Despite Physical Barriers Graduating Student Succeeds with Determination

Published: May 06, 2015

Despite Physical Barriers Graduating Student Succeeds with Determination

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Some may consider having multiple physical limitations a major roadblock in life. Well, Jeremy Pape doesn’t see the world, or his limitations, in this way.

Pape is one of about 1,000 who will graduate from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi during the 2015 Spring Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 16 at the American Bank Center Arena. Pape graduates in the second ceremony at 2 p.m. with the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science and Engineering. The first ceremony, with graduates from College of Business, College of Education and College of Nursing and Health Sciences, begins at 10 a.m.

“I was diagnosed with autism in 2011,” said Pape. “Although it can affect the way I process some information, I choose to think of the many positive aspects of autism, such as an intense curiosity about life, which has helped me to become interested in many different things.”

Pape, who was born with congenital hydrocephalus, which is excess fluid in the brain, and cerebral palsy, also has a cerebral shunt. He has undergone two major surgeries to replace the shunts that help drain the extra fluid out of his brain.

Although he has undergone major surgeries, his brain is as good as anybody else, he says, and considers himself lucky that he is able to make it to his classes. Getting around campus can take a toll on his body and sometimes he has felt discouraged.

“My roommates, along with the other friends I have made at the Island University, have all supported me even when I would get greatly discouraged,” said Pape. “I also have a penchant for getting lost, so they help me find my way in a literal sense, as well as a figurative one.”

Pape was raised by his grandparents, Susan and Alton Zamzow, in Three Rivers, Texas. They continue to support him in all his academic endeavors, and will watch him accept his diploma. Pape decided to attend Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in August 2012, because of a chance meeting with Dr. Kelly Quintanilla, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

“Dr. Quintanilla not only ‘sold’ me on the many great aspects of the liberal arts programs, but she gave me the sense that she was personally invested in my success,” said Pape. “Everything has worked out perfectly. I have had many fantastic professors, such as Dr. Diana Ivy, and I have received a great education.”

From August 2012 to 2014, Pape was a part of Islander Broadcast Crew, an organization on campus whose goal is to provide an online broadcast of the many sporting events on campus. In his senior year of college, Pape became a sports reporter for the student newspaper, Island Waves. He says his dream job would be to become a sports journalist even though it is usually tough to get into this career field.

After graduating with his Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Pape plans to get his teaching certificate for English and work towards a career in journalism.

He believes that his time as a teacher will be well spent and hopes to motivate students to keep trying even when things don’t go as planned.

 “Every student makes a bad grade, or deals with some sort of personal circumstance that makes for some hard times,” he said. “In those times, don’t be afraid to ask for help, as many people here are more than willing to give both time and effort to help you succeed.”