Blind 25-Year-Old Starting Harvard Law School to Make a Difference for Others: ‘I Had to Advocate for Myself Every Day’
September 2, 2016
Posted by People
Jameyanne Fuller is used to living life with no limits.
Blind since birth, Jameyanne has scaled an Andean mountain, earned a perfect 800 on her math SATs (despite her elementary school claiming blind children couldn’t learn math), used Braille to graduate Kenyon College with the highest of academic honors and was awarded a prestigious Fulbright scholarship to teach in Italy. Oh, and she’s also written two novels.
During the first month of her Fulbright in September 2014, Jameyanne was dining with members of an Italian Lion’s Club, whose mission was to promote independence for blind people. As Jameyanne cut the vegetables on her plate, the room erupted in applause.
When she got home late that night, “I thought, ‘I could be angry or upset, but I could do something about this,’ ” Jameyanne recalls.
She soon discovered that in the region of Italy where she was living, Umbria, “they kept their disabled children in the home and they were almost embarrassed.” The idea of a blind person shopping, using a Braille watch, even navigating the streets on her own with her guide dog, Mopsy, leading the way was just about unheard of.
It took a few more months of other slights, including officials at the Leaning Tower of Pisa forbidding Mopsy, entry to the tourist site despite a law allowing it, for her to take action.
Jameyanne decided to forgo her acceptance to a master’s degree program in comparative literature at Dartmouth to become a disability rights lawyer.
She applied to the top law schools in the U.S., and on Aug. 24, she begins her first year at Harvard Law School.
“Jameyanne, she can do anything,” her mother, Mary Fuller, 64, tells PEOPLE. “There are no boundaries and there shouldn’t be.”
It’s not known how many blind men and women have completed Harvard Law School – its media relations department won’t release figures due to privacy concerns. But Jameyanne doesn’t think it’s exceptional that she got in despite not being able to see.
“I feel like it’s amazing that “anyone” goes to Harvard Law School,” she says. “I don’t know what it’s like to see, I don’t know what I am missing. For me, the fact I’m blind isn’t a big deal.”
Jameyanne has been honored for her achievement, along with 16 other exceptional blind undergraduate and graduate students, who each recently received a $10,000 scholarship from Lighthouse Guild of NY, a not-for-profit vision and health care organization.
Another recipient, Emely Recinos, 18, of New York City, began losing her sight at 6 years old due to a rare degenerative vision loss disease called cone-rod dystrophy. Still, she is an accomplished pianist and drummer who also hopes to attend law school to better help the disabled.
“We believe that when you provide people with the right tools and support,” says Dr. Alan Morse, president and CEO of Lighthouse Guild NY, “there is no limit to what they can achieve.”