Blindness, he says, won’t keep him from doing the things he loves.
I’m legally blind. I have aniridia, which means I was born without irises. You know how eye doctors dilate your eyes? My eyes are pretty much always dilated, so I can’t control how much light comes in. It also affected the development of my eyes, which caused other issues as well.
My family had to learn on the fly, but they’ve always been there to encourage me and let me try anything I want without limitations. I played soccer when I was younger, baseball and everything. It was a challenge because I couldn’t see a whole lot, of course, but they were always there to cheer me on.
I can participate in college life just like anyone else.David Kopp
Their advocacy and belief in me were critical in developing belief in myself. I knew I wanted to study civil engineering, so that put Purdue at the top of my list. When I came for a visit, I could see myself living here, going to school here. That settled it for me.
On top of that, the Disability Resource Center is always there, ready to provide anything I need. I can do whatever anyone else can — academic, extracurricular, whatever. I’m pretty positive, and being that way helps my confidence. But when you can get that support and positivity from others as well, like I do with the DRC, it really helps build on that confidence. Now, I feel like I can participate in college life just like anybody else.
Positivity, by the way, is something I’m really good at. You’ve got to be able to work hard, especially in engineering. And resilience is important because at times, it’s tough. Having a positive attitude and resilience help me get through it.
A lot of people are hesitant to ask about my vision. I say, “Always ask.” Don’t assume I can’t see something or participate in something. I’d rather have the conversation than miss out on something I could have been a part of. People with disabilities, there’s a lot we can do. It might be a little different how we get it done, but we can still do it.
People with disabilities, there’s a lot we can do. It might be a little different how we get it done, but we can still do it.David Kopp
Early advocacy paved way for Purdue’s thriving Disability Resource Center
It’s a source of endless pride for early advocates that today’s Boilermakers with disabilities have ample opportunities to succeed.
Small Steps of Purdue
There’s no one way to be a Boilermaker. Read these Boilermakers’ stories of persistence.
Pete’s story: I’ve been where you are
I used the DRC as a student. Now I work there, getting students access to the services they need.
Mikaela’s story: I didn’t have an IEP. I got help anyway.
I never needed accommodations until my sophomore year, but the DRC didn’t hesitate to offer the help I needed.
Madeline’s story: Crohn’s gave me a passion
My experience with Crohn’s is the reason I’m studying to be a pharmacist.
Em’s story: Advocating for self-acceptance
Once I finally got on board with my ADHD diagnosis, it felt like I was embracing myself.
Grace’s story: Determined to succeed
People often question my abilities. But once they get to know me, they see I have solid ideas.
Daniella’s story: Dyslexia is my superpower
Early on, there was a disconnect with everything that I read. In third grade, I was diagnosed with dyslexia.