincinnati was a transformative experience, offering a platform to engage with and learn from individuals committed to making healthcare more equitable and accessible. This has only deepened my resolve to advocate for those who are marginalized and to strive for a healthcare system that acknowledges and addresses the disparities faced by individuals with developmental disabilities.

I can attest to the impact of the Swaiman Scholarship and how it has helped shape my future in child neurology but why it is so special is because it is more than just financial support; the Child Neurology Foundation and these scholarship programs open doors to a world of possibilities, connections, and a community dedicated to advancing child neurology.

Looking back at my own path—from exploring the genetic foundations of autism and cancer to conducting research in Ghana and volunteering with the Ohio Special Olympics—I am reminded of why I embarked on this journey. My cousin, who lives with an intellectual developmental disorder, and the children I’ve met along the way, are constant reminders of the real impact our work can have. They drive me to pursue excellence in my studies and research, with the hope of contributing to a world where every child can receive the care and support they deserve.

As I continue my work with Dr. Cohen and look toward the future, I am excited for what lies ahead. The challenges of today will become the breakthroughs of tomorrow, and I am committed to being part of that journey. The CNF grant has been a cornerstone of my development, and I am eager to give back to the community that has given me so much. Together, we can pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive future in child neurology.

Alyssa Edwards, MPH

Alyssa Edwards is rising third year medical student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She holds an MPH as well as a BA in cognitive science and a minor in psychology from Case Western Reserve University. Alyssa’s past and current research interests are in autism spectrum disorder, neuroimaging, global health, and health disparities inindividuals with developmental disabilities.

Prior to starting medical school, she has had a diverse background in research: from tracing the underlying causes of Autism using cerebral organoids at the Jackson Laboratory, looking at genetic markers associated with prostate cancer through the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, to traveling to Ghana where she spent three months researching biomarkers associated with resistance to malaria.

Alyssa’s initial motivations for neurodevelopmental research stemmed from growing up with her cousin who has an intellectual developmental disorder. This passion further led her to spend over 500+ hours volunteering for Ohio Special Olympics. Her involvement in Special Olympics showed her how providing intimate personal connections is just as important as discovering scientific breakthroughs, and it is her desire to continue these types of relationships with her patients in the future.

She is currently working with Dr. Alexander Cohen at Boston Children’s Hospital on a study where she will use coordinate network mapping to determine brain networks most associated with stimulant use in patients with ADHD. Alyssa is excited for a career in which she can continue to follow her passions for neurodevelopmental disabilities with hopes of making a significant impact in the field of child neurology.

About Child Neurology Foundation

The Child Neurology Foundation (CNF) is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting children and their families living with neurologic conditions. Our vision is to create a world in which all children affected by neurologic disorders reach their full potential. We work closely with families, healthcare professionals, researchers, and advocacy groups to provide essential resources, foster connections, and drive research and innovation in the field of child neurology.

For more information, please visit our homepage at or contact us at [email protected].

Together, we can make a difference!

Share on social media:

Start typing and press Enter to search

Shopping Cart