Orientation and Mobility (O&M) is a unique profession and not very well known! O&M instructors teach blind individuals how to travel (cross streets, find locations, etc.) using a long white cane and senses other than vision. Perks of being an O&M instructor include getting to walk around outside a lot (it is not a desk job), getting to be creative, and getting to be a teacher in a non-conventional teacher role. My job as the O&M Consultant is to ensure that O&M instructors working with our consumers believe that blindness is just a characteristic, that blind people are simply ordinary people who cannot see, and that instructors employ the blindfold and long white cane in O&M training.
Undergrad degree: Psychology
Favorite class in college: Personality Theory
Graduate degree: Master's degree in Educational Psychology.
College to career: I selected Psychology as my major because I found it interesting, not because I knew of a career that would use that base of knowledge. In fact, I was pretty sure at the time that I was picking a major that would most definitely NOT lead to a career! Still, the content of the major intrigued me, and it has served me well in this role.
Career influences: I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up even after I graduated from college! The second summer after I graduated college, in an effort to pay my bills, I took a temporary part time job working with blind young adults. I was responsible for ensuring that the students had their chores done so we could do something fun (eat ice cream, float the river, swim, etc.). Not a hard job to enjoy, I assure you! My enthusiasm for that job was noticed by the permanent staff, and they encouraged me to consider becoming an O&M instructor, which I knew nothing about. They gave me contact information for a few university programs, I called every single one for information, found one (Louisiana Tech) that resonated perfectly with what I believed about people's abilities, and six weeks after that temporary job ended, I was in Ruston, LA attending graduate school. Please note, I wasn't expecting a career out of a temporary job, it just happened. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown because I didn't know what my career was going to be. An opportunity I didn't even know existed presented itself, and a whole new world opened up to me.
- National Blindness Professional Certification Board ( Industry Organization )
- National Federation of the Blind ( Industry Organization )