Abigail Lanier, Mentor Coordinator
Blindness, like many other disabilities, is often viewed as a negative characteristic for members of our society. Although it continues to create numerous obstacles in Abigail Lanier’s life, she chooses to consider it a positive quality about herself. Diagnosed at age four with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she lives with a gradual deterioration of her retina, viewing the world through an ever changing lens of colors and foggy shapes.
Abigail attributes much of her philosophy and positive attitude towards her disability to her mother, an educator and interpreter for the deaf. Her mother’s support and motivation to advocate for herself have prompted Abigail to achieve goals others might deem unattainable. Learning to view her disability as merely a portion of her identity is one of the many valuable lessons her mother has taught her.
A transplant to New York from North Carolina, Abigail strives to educate the public on persons with disabilities through her hobbies and work. She received a BS in Music Industry Studies and a minor in General Business from Appalachian State University in May of 2014. Abigail divides her time at Learning Ally among serving as the College Success Program’s mentorship coordinator, contributing her skills with audio and recording to the production process of Learning Ally’s audio books and mentoring students. She is interested in audio production for journalistic podcasts, and was a 2014 New Voices Scholar at the Third Coast Audio Conference in Chicago. As a long distance runner, she is a member of Achilles International, an organization promoting mainstream athletics for people with disabilities. She has competed in several national half and whole marathons and triathlons. Often people are surprised at how she lives such an active lifestyle, and she hopes to teach others that the quality of life for a person with a disability should never be viewed as less than that of an able bodied person. Abigail faces the challenges of living with a disability by living life to the fullest.