Student Spotlight: Reganne O’Brien

photo of Reganne O'Brien

Life is full of ups and downs. There are bumps, twists, and turns that would make the average person stop and re-evaluate their goals and trajectory. A chronic illness can send even the best laid plans into a new direction. 

Meet Reganne O’Brien – A master’s student in epidemiology, ready to graduate from the College of Public Health, and the founder and executive director of “The Warrior in Her” foundation. O’Brien earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Gannon University, in Erie, PA, despite being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, a chronic inflammatory disease of the large intestine, during her freshman year.

photo from The Warrior in Her Gala

She had to navigate a road filled with complications and the unknown. Incredibly, during her treatments, she found the time and energy to start a successful non-profit called “The Warrior in Her”. “I wanted to help college girls with gastrointestinal illness, as well as others with chronic illnesses such as auto immune disease and cancer, to ease their financial burden,” says O’Brien.  To date, over 150 women have been served by the foundation. “Through money raised, we provide scholarships and care packages to women in need,” she adds.

photo of group holding signs

When asked about her future plans, O’Brien states, “I want to continue to help other women with chronic and autoimmune diseases by continuing my academic studies to earn and get my Ph.D. This will give me the opportunity to research women with chronic illness and help improve their quality of life. Easing their financial burden is important to me, so the disease doesn’t stop them from living a good life.” 

For more information on The Warrior in Her and ways you can help, visit

POSTED: Friday, December 8, 2023 01:14 PM
Updated: Friday, December 8, 2023 01:25 PM