Tiffany Wild -  Ohio State University

Photo: Tiffany Wild, NCLVI Fellow

Hello!  My name is Tiffany Wild and I began my journey into the field of visual impairments as a junior high science teacher in 2001.  I was asked to teach the inclusion classes, which I happily accepted.  It was during those first years of teaching that I met two young men with visual impairments.  The boys were reading centimeters away from their textbooks.  On cloudy days, when the lighting was terrible in my room, they gave up trying to read altogether.  The boys were writing with their eyes very closely to their papers and I became concerned with them getting too close to their stubby pencils and jamming their eyes as they concentrated so hard to complete assignments.  

I had no idea how to teach them.  During parent-teacher conferences, I carefully asked parents about their child’s condition and how I should help.  The parents did not seem to have any more information than what their child had given me.  I asked for guidance from other teachers and administrators but never got a clear answer of what should be done.  

I left that school feeling helpless and frustrated.  I went to a private school, only to learn that the law does not mandate that students with special needs receive services.  I felt this needed to be changed!

I found an advertisement in the back of a teaching magazine for Dr. Anne Corn’s program at Vanderbilt University for a master’s program in visual impairments.  I called her the next day.  Within a few months of that initial phone conversation, I was working towards a master’s degree in visual impairments.  

As I work in the field of visual impairments with many families and students, I have come to learn of their many needs.  I have spoken with them about the injustices they face and the things they would like to have changed.  I began to realize that I wanted to become part of a legislative solution.  These students deserve the best we can give them! 

I believe that a doctoral degree in public policy of the visually impaired will allow me to learn the skills needed to make an impact in state or federal legislation.  I need to study the research in order to make my statements grounded and accurate within the community of persons with visual impairments and their families.  I want to learn public policy procedures and learn how best to make my voice heard.  

A National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairments Fellowship will allow me to gain the necessary skills at the doctoral level to make this a reality.  Through the NCLVI fellowship, I look forward to meeting other greet contributors to this field such as the ones I met at the Jo Taylor Leadership Conference in Boston this past March.  These contributors  continue to inspire me to make a difference.  I believe that the knowledge gained through my studies, and through the many experiences the fellowship will allow, will make me a better policy maker and continue to fuel my desire to represent a group of individuals I have come to care so deeply about.  

August , 2008

Completed the Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) from The Ohio State University - see completed doctorate