Donna Posont arrived to University of Michigan-Dearborn as a blind, nontraditional student.
Needless to say, Donna faced some challenges early on in her college career.
That includes learning how to operate a computer with speech software in order to communicate with her professors.
But Donna wouldn’t let anything stand in the way of her dreams. So she pressed on toward her goal of sharing her love of nature with other blind people.
“By pursuing my dream of learning nature and sharing the information, I also had instilled confidence in blind children that they could be successful at interacting with their natural environment,” she said. “I have made a difference in the lives of others by providing opportunities and activities that have increased their awareness of the world they live in.”
That’s why Donna earned the title of “Difference Maker.”
In her pursuit of educating blind people about nature, Donna established a “Birding by Ear” class at the University’s Environmental Interpretive Center (EIC).
Her work not only has benefited blind people, but also has inspired many among the campus community.
“She is an inspiration because of her love of learning and her willingness to manage her learning against numerous obstacles,” said Orin Gelderloos, professor of biology and environmental sciences. “Donna is blind and has made a great difference in how all slighted people who interact with her ‘see’ the world All these activities with the blind are done at her initiative and on her own time, while being a student, a parent and a grandparent.”
Donna has a couple more years of school left, but she knows where she wants to end up after graduation.
“My dream career is to be able to live outside for as much of the year as possible,” she said. “I either want to be sharing nature with others, or to be involved in planning programming to share nature.”