Technology & Independence
One of my greatest passions is using technology to engage older individuals with a disability towards discovery and independence, especially in the digital world. I have worked hard to grow a toolbox of skills, including going back to school to receive a B.S. in vocational technical education with an emphasis on computer instruction and a certificate in library information science technology. Both of these accomplishments have been a huge asset in helping others and making my dream a reality.
In the 70’s I received training on personal computers. I fell in love with computers and way they can empower people. I used these skills while working as a technical support specialist and in the hospital field, where I facilitated computer productivity trainings and set up databases.
Eight years later, I developed carpal tunnel syndrome that morphed into severe rheumatoid arthritis, which challenged my professional and personal ambitions. I had suffered great loss of hand functionality because of acute deformity. Eventually, my injury caused me to lose my job and lose hope about mastering computing skills. Medically, I couldn’t return to operating computers the way I had done before. I worried that my dreams and ideas in the technical world were at an end.
Then one day, I was volunteering at a science museum and I discovered accessible technology! Various products such as Dragon Naturally Speaking were being exhibited and demonstrated. This experience helped me find the courage to redefine my life and enter back into the computing world. I decided to “take my life by the horns.” This is when I decided to go back to school and use my passion for technology in a different way. Between vocational rehabilitation, my family, and a progressive school disability services, I was successful.
For the next ten years, I went on to run computer labs, work at Intel, and be an accessibility technology assistant. I mentor students with disabilities to succeed in STEM. My toolbox of skills will help me achieve anything I set my mind to, and with my recent certification, I plan on following my passion of helping individuals find independence through technology.