Many Wright State staff and faculty members go above and beyond their normal job duties to help students.
One of them is Katherine Myers, an assistive technology specialist in the Office of Disability Services, who recently received several significant awards.
Myers was selected for inclusion in an upcoming edition in the Women of Distinction Magazine, a national publication for professional women.
She also received the highest level of distinction by Oxford Who’s Who, winning a “Tier of Excellence” Lifetime Achievement Award, in addition to the Worldwide Distinguished Humanitarian Award from Worldwide Branding.
Myers received her Bachelor of Science degree in rehabilitation education in 1994 and a master’s in rehabilitation counseling in severe disability in 2005 from Wright State.
Her son Rob inspired her to pursue a career in rehabilitation and technology. He is quadriplegic and is non-oral. After started using a device to help him speak, Myers decided she wanted to help others with disabilities learn how to communicate and perform better through technologic assistance.
“My son received his first computerized communication device in 1990. I literally fell in love with the technology,” said Myers. “When I went to different training programs … the therapists and the teachers were not well trained on the devices. I decided instead of designing equipment for people with disabilities, I really wanted to train people with disabilities how to use the equipment.”
In the Office of Disability Services, Myers helps locate appropriate technology and software that suits the students’ needs. She may need to have a textbook translated into Braille or a larger font size or program a communication device to customize a student’s vocabulary for a class like public speaking.
“I am responsible for working with students with all types of disabilities and finding software or hardware to help them be more independent in and out of the classroom,” said Myers. “If a student has a reading disability I would work with them on software that would read their textbooks to them and allow them to highlight their material on the screen as they are reading.”
“Since I work with students with all types of disabilities, I have to constantly be able to change gears,” she said. “What works for one student does not always work for another.”
During her 23 years at Wright State, Myers has had many roles in the Office of Disability Services. She also serves on committees communicating and assisting the work on the electronic accessibility for the campus.
“When I started at Wright State, one thing I found was an easy connection with parents,” she said. “They would see his (my son’s) picture in my office and realize very quickly that I understood their concerns and where they were emotionally. I understood the battles they had been through because I am also a parent of a severely disabled child.”
Myers said her son has a wonderful personality and a smile that lights up a room.
“He also has a tremendous sense of humor,” she said. “He helped prepare me for the challenges of working with students with disabilities and their families.”
Myers does not know who nominated her but is honored for the recognition.
“I was very surprised and very humbled by it. Personally, I don’t think I do anything that is all that special,” she said.
Myers said her faith is one thing that helps her meet the challenges she has experienced. “Without it, I would not be able to do anything. It is what keeps me strong,” she said. “The second thing is this: It’s all about the students.”