Success can often be defined by reaching personal accomplishments and goals, but for many, it’s not only what you achieve on your own, but how you inspire others along the way. For Kerry Lueders, a family member in the blindness and low vision field pointed her towards a lifetime of serving others. Growing up, she was no stranger to telescopes and low vision simulators; she enjoyed conducting science experiments focused on the eye and vision impairment, which generated an interest in studying Orientation and Mobility (O&M)
as an adult.
In her senior year at Wittenberg University studying psychology, Ms. Lueders observed various classes at an agency working closely with the visually impaired – this experience, in due time, inspired her life's work. She applied and was accepted to the O&M program at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, and upon graduating in 1999, obtained her certificate as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI). She recognized the growing need for low vision education in elementary schools, which moved her to also acquire a certificate in Low Vision Rehabilitation. Before long, she was offered a faculty position at Salus, and currently serves as director of the Low Vision Rehabilitation program
, while also providing these therapy services to patients at The Eye Institute.
When asked why she ultimately chose academia, Ms. Lueders commented, “Teaching allows me to give back to the field as far as preparing future professionals, but also work closely with those that have visual impairments.” She considers herself a guide for students, drawing from their personal and professional experiences. “Our students enter the program with in-depth field experience, and due to the fact that our classes have an interprofessional component, I’m able to draw from each discipline and profession in order to become a better educator myself,” she noted.
Aside from being a stickler for spelling, she’d like to be remembered as having improved the lives of those with low vision, whether that’s through direct service to patients or the future professionals she trains. According to Ms. Lueders, “Investing in yourself is the greatest investment of all,” which holds true to her personal and professional history as well as the students she educates.
Learn More About the Low Vision Rehabilitation Program