Krista Waters, an exceptional and vibrant individual in FSCJ’s Vision Education and Rehabilitation Center (VERC), was recently selected to receive a $2,500 PLAYERS scholarship to be used toward completing her associate degree.
Krista was born with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) which led to her loss of vision due to glaucoma. In addition to being completely blind, Krista also developed a hearing impairment around the age of 12 requiring her to wear hearing aids in both ears. Despite these unimaginable challenges, Krista has successfully managed to graduate from the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, move out on her own and achieve a 3.5 GPA as a full-time student.
“My motivation, work ethic and perseverance have helped me in the past, and I know that all of these along with this scholarship will bring me to a new level of success,” said Krista Waters. “I attribute my success at FSCJ to VERC and the professors who encourage me to strive for excellence.”
Krista began school with the goal of becoming a paralegal. However, at the guidance and advice of a respected professor decided to pursue a degree in early childhood education management to become an elementary special education teacher. Her professor felt Krista would thrive as a teacher given her ability to work with a variety of different people and circumstances. Her experiences and struggles with her own disabilities have motivated her to earn her bachelor’s degree to help teach students that they can succeed and prosper despite the challenges they face.
“Krista is a focused, conscientious student in the classroom and a ready volunteer for assisting others with visual impairments to reach their potential,” said Carolyn Wiltse, vision rehab training specialist. “She was a key volunteer instructor with our teenage transition students this summer. The knowledge and skills she has developed through VERC, in the areas of orientation and mobility, independent living skills and technology, have provided her with a sound basis for achieving success at FSCJ and eventual career goals.”
“I decided to become a volunteer for VERC because of my own personal experience with the program,” said Krista. “I was one of the first transition students in 2003 when VERC began their program and I felt that I could give back to the students who come after me. “
Through VERC, Krista will be able to receive the assistance she needs and excel in her studies at FSCJ. VERC, formerly known as the Independent Living for Adult Blind (ILAB) program, is a community-based rehabilitation program for adults and high school students with blindness or visual impairment. For more on VERC, visit fscj.edu/verc.