Dugan is an athletic training and pre-physical therapy (PT) major from Cozad, Nebraska. When she was only one year old, she was diagnosed with a very rare genetic disease called Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis. This caused her to grow up legally blind.
“Growing up there were struggles that I faced because of this disease, but I didn’t let them stop me,” Dugan said, “I found ways to do things that other kids did.”
Because of her disease, Dugan was unable to play every sport like her siblings and friends did. However, she was able to run track and held on to her love of sports. This was also the time she realized that she wanted to pursue a career related to sports and the medical field, but figured her disease would keep her from those goals.
After Dugan was injured during track, she learned about physical therapy and found an opportunity to make a difference in the medical field. During her senior year of high school, Dugan job shadowed at her local physical therapy clinic and learned more about athletic training and physical therapy.
Those experiences led Dugan to pursue her dream in athletic training and pre-PT at UNO.
“Even though some people, and even yourself at times, may doubt what you can do, always remember that you can do anything you set your mind to,” Dugan said.
Her future plans after graduation are to go to physical training school and in the long term, hopefully return to Cozad to be a physical therapist.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.