“I LOVE LEARNING NEW THINGS EVERY DAY AND WORKING AT SOMETHING I’VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF DOING.”
– MARY SEFZIK
Former Kramp Scholar, Eastfield College
Radio Announcer, WRR Classical101.1 FM
Mary Sefzik knows a thing or two about vision: it’s what has kept her focused on performing vocal music, going to college and pursuing a professional radio career despite having been blind since birth. And it has everything to do with a gentle determination to adapt the world to her abilities, not the other way around.
She attended a preschool for blind children but mainstreamed to public school in first grade, graduating from Mesquite’s Poteet High School and getting her first taste of working in a radio station. An outspoken disabilities advocate and talented vocalist, she dreamed of combining her love for music and communication into a radio career.
She chose nearby Eastfield College to begin her college education, where she received an Erin Tierney Kramp Encouragement Scholarship for DCCCD students who persevere in the face of adversity. After completing an associate degree, she transferred to Texas A&M University-Commerce and earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication. Then came one of her biggest challenges to date.
“Looking for a job was overwhelming,” she says. “I sent out résumés for a year and a half looking for any kind of work, though a radio station was always in the back of my mind. When I served on a panel for students with disabilities, one of the panelists was a Dallas city councilman who said I should apply to the city’s radio station.
Today, she works for WRR classical 101.1 FM radio, doing their online arts calendar and a one-minute arts feature on events that airs several times a day, plus music announcements that air on weekend mornings.
She has an iPhone with vocal apps, a scanner that converts printed text to audio, and a Braille notetaker and keyboard to use with her computer.
“When Mary started nearly three years ago, her main job was to do calendar entry,” says WRR general manager Sarah B. Colmark. “Since then she has shown an interest in learning all facets of the broadcast industry, including her most recent graduation to on-air announcer on the weekends. She meets all challenges with a cheerful can-do attitude and teaches all of us every day that there is nothing you can’t do if you put your mind to it.”
Though she regrets not being able to drive a car, Mary says that being blind has certain advantages: she doesn’t judge people by their looks and can read in the dark.
And her job at WRR? “I’m so blessed to be working in an area I love,” she says. “I love learning new things every day and working at something I’ve always dreamed of doing.”
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