Ying Yu cannot sit, stand, or lay in one position for more than 30 minutes at a time. Remaining in one position is so painful for this student that she must shift her position during all of her daily activities, which includes her movements at school. Naturally, she has trouble sleeping, waking up repeatedly during the night to shift her body. Yet Yu, who is also a student from China learning English as her second language, somehow manages to maintain no less than a 4.0 grade point average.
Yu suffers from displacement of her vertebral column, a condition called spondylolisthesis, with which she was diagnosed in 2009 after a back injury at her former job as a nurse’s aide. Since then, she must visit a chiropractor, neurologist, and physical therapist four times a week.
A student with a physical disability, a language barrier, and very little family in the United States, Yu still keeps up both her spirits and her grades. Using the services and accommodations of the Center for Student Accessibility (CSA), she is able to attend classes, take her tests, and receive tutoring with a bit more comfort. Additional large chairs are provided for her so that she can shift her body as needed, giving her more flexibility in the classroom, for example.
“I cannot imagine if I didn’t get support from the CSA. It would be impossible to fulfill my dreams. The staff at the CSA helps me with my physical problems, but they also help me emotionally because I know they care about me, and I know they are there to make sure I have the tools to succeed in college,” said Yu, a Math major who is slated to graduate in May 2013. Yu is also the recipient of multiple scholarships, including one from STEAM (Science & Technology Expansion via Applied Mathematics), a CSI Student Scholarship, and another from the Rickel Foundation.
She plans to attend graduate school to obtain a PhD, applying to such schools as the CUNY Graduate Center, New York University, and Columbia University. Her goal is to work in higher education as a professor of mathematics. She also looks forward to volunteering her time to help people with disabilities, as well as Chinese people in the community who have trouble transitioning to life in the United States.
“The language barrier is a big problem. I have trouble in my classes because I have to look up so many words,” commented Yu, adding that she sometimes studies 16 hours a day.
“I have this opportunity to study at a college that I never thought I would have when I was in China. It was always my dream to go to college, and now CSI is making that dream come true,” said the student who arrived in the United States in 2006.
As part of the Center for Student Accessibility’s (CSA) “My Story” campaign, the Center will regularly highlight high-achieving students who have overcome challenges and exhibit student success, including academic advancement, co-curricular commitment and pre-professional training. The CSA is a part of the Division of Student Affairs.