Stephen F. Austin State University

News

SFA graduate student receives Mike Shirley Orientation and Mobility Student Award

April 27, 2017 - University Marketing Communications
Jillian Daigle, a Stephen F. Austin State University graduate student from Magnolia, has been awarded the Mike Shirley Orientation and Mobility Student Award for 2017. During the Texas Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired conference, SFA instructor Heather Munro, right, presented Daigle with the award.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Jillian Daigle, a Stephen F. Austin State University graduate student from Magnolia, has been awarded the Mike Shirley Orientation and Mobility Student Award for 2017.

This award is presented to an orientation and mobility student or consumer who showed extraordinary determination and courage as they endeavored to learn and maintain the skills needed to be an independent traveler to the highest degree possible.

"It means a lot to me to win this award. I am very grateful, blessed and honored," Daigle said.

During the past eight months, Daigle explained she has had multiple surgeries regarding her vision.

"I have managed with a lot of help and support from my family and wonderful professors at SFA to stay in school during all of this while still holding a 4.0 GPA," Daigle said.

Michael Munro, director for SFA's visual impairment and orientation and mobility program, nominated Daigle for the award, which was presented to her at the Texas Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired conference.

"Jillian has shown an awe-inspiring amount of courage during the past year. She is an excellent student," Munro said. "Amazingly, in spite of several eye emergencies, Jillian has managed to continue her studies at an extremely high level and work toward her goal to serve our field. Her story is one of bravery and fortitude."

In addition to receiving the award at the TAER conference, Daigle also presented research alongside Michael and Heather Munro, SFA instructor in the Department of Human Services and chair of the orientation and mobility division of TAER. Heather presented Daigle with the award.

"I was genuinely honored to present this award to Jillian. We become close with our students in this program each year, but Jillian has become especially dear to me and our family," Heather said. "I've been able to advise and mentor her, listen to her worries about life after graduation and step in as local 'family' when needed."

Daigle is pursuing her master's degree in special education with a concentration in orientation and mobility. She plans to graduate in August 2017.

"What drew me to this field of study was when I lost my vision," Daigle said. "Going through orientation and mobility training changed my life and gave me my confidence and independence back. I want to help others who are going through the same thing."