“I chose Manhattan College because it served two purposes in my academic journey. Being a blind student, I wanted a campus small enough to conduct my education, one which could provide for my needs. At the same time, it needed to be a campus where my thoughts, philosophies, and academic yearnings could be expressed, fine-tuned, and harnessed for success. As a Medievalist at heart and mind, the College’s Catholic roots were more than beneficial in this context. As an Irish Catholic, the history of the Western Church is a deep and prominent interest of mine. It was a win-win in all ways.
"One of the last films I saw before losing my sight was Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring around 2001, and the experience had an incalculable effect on me throughout my childhood. I became something of a Tolkien devotee, and made contacts with other enthusiasts, among whom was Doctor Cory Olsen, now chair of the Mythgard Institute. In my late teens, I became the youngest member of the Silmarillion Seminar, a group of Tolkien fans who often compared the fictional epics of Arda to real chronicles dating back to the High Middle Ages and the Anglo-Saxon period. This opened my intellectual and creative spirit to a greater understanding of works like Beowulf, the Norse Sagas and even Arthurian literature.
"The Medieval Studies program at the College fosters learning and excellence. I consider today’s Medievalists here at Manhattan a new Round Table of excellence whose main objective is to nurture and guide those who love the Middle Ages on their path toward research.
"A creative role model of mine is John Milton who wrote, or rather dictated, Paradise Lost. He too had lost his eyesight but carried on the tradition of the bards. I thought, if he could be an heir to the greats like Homer, Dante and Virgil, so could I. This led me to begin work on my own magnum opus, a grand realm of sword and sorcery which ended up in book form as volumes of poetry as well as prose. I’m so thankful I’ve been able to share these creative dreams with the world. It is a true passion.
"I’ve found role models here at the College, as well. Professor Jen Edwards of the History department and Brother Patrick Horner of the English department have been incredibly supportive in making materials accessible and sending them to me on time. Their dedication, kindness and love for their subjects brings me greater inspiration in my road to eventually becoming a professor.”