Santa Monica College student Tillie Ballinger is one of 10 California students with disabilities to be honored for their dedication to education.
Ballinger, a 64-year-old Westside resident, recently won a High Tech Center Student Achievement Award, sponsored by IBM and the Sacramento-based Community College Foundation.
An A-minus student at the college, Ballinger has rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. As part of the award, she was given a home computer system, including software and adaptive devices, including an ergonomic chair. Similar equipment is available to Ballinger and other students with disabilities in the college's High Tech Training Center.
"Despite the physical distress and memory weakness (caused by medication) with which she copes daily, Tillie consistently focuses on the excitement and power of education," said Ellen Cutler, an instructor in the campus facility. "The quality of her work and her commitment to learning consistently impresses the faculty, tutors and computer lab staff who have the privilege of working with her."
Ballinger, who hopes to transfer to UCLA this fall as an English major, plans to be a writer.