Auger & Auger is proud to announce that Rachel Blevins is one of the recipients of our Fall Semester Disabled Scholar Award, worth $1,000 each. These scholarships are presented twice a year to high-achieving students across America who have overcome their disability and achieved excellence in both the classroom and their community.
Rachel was born with a rare disorder called Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). This condition causes her skin to be very fragile; even the slightest trauma can cause blisters. During one such blistering episode as a newborn, the surface of Rachel’s eyes were damaged. As a result, she is visually impaired due to corneal scarring. Before she even reached kindergarten, she had 10 reconstructive surgeries to improve her mobility.
Yet, Rachel refuses to use these hardships as a tool to elicit sympathy from those around her. Rather, she reflects on these challenges to see the struggles she’s already overcome and how those experiences shape her goals. She’s always been a science-minded student. In elementary school, she won first place in state science fairs two years in a row.
Now, she plans to pursue a degree in psychology at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. Though earning this degree will be a difficult venture, Rachel lives by the mantra that, “Quitters never win and winners never quit!” This ideal was instilled in her as a child by her parents, who Rachel says have been the most inspirational people in her life.
“My parents have always encouraged me to do my best and compete with my peers,” she says. Their faith in God has inspired me as well, I feel my life has a greater purpose and that God has a plan for me.”
Rachel says she’s also grateful for the doctors, therapists, teachers and others who have helped her succeed in life. It’s these people that have inspired her to get her degree in psychology, then pursue her master’s degree in counseling with a minor in American Sign Language. After she earns her degrees, she wants to work with vision-impaired students at a school like the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh.
Though Rachel has pushed through great adversity in her life, she has seen how her disability has affected how she’s viewed by society. But, she says, that view from society has shown her who her true friends are. Her relationships mean everything to her. She does hope, however, that our society as a whole can look on disabilities with kinder eyes.
“Those of us with disabilities are constantly judged, and first impressions are made based on our bandages, damaged skin, etc.,” she says. “If society could look beyond our disability, whatever it is, and see that we are just ordinary people, overcoming extraordinary obstacles to be contributing members of society, the world would be a better place.”