Despite Struggles with Chronic Illnesses, DU Grad Persists

Despite Struggles with Chronic Illnesses, DU Grad Persists

After six years of hard work, persistence and countless struggles with her autoimmune diseases, South Hills native Gabrielle Solarczyk-Wallace is ready to graduate.  

She was diagnosed with Lupus at age 14 and has dealt with other autoimmune problems, procedures and surgeries throughout her life-many of which came during her years at Duquesne.   Despite that, Solarczyk-Wallace will graduate with her Bachelor of Arts in English with a writing concentration and a minor in psychology during Duquesne's winter commencement ceremony at 2 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20.  

She started her undergraduate career at Duquesne in 2013 as a forensic science major, but had to take several semesters off and medically withdrawal due to health complications. When she was able to return to campus, she switched gears and decided to pursue creative writing and psychology.  

"I did a lot of reflecting on what I wanted to do with my life," Solarczyk-Wallace recalls. "I wanted to do more. I wanted to help other chronically ill people. I also knew I loved to write and wanted to tell my story."   Solarczyk-Wallace is an advocate for the Lupus community and aspires to work professionally as a mental health counselor for children with chronic illnesses like hers. She hopes to get her non-profit organization Hope for Lupus Society up and running in the next few years.  

Upon her graduation from Duquesne, she will pursue a master's degree in professional counseling at Carlow University.  

If you are interested in interviewing Solarczyk-Wallace for a story, email me at stocke@duq.edu.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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