Garden City, L.I.—Jessica Karim is a freshman at Adelphi University.
She picked the school on Long Island because of its size and beautiful campus.
She is also the only student at Adelphi who is completely blind.
“It’s been really, really interesting. I came from the School of the Blind. There’s one in the Bronx. There were 150 of us, and everyone knew everyone . So coming in to Adelphi, I didn’t really have the advantage of most people, where it was like, I know this person from this school,” Karim said.
Excited to dorm at school and get the college experience her parents never had, Jessica also received the last minute news that she was awarded a free year of Aira technology.
“It’s a startup company and what it does is it connects blind people with sighted agents. The back to school program grants 100 blind, visually-impaired college students for use of Aira for nine months,” Karim said.
Jessica had applied to the program on a whim, but two months into school it’s proven to be extremely helpful.
“Some professors put up PDF documents that are scanned images of text, if they want us to read supplementary articles. So, like, my screen reader is not going to read those images because it’s an image. So I scanned the PDF documents and put them into word documents, sent the Aira agent both the PDF and scanned documents and had them compare the two, to make sure they look the same, so I can properly read them,” Karim explained.
It’s also helped her fit in with other students.
“As a blind student in college, socialization is really difficult. But it is very nice, I can now give good descriptions of my roommate’s fish,” Karim said.
She showed us how easy the Aira technology is to work.
Even a trip to Starbucks on campus is no trouble for Jessica.