Harry Staley (Student)
By University Communications
Monday, 09 24 2018
With a white cane in one hand and determination in the other, Harry Staley is a student maneuvering his way around life.
Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, Staley grew up blind. Yet, his parents did not expect any less of him. Like most parents, they expected nothing short of success. Staley was surrounded by loved ones who encouraged his talents and saw his potential for greatness.
After high school, Staley had hopes of becoming a youth pastor and pursued that endeavor by earning his first bachelor’s degree with a double major in youth ministry and biblical studies, but he soon realized his true calling was in technology. So, in 2009, he moved to San Antonio with his wife for new job opportunities.
Because Staley had a knack and passion for all things technology related, he decided it was time for a bachelors degree in the field he loved. Hearing about Texas A&M University-San Antonio (A&M-SA) and how the university welcomes non-traditional students like himself, Staley applied with certainty, knowing A&M-SA was the next stop in his educational journey. Majoring in computer science, he intends to explore the artificial intelligence and autonomous field industry. He said he is grateful to A&M-SA’s Disability Support Services (DSS) staff for providing accommodations that assist in his academic success. When asked about his disability, Staley tells people, “I just happen to have an additional skill set that you don’t have.”
In addition to his college and family life, Staley serves as president of the local chapter for the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) -- an organization that describes itself as believing in the full capacity of blind people and promotes its members to dream big. Staley mentors and helps the National Association of Blind Students within the organization, always encouraging its students to achieve what they thought might be impossible. He is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) at A&M-SA, and works full-time for the U.S. Army as a systems analyst.
During spring 2018, the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults awarded Staley its prestigious Kenneth Jernigan scholarship – named in honor of a man who changed perceptions about the capabilities of people who are blind. He was one of only 30 recipients nationwide. Staley, himself, encourages all students, regardless of ability, to learn self-advocacy because he feels that people do not understand what you need until you inform them.
Although Staley has experienced many twists and turns on his life’s path, he has gained many skills – both technical and non-technical – along the way. He is a Jaguar on a mission to build a brighter future for himself and pave the way so others like him understand that their dreams can become reality.