Watch: College Community Helps Engineering Student Hayden Dahmm '15 Thrive

 

WPVI-TV / 6ABC:  Blind Engineer Finds New Ways to Learn

A local college community has gone above and beyond to help a blind student thrive. In fact he's become one of the top engineering students at his school.

Hayden Dahmm, a junior at Swarthmore, doesn't going anywhere without his seeing-eye dog Fathom. And it never occurred to him that he couldn't become an engineer.

"Blindness is not necessarily a limitation to studying whatever you want to study. You just have to find some new tools," said Swarthmore Professor of Engineering Carr Everbach. That is just what Hayden's professor did, becoming as determined to help Hayden as Hayden is to succeed.

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Some of his biggest challenges were the complex diagrams shown in class."There is no way I could possibly remember where everything is located," said Hayden.

But with a few K'nex toy rods, his professor and classmates make braille dials for Hayden.

"Each side of the dials have little braille bumps on it, and then the little side pieces here tell me that this is a register. So it will have a voltage source over here, a resistor over here, and a capacitor over here," said Hayden.

Junior engineering student Gautam Mohan takes notes for him in class.

"He types up what the professor talked about, then sends me the files," explained Hayden. Hayden reads them using a screen reader.
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"There might not be too many blind scientists or engineers out there, but there definitely are, and that fact is very inspiring for me and encourages me every day," said Hayden.

Dahmm, a McCabe Scholar, is also the subject of profiles in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Swarthmore College Bulletin