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Ashley Nashleanas Aims to Help Visually Impaired Learners

Ryan Riley, College of Human Sciences
Iowa State University

Ashley Nashleanas has been blind since birth, but that hasn’t stopped her from accomplishing remarkable things. This spring, she’ll receive her PhD in Educational Psychology from Iowa State University.

On this Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe chats with Nashleanas about how her blindness informed her studies of math and science, and how she hopes to help other students who are visually impaired learn these subjects. For her part, Nashleanas had the confidence to request help when visual representations were omitted from her textbooks.

"If you want something badly enough, you have to be able to be your own advocate, for one," Nashleanas says.

This is something her parents instilled in her, which helped her collaborate with teachers to find alternatives to visual representations of mathematical concepts, like graphs or geometric shapes.

"Another part of it, too, is finding the right people that will listen," Nashleanas says. 

Nashleanas hopes to catch the ear of publication agencies with her research. She wants to advance educational materials, like tactile graphics and other technologies, for other students who are vision impaired. 


Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer