When Susan Gjolmesli was a high school and college student, the Americans with Disabilities Act was still decades away and the pervasive mindset about people with physical and psychological disabilities remained arcane.
As she studied for a career as a teacher and simultaneously dealt with increasing blindness due to a genetic condition that slowly sapped her vision, Gjolmesli was constantly underestimated and even discriminated against because of her condition.
“People didn’t think I would make it in education,” she said. “Because of my blindness.”
After beginning her career in disability services at the Department of Services for the Blind, Gjolmesli took an unconventional detour to a horticulture school in Colorado, where she again found an instructor uneducated on the functionality of people with disabilities and a system unwilling to integrate technology to assist them.
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