19 Year Old Crohn’s Patient ‘Hustles Hard’ and Earns College Degree

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Nineteen-year-old Nyla Smith has recently made history, being the youngest person to receive a Bachelor of Science degree from St. John’s University, NY. And she did it all while undergoing chemotherapy.

Meeting Her Challenges Head-On



Nyla not only completed her studies, but also established her own non-profit called The Hustle Hard Campaign. Despite being diagnosed with several mental and physical disabilities (including Crohn’s Disease, IBD, severe depression, and panic disorder), she became the youngest admitted science senior at St. John’s – a challenge which prompted her to then establish her non-profit organization.

Hard Work Pays Off



The Hustle Hard Campaign encourages disadvantaged youth to pursue higher education despite their illnesses or other obstacles that may appear to them as setbacks. Nyla developed the non-profit for motivational speaking, community service, and workshops in an effort to raise awareness on what many people deem invisible illnesses and to bring attention to existing gaps in support mechanisms for both mentally and physically disabled students in today’s educational system.

Paying It Forward


Photo: Hustle Hard Campaign on Facebook

Nyla’s efforts have been recognized by not only St. John’s University, but a growing number of her peers, and her determination to proceed with her education despite counsel from both doctors and teachers alike is now being realized in the form of scholarships which The Hustle Hard Campaign will be awarding for the first time, this fall (2016). These scholarships will enable like students the opportunity to attend college while undergoing treatments.

A Great Act to Follow


Photo: Hustle Hard Campaign on Facebook

For more information about Nyla Smith and The Hustle Hard Campaign (whose mantra, incidentally is “…each individual possesses the ability to be successful with a sense of purpose, strong faith, and a positive attitude,”) or to request a speaking engagement for your local students, please visit her website at

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