2019 Council scholarship recipient, Mia Zutter, is a junior at the College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota. She sat down with Katherine Corbett, Council Writer, to chat about her future goals, her move off campus and how resilience has played a role throughout her life.
Katherine Corbett: You have a career goal of being a public speaker and writer. What sparked your curiosity to pursue that path?
Mia Zutter: I did a lot of public speaking growing up. I traveled around to different elementary schools and spoke there about my experiences Nordic skiing and going to the Paralympics in 2017. I like sharing my story and I think that it helps people feel empowered to go after their own dreams.
Katherine: Resilience seemed to be a theme in your application and throughout your life. Could you talk more about that?
Mia: When I was diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease in middle school, there were things I was looking forward to in my life that were taken away, like getting my drivers’ license and playing on the volleyball team. I felt like my overall sense of independence was going to be taken away so that was definitely something that I had to work through. My visual impairment led me to my running and Nordic skiing career, which led me to the Paralympics. Even with the things that were taken away from me, there were so many more opportunities I gained from my visual impairment.
Katherine: What kinds of activities do you like to do in your spare time?
Mia: This year, I moved to a house off campus. I needed to cook for myself, and have grown to love cooking. I still love Nordic skiing and running cross-country for my college, and I love reading. Reading is a hobby important to my family.
Katherine: How have you adapted your hobbies to accommodate your visual impairment?
Mia: Starting to cook for myself forced me to experiment, because I did not have to cook for myself growing up. It means a lot of trial and error like learning to chop vegetables and learn the layout of the grocery store. A lot of it is practice. I use the camera of my phone if I need to take a picture of something and zoom in to see it. I also use my phone to read package instructions. All my recipes are on my iPad so I can zoom in on those.
Katherine: What are three words friends or family members would use to describe you?
Mia: They would say determined, kind-hearted, and passionate.
Like Mia, you can apply for a scholarship from the Council. Eligibility requirements include:
- Verification of blindness, legal blindness or visual impairment.
- Wisconsin residency.
- Acceptance/attendance at a post-secondary institution, including technical, vocational or community college, university, at the undergraduate or graduate level or the Business Enterprise Program.
- GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Applications are due by Friday, April 10, 2020. An application kit can be downloaded from the Council’s website at WCBlind.org/wcbvi-scholarship-application-2020. Only complete applications will be considered. All applicants will be notified of their status by late April. Selected candidates are expected to attend the Council’s annual Awards and Scholarship Lunch on Saturday, May 16 in Madison.