May 09, 2018

Student with dyslexia perseveres, receives prestigious scholarship

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molly clay v“While the disability is a challenge, it is just a small piece of my educational experience. UAB and this scholarship allow me to see I have so much potential and so many people who believe I can change the world by achieving my dreams.”Dyslexia continues to push University of Alabama at Birmingham junior Molly Clay to succeed in pursuing her dream of obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Clay, a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded the Karina Eide Memorial College Scholarship for Students with Dyslexia from The Dyslexic Advantage. The Rome, Georgia, native was one of the 18 recipients awarded a $2,500 scholarship this year.

“This scholarship allows me to follow my dreams in higher education,” said Clay, a student in the Department of Psychology. “It has made me realize that my disability might make it harder to read and write, but it makes helping others realize their potential so much easier.”

Clay was a sophomore in high school when she was diagnosed with dyslexia, a disability that caused letters to move, jump, twist and turn while she was reading. Her ability to understand and comprehend what was going on in the classroom was a challenge. She knew that letters formed words that formed sentences that have meaning. It just took her a little longer to find that meaning. Early in life, she knew she did not read and write as well as her peers but continued to perform well academically. Once she was tested and received her diagnosis, she understood why her brain worked the way it did and became more confident in her abilities to succeed.

“Dyslexia is a part of me, but not all of me,” Clay said. “While the disability is a challenge, it is just a small piece of my educational experience. UAB and this scholarship allow me to see I have so much potential and so many people who believe I can change the world by achieving my dreams.”

While dyslexia makes it harder for Clay to read and write, she learned early on how to relate to others with disabilities and encourage them to achieve their dreams. Clay has been involved in UAB’s Disability Support Services for two years as an employee and helps other students with disabilities achieve academic success.

“I look at my inability to read clearly as a gift,” Clay said. “I continue to overcome my challenges of dyslexia by helping others overcome theirs. DSS has helped me see that my disability doesn’t define me.”

Clay decided to major in psychology because she wants to help others understand themselves and their disabilities.

“My dyslexia definitely played a role in the decision to major in psychology,” Clay said. “My disability has made it easier to relate to the difficulties students go through in school, and I want to help them realize they can do anything they put their minds to and that there is always someone standing on the side lines to help if needed.”

Learn more about Disability Support Services.

Clay maintains a spot on the dean’s list while balancing a job and participation in multiple campus organizations. She is also the winner for this year’s UAB Student Excellence Awards in the Commitment to Campus Inclusion category.

The Dyslexic Advantage created this award in commemoration of Karina Eide, a woman who was dedicated to encouraging a passion for writing and mentoring young students. The prestigious scholarship awards more than $40,000 to students who have dyslexia each year. This is the largest online network for dyslexic individuals, parents, teachers and other professionals. The foundation’s mission is to foster positive identity, community and strength for every dyslexic child and adult.