Blind YouTube Star Molly Burke Inspires Students to See Their Strengths, Embrace Diversity Monday, September 23, 2019
"Her story brought tears to every audience member's eyes. We were all left feeling inspired by her story and motivated to embrace what makes us different. The show was sold out and it couldn't have gone any better!”
YouTube sensation, disability rights activist, author and social media influencer Molly Burke recently spoke to a sold-out crowd on campus at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, as part of the 2019-20 Media Innovators Speaker Series at Point Park University.
The event was hosted by the SAEM Club and the Center for Media Innovation, in collaboration with 90.5 WESA, Downtown Community Development Corporation and Herbein + Company, Inc.
“The Molly Burke event was a huge success for SAEM Club! We are so happy that we were able to partner with the CMI to bring in such an inspiring speaker,” said Christy Martin, a junior sports, arts and entertainment management major and president of the SAEM Club.
“Molly was so kind and friendly and I greatly enjoyed working with her. Her story brought tears to every audience member's eyes. We were all left feeling inspired by her story and motivated to embrace what makes us different. The show was sold out and it couldn't have gone any better!” added Martin, a graduate of Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Boston, Mass.
At four years old, Burke was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare retinal disease that causes a loss of vision. By age five, she was an ambassador for the foundation Fighting Blindness Canada. Today, she is a highly sought-after motivational speaker, with her weekly YouTube videos reaching a worldwide base of nearly two million subscribers.
“Molly was so pleasant to work with and her story is incredible and so touching,” said Shea O’Neill, a sophomore SAEM major and vice president of the SAEM Club from Bishop Canevin High School in Pittsburgh.
O’Neill added: “I am so glad that we, along with the CMI, had the opportunity to bring in such an uplifting and inspiring speaker.”
More on Molly: Student Feedback
Jocelyn Bankson, junior SAEM major and SAEM Club treasurer from Oil City High School in Oil City, Pa.
“Molly spoke about all the hardships she has faced in her life and how she has found the strength and confidence to live unapologetically herself, which was a very inspiring story to hear.
Point Park has helped me grow so much as a person, professionally and personally. From getting involved in the SAEM Club to being a Pioneer Ambassador Coordinator, Point Park has given me endless opportunities to thrive.”
Emily Bovan, junior SAEM major from Pine-Richland High School in Gibsonia, Pa.
“She is a very inspirational person so I wanted to see her talk in person about her experiences. The way she believed in herself and overcame so many difficult times in her life really showed me that I can take on anything. I also learned a lot of about the blind community and how to make life more accessible for them.”
Shelby Fink, junior SAEM major minoring in PR and Advertising from Blue Ridge High School in Pinetop-Lakeside, Ariz.
“I decided to go to the Molly Burke event because I’ve been a fan of hers ever since she collaborated with Shane Dawson. I really enjoy her videos and wanted to go for the experience, and we were able to meet her, which was a huge plus. Something that stuck with me is when she talked about her mental illness and how she still struggles with it, but doesn’t let it stop her from achieving her goals.”
Emily Rockwell, junior SAEM major from Burrell High School in Lower Burrell, Pa.
“I subscribe to Molly's YouTube channel. She is currently one of my favorite YouTubers! I find her to be so inspiring and I love her sense of fashion and different lifestyle videos. I was super excited just to go to the event to hear her speak, and I was even more excited when I found out about the meet and greet beforehand! Meeting her and talking to her for a few minutes was the cherry on top of the whole night.”
More About: Pine-Richland High School, Bishop Canevin High School, Oil City High School, student workshop, Center for Media Innovation, Rowland School of Business, Pittsburgh Playhouse, sports, arts and entertainment management