Sharlene Oong
Student Writer

Motivation is definitely a done deal when others assure you that you are capable of succeeding. This was certainly the case for freshman marketing major, Jason Polansky.


Director Sue Shaffer (far left) and Sharon Maneki, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland (center) stand with Jason Polansky and three other Maryland students. photo retrieved from

Before coming to Messiah, Polansky received certification from the National Blindness Professional Board at the age of eighteen, making him the youngest person ever to do so.

The National Blindness Professional Board is involved with the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland. They encourage blind individuals to be independent and promote the usage of braille. The Board is also in partnership with Louisiana Tech, where they teach blind individuals.

Polansky recalls one of his teachers encouraging him to apply for the accreditation. He decided to go for it, although most of the other participants were teachers. When asked about the accreditation criteria, Polansky said one just needs to know braille very well.

Obtaining certification at the Louisiana Center for the Blind (LCB), a training center for the blind before college, Polansky learned how to travel independently in college and how to be successful, in addition to learning computer skills for completing course work, and achieving a sense of confidence.

After completing the certification test, Polansky decided to enroll at Messiah. He liked the Christian environment, strong academics, and the friendly students. “It seemed to have everything I was looking for,” he says.

Besides hanging out with friends in the Union, Polansky enjoys the projects he gets to work on with the Collaboratory. Polansky is involved in a group that works with World Vision to make water accessible to people with disabilities in Africa. He also aspires to create more braille-friendly devices for the blind with marketing strategies. Moreover, he wishes to become involved in other fields in the future, in addition to making the world more braille-friendly.

As for many other blind students who wish to be more independent in college, Polansky encourages them to become involved in the community by making friends and building relationships.

“Have no low expectations and try to get all the skills you can get,” Polansky says. “Making full use of any opportunity will benefit in the long run.”