Cori Fischer

(Scholarship Recipient)

Cori Fischer will soon be making her mark in the medical field. Her long list of academic and scholastic achievements has landed her a scholarship to Gannon University as well as The Ability Center’s college scholarship in collaboration with the Auxiliary to The Ability Center. A grad of Southview, she took every opportunity to get involved, give back to her community, and inspire others living with disabilities.In her scholarship essay, "This Will Not Define Me" Cori shares, “My disability affects my life in ways that most are unable to truly understand, that is unless they have a disability. I was born with a mild form of spastic diplegia cerebral palsy.

I went from being a competitive gymnast to having difficulty walking. I was scared, embarrassed, and very self-conscious. It's very hard to look at my legs and feel like they are mine. I try so hard to control them, but no matter how hard I try, they just don't work like they used to. It's nerve-racking because I continue to have new symptoms, so I just don't know what to expect. However, I do know one thing about spastic diplegia, these 15 letters have made an incredible mark on my life.”

She credits her disability for making her the strong and driven person she is today.“Thank you, spastic diplegia, for showing me that life doesn't have to be easy for it to be good! Thank you for showing me how to speak up, even if I am afraid. Thank you for teaching me how to appreciate the things I used to take for granted. Thank you for showing me how determined and strong I can be even when things are headed in the wrong direction. Thank you for showing me that I can accomplish/overcome any barrier. standing in my way. Thank you for showing me how to thrive despite many obstacles. Thank you for showing me my future passion of being a pediatric occupational therapist,” Cori explains.

Her goal is to take lessons she learned in the classroom and apply them to help others living with disabilities live a thriving life. She explains, “This disability has provided me with a career path that I may have not even known existed. Because of my experiences, I have a unique perspective and empathetic understanding that is quite different than most.”

As a volunteer for Friendship Circle, Cori cooks, crafts, bowls with a person with autism. Through the program, Cori explains, “We help them complete tasks that they may need help with and also help them cope with any difficulties that they are having. We are always there for them when they need someone to talk to.”

She finds this work rewarding and great practice for her future career as an Occupational Therapist. She was recently accepted to and will begin classes in the fall. Cori hopes to collect these experiences and benefit those living with similar disability and show them to live independently, set goals, and achieve great success.

Her scholarship references explain, “She advocates for herself and works hard for everything! She has my highest recommendation.”

Her accolades revolve around service to others as well as scholarship achievement, she has been named on the National Honor Society Honor Roll every year, chairperson of Community Service Med Tech Class and professional development. Cori was even recognized with the Chuck Ealey Undefeated Spirit award.“Cori’s ability to multitask and balance her time are both indicators that she is dedicated to many causes and her schooling.”

She says, “Through my volunteer work and future career, I aspire to provide others with the same creative problem solving, hope and encouragement that I received, and raise more awareness for movement disorders of all types.”