When Tyler Farmer started his freshman year at the University of Georgia, he was intimidated by the transition from high school to college. Farmer has cerebral palsy, a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that affects fine motor skills and makes everyday tasks a challenge.
Now four years later, Farmer said college has helped him become more independent and more comfortable in his own skin.
“I would consider myself to be a normal college kid who just has to do things a little bit differently than most people,” he said. “My disability won’t stop me from achieving my dreams.”
Farmer was one of 29 UGA students recognized along with faculty member James Monogan at the Disability Resource Center’s annual reception on Oct. 18 in the Grand Hall of Tate Student Center. The DRC is part of the Division of Student Affairs.
Along with Thang Lieu and Natalie Staffieri, Farmer, a fourth-year sport management and marketing major, was one of three recipients of the Gregory Charles Johnson Scholarship.
After graduation, Farmer plans to manage social media for a professional sports franchise, and he thanked the Johnson family and their friends for the scholarship that helped him in his final year at UGA.
“A common question people ask me is what’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to a younger child who also has C.P.?” Farmer said. “Find out who the people who love you for who you are and the people who see you instead of a wheelchair. And for that, I can thank many people.”
The ceremony also recognized Monogan, an associate professor of political science in the School of Public and International Affairs, who received the student-nominated Outstanding Faculty Award. The student who nominated Monogan described him as committed to accessibility by his availability and willingness to help.
The DRC assists more than 1,900 UGA students a year, providing them with help navigating campus, extra time on tests, note-takers or anything else students might need to succeed.
Other students who were recognized and the scholarships they received are Nathaniel Lawrence Dominique, the Janis Family Scholarship; Karlie Hanson, the Margaret C. Totty Memorial Scholarship; Vanessa Shaw, Peter “Costa” Zachos and Megan Brosnan, the Michael E. Merriman Memorial Scholarship; Zachary Thorman, the Radcliff Scholarship; Simini Savini, the Elizabeth and J.C. Faulkner Scholarship; Krista Smith, the Orkin Family Scholarship; Lillian Hester, the Matthew Peddicord Memorial Scholarship; Jordan Tildon, the Dale Gibson Memorial Scholarship; Emily Starnes, Juliette Mossman and Adrianna Westbrook, the Lupuloff Family Scholarship; Shelby Brand, the John and Frances Mangan Family Scholarship; Rachel Wellington, the Margaret Ann Towson Scholarship; Luke Bundrum, Brandon Kim and Grason Shakelford, the Weldon H. Johnson Access Abroad Award; Charles Lee Shaw, the Carey Louis Davis Scholarship; Lillian Byces and Josiah Byler, the Hamilton Family Scholarship; Jocelyn Jimenez-Ruiz and Tyquavious Kelley, the Choate Family Scholarship; Emily Bell, the Betty and Joe Satterthwaite Memorial Scholarship; Kehl Mackesey, the Lauren Melissa Kelly Scholarship; and Shreya Visvanathan, the Joe Coile Memorial Scholarship.
“You have exhibited your strength and your resilience, your commitment,” Dean of Students Bill McDonald said to the students. “You have defined who you are, not by what has happened to you, but how you have reacted daily to what has happened to you and how you will use that to learn, to grow, to teach, to help others overcome whatever obstacles that they are facing.”