Maryam Hussein

Maryam Hussein is a busy person. In addition to being a part of the Masquer's Drama Club, Circle K International Club, Tiger Media and NTID Student Congress, the second-year student loves studying and working in her major—Visual Communications Studies, with a concentration in Graphic Design.

Rochester is a long way from Hussein's hometown of Chicago, but she's happy to be at RIT where she can show what she is capable of and prove to herself and her family that she can be successful and independent.

Hussein, 20, was diagnosed with spondylolysis, a rare disease involving vertebrae in the back, when she was in 6th grade. She uses a wheelchair, and doesn't let that stop her from enjoying all RIT has to offer. With her ready smile and penchant for drama and the color purple, it's easy to see why the Masquer's Club was one of the groups that attracted her attention.

RIT/NTID's Visual Communications Studies Department offers her new things to learn every day—some of which are challenging, and that's fine with her.

"I picked that major because art and graphic design are what I love to do," says Hussein. "Working on artistic projects motivates me, and I hope to develop my skills for a job in this field in the future."

While she's not certain what kind of job she would like, she plans to get her associate degree and then pursue a bachelor's degree.

"Nothing can stop me," she says. "People think that a wheelchair would be in my way, but to me it is not a wheelchair. It's what I need to be strong and get to whatever goals I have in my life.

"If I had to pick one word to describe RIT, I would choose 'Wow,'" she says.

And the RIT community might say the same about her.

This story appeared in the Fall/Winter 2012 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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