A bright future for vision-impaired legal eagles

Two vision-impaired law students are off to a flying start at Griffith, achieving top marks in their first trimester even in the midst of a pandemic.

Andrew Parkinson and Fabian Jones said support from Griffith Law school and the Student Disability and Accessibility team had helped ease their transition to university.

Setting the bar high

Fabian Jones has been legally blind since birth and decided to study at Griffith University after attending the Tertiary Education Experience on campus during his final years of school.

“It was great to find out there was so much support available,” he said.

“I was a bit unsure about what would happen after I finished school, but ever since I attended the experience days, there was no other university for me.

“I had my heart set on coming to Griffith.”

The Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Business student said he benefited from a range of services on offer at Griffith.

“I have access to assistive technology, one-to-one mentoring and Nathan campus is easy to navigate … everyone here is willing to go the extra mile to help out,” he said.

Fabian sets high standards for himself – achieving straight 7’s in his first trimester. He dreams of pursuing a career as a legal eagle, specialising in consumer or sports law.

“I do expect a lot from myself, and I’ve set the bar high,” he said.

Achieving full potential

Andrew Parkinson is studying a Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Psychology on the Gold Coast.

Before embarking on his degree at Griffith, he was part of the Griffith University Early Start to Tertiary Studies (GUESTS) program, designed to give high-achieving students the opportunity to study a single subject at Griffith while completing high school. Like Fabian, he achieved straight 7’s in his first trimester.

“It’s been a strange time to start uni, but I think the move to online learning has actually made things easier,” he said.

“Griffith has been able to accommodate anything I’ve needed to reach my full potential.”

Andrew juggles his studies at Griffith with competitive swimming and is also hard at work on his first novel.

“Wading through contract law can be hard work, so I do squad training to keep fit and clear my mind,” he said.

“I also really enjoy writing – I’ve been working on a story for the past few years and it’s slowly coming together.”

An education for all

Student Disability and Accessibility Manager Cathy Easte

Student Disability and Accessibility Manager Cathy Easte said Griffith University attracted the largest number of students with a disability in Queensland.

“Griffith is known for its commitment to diversity, inclusion and social justice,” she said.

“We live our values – everyone here belongs, no matter what your background.”

Cathy was one of six students who took part in Griffith’s Deaf Students Support Program (DSSP) 30 years ago, and said she takes pride in being part of a progressive university.

“I have a lot of pride in making sure that students with a disability fulfil their full potential at Griffith,” she said.

“It’s about creating better access and providing more opportunities.

“We’re starting to embed accessibility in the curriculum – it’s not just an add-on.”

‘An inspiration’

Head of Griffith Law School Associate Professor Therese Wilson said Andrew and Fabian were inspirational.

“At Griffith Law School we are so proud of these intelligent, diligent and driven young men,” she said.

“They are an inspiration to us all for their determination and resilience and we are very grateful that they are part of our Griffith Law School community.”