June 11, 2020 | Betty A. Proctor | Internal Press Release
Chattanooga State student Kaitlyn Simpson was awarded the $1,000 two-year institution Tennessee Association on Higher Education and Disability (TN-AHEAD) Scholarship for 2020-2021. Kaitlyn, a Signal Mountain resident, began her matriculation at ChattState in the fall of 2019. She is a pre-pharmacy major earning Dean’s List status with a cumulative GPA of 3.764.
Earlier this year Kaitlyn submitted her winning essay to TN-AHEAD describing how she learned to focus on her abilities by explaining how her language impairment disability is not to be confused with a hearing impairment. “I hear volume normally, but sometimes cannot pick up the words,” states Kaitlyn. “This affects me if I sit further away from a teacher, if a low-pitched man is speaking to me, or if I am listening to an untrained choir, but I make a tremendous effort to listen,” she adds.
In an effort to meet her disability head-on, Kaitlyn began a self-advocacy blog as a freshman in a self-advocacy class during high school. This blog along with encouragement from her teacher helped her to love writing after years of hating it.
When Kaitlyn was beginning her first year of college, she scheduled a meeting with Chattanooga State’s Disabilities Support Services Department. Scheduled for 17 credit hours, there was some concern about her course load; however, after a closer look and because she attended a more rigorous high school, the only concern centered on her chemistry course.
Again, relying on her self-advocacy skills, Kaitlyn met with her chemistry lab professor to explain that she would learn the material, but that it would take her longer than the average person. “I felt like I needed to tell her that I was trying my best and that I am not incapable of learning information,” she recalls. Although she had a rough start, she persevered and earned an “A” in her lab with a “B” for the course.
Coping with her disability has taught Kaitlyn to ask questions at the right times, explain to others that she is listening, and positioning herself to better pick up on words being said. “I believe these skills will help me get whatever I need after college,” says an eager Kaitlyn about her future.
For more information about the Disabilities Support Services Department at Chattanooga State Community College visit https://www.chattanoogastate.edu/disability-support-services or call (423) 697-4452.