Genetic condition inspires passion

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Zac Fowler uses past to guide future endeavors

As a freshman, determining what field of study as major  is difficult.  Factors such as personal interest, knowledge and family tradition can help narrow down the options.

For Zachary Fowler, freshman communication sciences and disorders major, a congenital disorder played an influential role in his decision-making process.

Fowler was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that affects the bones and structure of the face.

In his case, the disorder resulted in deafness and the use of a hearing aid. Despite his circumstances, Fowler has chosen to use the life he has to help others through his choice of major.

“I chose (communication sciences and disorders) because one of the professions that derives from (that major) is that of a speech-language pathologist,” Fowler said. “Growing up going to speech therapy, I know all of the struggles and frustrations that the kids go through.”

Fowler recalled his time in speech therapy and mentions the somewhat isolated environment and the trials he faced while attending therapy.

“The hardest part of speech therapy was not being able to hang out with everyone and having to go every day,” Fowler said. “It was frustrating not being able to speak because I physically couldn’t and it was very repetitive.”

Because Fowler faced speech therapy, he is well-prepared to assist kids with similar communication disorders. He has a passion for this field both personally and spiritually.

“This major will also allow me the opportunity to live out God’s mission and serve others in my future profession,” Fowler said. “I eventually want to turn my future job into a mission-based profession.”

Fowler said he hopes to eventually take his profession to Third World countries that may not have the same therapy benefits.

As a speech pathologist, he wants to work with children and teach them English and basic grammar so they can raise themselves out of poverty.

For those dealing with similar speech disorders, Fowler encourages them to persevere through the difficulties for the hope of an outcome that is worthwhile.

“You’ve just got to keep working at it even if you keep failing,” Fowler said. “I know it’s frustrating right now and you probably hate it, but your hard work will be rewarded. When you finally conquer it, it’s one of the greatest feelings.”

Fowler would not change the life given to him. Treacher Collins Syndrome formed him into the man he is today and has allowed him to glorify God as a leader to others.

About Olivia Quebe

Asst. News Editor

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