- Written by Mollie Smith Mollie Smith
- Published: 02 February 2017 02 February 2017
As director of accessibility at MRU, Patricia Pardo helps students with disabilities, despite her own personal struggles with physical disability.
Pardo’s responsibility as director is to make sure everyone who has a disability is successful in university.
“For me, the work that we do is about hope,” Pardo said. “It's creating a space by connecting students to services that allow them to achieve academic goals that they’ve set for themselves.”
Pardo’s education in psychology at University of Calgary and University of Alberta has hugely contributed to her successful work as director.
“I feel very humbled and privileged to be able to translate my own lived experience as a student with a disability to the way in which we deliver our services,” Pardo said.
Pardo was born in Mexico City to two legally blind parents and a younger brother. She and her brother both suffer from macular dystrophy.
“I think she’s made all our lives richer because she really demonstrates that ability to not let her disability get in the way of being professional, and it’s quite amazing”
Macular dystrophy is when the individual has lost sight in the middle of the eye, but still has remaining vision around the edges.
As someone who suffers from a physical disability, Pardo has been passionate about her work as director because she loves to help other struggling students succeed in life.
Pardo has overcome her disability by using assistive technologies such as ZoomText. This program allows her to magnify print on her monitor and is also capable of reading her emails to her.
Pardo has been praised by numerous colleagues at MRU, including the director of career services, Colleen Bradley. Bradley has been especially moved by Pardo’s power and will to succeed.
“I think she’s made all of our lives richer because she really demonstrates that ability to not let her disability get in the way of being professional, and it’s quite amazing,” Bradley said.
Bradley has even gone on to claim Pardo as an “expert in her field.”
As an expert in her field, Pardo’s primary goal throughout her job as director is to give students hope that they can thrive at anything they put their mind towards. She wants to ensure the students who use accessibility services can be successful just like she has been throughout her life.
According to MRU students like Johanna Slater, this service has worked wonders. A learning disability affecting her reading, writing, and ability to do math made Slater nervous about starting university, but thanks to accessibility services, she was able to make it through.
Slater has been using this service ever since she began university two years ago. By using accommodations such as extra time during exams and an audio recorder to record class lectures, she has seen notable success.
“It was a bit of a shaky start just getting used to everything,” Slater said. “But by using these services, I was able to increase my scores by over two grade letters.”
Her successful use of accessability services has made Slater more than happy to recommend this service to other students with disabilities who are struggling with the transition from high school to university.
Accessibility services has allowed students to see noticeable results and thrive in university, thanks to the brilliant leadership and direction of Patricia Pardo.