Meeting the Challenges of Visual Impairment While Attending Graduate School

December 18, 2015

Nadine Walker Mooney

SOM student Nadine Walker-Mooney '16SM reflects on her experience in the Master of Science in Management Program

Nadine Walker-Mooney '16SM is not an ordinary student at the Simmons School of Management (SOM); faculty and peers describe her as rather “extraordinary.” Walker-Mooney is a student in the Master of Science in Management Program (MSM) and is visually impaired. She describes her experience in the MSM Program as everything she hoped it would be and more, “I was in the company of professors, classmates and coursework that challenged me to reach higher levels of knowledge that I could effectively transfer into a successful career as a professional or entrepreneur.”

With her visual impairment, Walker-Mooney’s challenges were more technical than academic. She found that the systems professors used for uploading material online were not always compatible with her talking computer software. She also found it difficult to navigate through Beatley Library’s massive database for researching or downloading articles. "The Library’s system does not include hyperlinks for navigation, which are extremely important for anyone who cannot click on choices using the mouse," says Walker-Mooney. To offset these challenges, she worked closely with the Simmons College Disability Services team, who she noted, “were extremely instrumental in making my Simmons’ learning experience a successful one." 

When describing the program, Walker-Mooney said, “It has given me the credentials to be taken seriously as a professional in the workplace, and as an entrepreneur in the marketplace.” She also encourages students to utilize the Career Services Office. “They are there to help us navigate through the jungle of job possibilities and help us better manage the jobs we might already have."

One of Walker-Mooney's most influential graduate courses was Business Plans And Proposals. This course was instrumental in her quest to create White Cane Warrior, LLC., an R&D, marketing and sales company that provides innovative accessibility products for the blind and visually impaired. She plans to continue developing her company while also pursuing a professional career. 

Walker-Mooney is set to graduate in January. She was selected by her peers to be the student speaker for the Master of Science in Management Program at the Dean’s Reception in December 2015. Her fellow students also selected her to receive the Pat Miller Award, which is given to the peer who best personifies Pat Miller's values of strength, leadership, and willingness to help whenever help is needed.