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Austin Otey

Austin Otey

Hometown: Bloomington, IL

Major: Journalism (Health & Science)

Year in school: Undergraduate freshman

Disability: Left-side weakness (result of brain tumor removal, radiation, and chemotherapy)

What are your future endeavors?

To be a member of the Patient Family Outreach Team at ALSAC, the fundraising side of St. Jude Children’s Hospital

What are your hobbies? 

Rock climbing/ exercising, movie watching

What has been your greatest challenge while at MU? 

As I was unable to attend my senior year in high school, I had to both readjust to school as well as adjust to my disability (i.e., adapting to the use of a mobility scooter)

What would you like people to know about your disability? 

I’m not stupid. Give me the chance to succeed and I’ll get there. I’m just slower than I used to be.

What would you tell a student who has a disability like yours? 

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Don’t expect less of yourself than of others. Don’t expect the same of yourself as others. Expect only the best of yourself.

What advice would you give to a new student at MU? 

Plan out your days; don’t waste time figuring everything out as you go. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be.

In what way did the Disability Center make a difference in your education? 

The accommodated exams alone did wonders. It is so much easier to focus in an environment that respects your disability. Step one: be confident. Step two: be comfortable.

Why did you apply for Meek Scholarship? What did you do with your money?

As with most college students, the high cost of school is a heavy weight on my shoulders. The MEEKS scholarship has made that weight just a little bit less. For now, I have been advised to not seek a part-time employment while I am still recovering from cancer treatments. So, for at least a while, I am dependent on scholarships and student loans.