Jelica Bruer Nuccio

Last February, while addressing the RIT/NTID community, Jelica Bruer Nuccio, NTID’s Distinguished Alumna for 2005, was confidently reflective.

“All of us have high hopes,” the 1988 College of Science graduate in Biology said. “It’s good to have hope. It’s very important to understand and pay attention to your needs also.”

Bruer Nuccio explained that her vision loss was first discovered at NTID, and that she went through a lot of grief because she didn’t tell any one about it at first.

“Open communication is the key,” she said. “My true friends—especially my husband, Vincent —stayed with me, and I discovered that Deaf-Blind has an identity.”

Today, as executive director of the Deaf-Blind Service Center in Seattle, Wash., Bruer Nuccio, who has Usher’s Syndrome, leads an organization assisting Deaf-Blind people to reach and maintain their highest possible quality of life and degree of personal autonomy.

In 1996 Bruer Nuccio earned her master’s degree in Public Health in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from Emory University. That same year, she received NTID’s Edmund Lyon Memorial Lectureship Award as outstanding female professional in the field of science.

She has worked as a research specialist and certified cytogenetic technician at Emory, as program coordinator for pediatricians at the Child Health Institute at the University of Washington in Seattle, and as an employment placement specialist for both the Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Helen Keller National Center.

From 2000 to 2004 Bruer Nuccio served on NTID’s National Advisory Group. She is past president of the Georgia Association of Deaf-Blind and the Washington State Deaf- Blind Citizens organization, and past board member of the American Association of the Deaf-Blind. She received the Outstanding Deaf-Blind Citizen Award of Leadership from the Helen Keller National Center, Southeast Region.

“NTID provided me with exceptional role models,” said Bruer Nuccio. “We must support it, so that it can provide great role models to future generations of deaf, hard-of-hearing, and Deaf-Blind students as well.”

This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2006 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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