University: University of Alabama- Birmingham
Major: Doctorate of Physical Therapy
Desired Career: Physical therapist
Hobbies: Being in the great outdoors – whether it’s running, hiking, or out on the water, wake-boarding at the lake; painting or refurbishing furniture; and spending time with family and friends
Favorite Things to Hear: Music / live concerts (especially NEEDTOBREATHE), the voice of my dad when he sings, the sounds of the ocean, and the voices of my family, friends, and loved one
Words of Wisdom: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Jessica was born with severe-profound hearing loss. She said as soon as she was diagnosed her parents began researching technological and therapy options that would give her the greatest potential to hear.
She received her first Cochlear Implant when she was just shy of her third birthday, becoming one of the first children in the US with a severe-profound hearing loss to receive a Cochlear Implant.
“Although I don’t clearly remember the process, my language and speech soared upon hearing with my CI,” Jessica said.
She received her second Cochlear Implant at age 10, and said she appreciates how the devices have opened up a world of speech and sound.
“When I think of how my Cochlear Implants have impacted me, I think of one word: opportunity,” she said. “Because of my Cochlear Implants and the opportunities opened to me in this world of sound and speech, I am able to pursue my passion to serve others as I study for my Doctorate of Physical Therapy. I am able to enjoy meaningful relationships with my family, friends, loved ones, and other wonderful people I meet throughout the course of my life.”
After working with physical therapists and an exercise physiologist to recover from two knee injuries in high school, Jessica became motivated to help others rehabilitate through a career in physical therapy.
“With the journey I walked from silence to sound, coupled with my knee injuries, I feel like my God-given calling is to pursue my Doctorate of Physical Therapy so I can use my passion to serve others,” she said.
Jessica cites her parents as her biggest inspiration.
“Both of my parents are the most generous, graceful, and courageous people I know,” she said.
“It is okay to feel like you are different – but instead of focusing on how you are different, let your difference empower you to do what you dream of doing. When you accept who you are and celebrate your uniqueness, you’ll have the kind of confidence as an individual to compel you to your personal best. With hard work and time, you may accomplish the things you dreamed of doing.”
To learn more or apply for a Cochlear scholarship, visit www.Cochlear.com/US/Scholarship.