The Other Side of Disabilities

The Office for Students with Disabilities Newsletter
Division of Student Affairs

Volume III, Issue 1 January 2002 Editor: James Walborn



At FAU’s December, 2001 graduation ceremonies Chinta Johnson was posthumously honored by being awarded her degree in Criminal Justice. This was accepted on behalf of the family by Chinta’s 9 year old daughter, Chantiara.

Chinta, 29, died August 29, of end stage renal failure. She was unable to complete the last few credit hours of her Bachelor’s degree due to complications associated with the receiving of a kidney transplant, and the subsequent rejection of the kidney.

To honor Chinta’s memory, a two-year Florida Atlantic University Memorial Scholarship has been established in her name.


Patricia Galliers has created a lasting tribute to her brother which will help students with disabilities achieve a post-secondary education. In his honor, his sister has established the Dennis Galliers Memorial Scholarship for a student with a disability or a student who will work in the field of physical disabilities, and who will one day ease the burden of those with physical disabilities.

Although not born with a disability, Dennis Galliers became ill with a kidney disease which made it necessary for him to be treated by dialysis three times a week. He underwent many surgical procedures, including a kidney transplant.

Patricia notes, “My sister donated one of her kidneys which enabled my brother to live a normal life again. He was able to experience fatherhood, travel, and enjoy his family and friends. Unfortunately his health began deteriorating, again, and he passed away [in 1996]. My way of turning a negative into a positive is to sponsor scholarships.”

“She is an amazing person,” Nicole Rokos, the Director of the OSD, stated. “She is always coming up with unique ways of earning money for the scholarship fund in her brother’s name. She makes and sells crafts, solicits money from relatives, and from her brother’s former union, the Communication Workers of America.”

Patricia notes, “I really appreciate how much my family and friends have assisted in this project both financially and in their constant encouragement.”

“Last year I met four of the recipients of the scholarship,” Patricia exclaims. “What magnificent representatives! I am in awe when people are confronted by hardships and meet their hardships head on. Each one is an example of what the word 'role model' really means and I am proud to be able to help in my small way.”

Due to Patricia’s hard work, in the past two years the OSD was able to honor ten deserving students with the Dennis Galliers Memorial Scholarship Award of $250, each. Two of these scholarships were funded by the Communication Workers of America in Dennis’s name.

Patricia hopes to sell her poetry in order to fund the scholarships in the future. “I write inspirational poetry and poetry for children and children's stories,” Patricia states. “My hope is that one day my poems will be published and then scholarships will be unlimited.”

The OSD scholarship application forms for the academic year of 2002 - 2003 will be available in the middle of March. Scholarship information can be found at


The Broward Division of Student Affairs annually presents an achievement award to recognize a disabled student who strives to achieve personal and academic excellence, while giving back to the community. This year, the award was presented to Valerie Joseph.

Valerie had a tumor removed from her spinal chord at the age of 16. As a result, she is an incomplete quadriplegic who has some use of her hands.

Valerie maintains a high GPA while striving towards her undergraduate degree in Social Psychology. Eventually, she hopes to earn a Masters Degree in Child Psychology, which she would love to put to practical use helping children.

Besides carrying a full class load, Valerie is a student assistant for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Davie campus. Despite her busy schedule, She also volunteers at FAU, when possible.

Valerie lives independently, recently buying a condo. She enjoys reading and watching movies, and is also an admitted TV junkie. Her favorite programming is Home and Garden Television, which gives her decorating ideas.

Any kudos? “The professors at FAU have all been good to me and worked with me with any problems,” Valerie contends.

Any dislikes? “The only dislike that I have is that I don’t have a van, and so I am dependent upon an irresponsible transportation company to get me where I have to go,” Valerie asserts.

Anything unusual in the refrigerator? “No, I don’t,” Valerie laughs.


Dr. Ali Danesh, an Assistant Professor in the College of Communication

 Sciences and Disorders, is the moderator of the Palm Beach County Tinnitus Support Group. The group meets in Delray Beach the second Tuesday of every month.

Tinnitus is the medical term for the perception of sound when no external sound is present, which is often called "ringing in the ears." Fifty million Americans hear hissing, roaring, whistling, chirping, or clicking. Their perceived volume can range from subtle to shattering.

Up to 90 percent of all tinnitus patients have some level of noise-induced hearing loss. Other causes include wax build-up, medications, ear or sinus infections, jaw misalignment, cardiovascular disease, tumors, thyroid disorders, and head and neck trauma.

Many people may find that alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine can worsen their tinnitus, as can eating certain foods, sugar, or quinine. Nicotine, for example, affects the vascular system by narrowing blood vessels that carry important oxygen to the ears, thereby increasing the level of tinnitus.

Stress and fatigue can also affect tinnitus. The individual needs to make time to relax. Self-help groups incorporate compassionate support with meaningful suggestions to help the individual manage tinnitus.

For more information about this local support group, please e mail Dr. Danesh at For more information about tinnitus telephone the American Tinnitus Association at (800) 634-8978.


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This newsletter is available in alternate format upon request from the Office for Students with Disabilities. Boca: SU 133; phone 561.297.3880, TTY 561.297.0358. Davie: MD I, Room 104; phone 954.236.1222, TTY 954.236.1146. Jupiter: SR 117; phone 561.799.8585, TTY 561.799.8565. Treasure Coast: JU 312; phone 772.873.3441.

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