Simply looking at Katherine Olson doesn’t tell you the magnitude of challenges she has overcome.

Olson, who graduated from UCF on Friday, was diagnosed with severe hearing loss when she was 4. She received her first pair of hearing aids before she even entered kindergarten.

Her parents insisted that she attend mainstream schools, and despite the extra hours of studying and ups-and-downs with speech therapy, she excelled.

“I’ve surprised myself,” she says.

Although she knew it would be a challenge, Olson pursued a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Initially intimidated by the higher dropout rate of students with similar impairments, she was determined to finish school and graduate.

“If I could use one word to describe my daughter, it would be ‘driven.’ She always has been driven to succeed,” says Katherine’s father, George Olson.

Read the rest of Katherine’s story at UCF Newsroom. Video coming soon.