Name: Billy Wolfe
College: Wilkes Community College
Program: Computer Programming
Billy Wolfe, Blind Student, Overcomes Barriers to Complete Computer Programming Degree
Former Wilkes Community College student, Billy Wolfe, was born blind. However, that has never slowed him down. At an early age, his passion for video games motivated him to learn to play the game called “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out.” He mastered the game by listening to the sounds to determine how close he was to the opponent, so he could throw punches.
Billy’s passion for learning motivated him to obtain a degree in Broadcast Production Technology in 2004. While working toward his Broadcasting degree, he worked at WCC’s radio station and hosted his own show called “The Blood Bath.” The station wasn’t staffed on a full-time basis, so he wrote a virtual DJ program to automate the system as one of his required projects.
In 2006, he obtained a degree in Computer Programming. “Billy was one of the most positive students I have ever had the privilege of instructing. The first day of web design class, I realized Billy was a blind student enrolled in a class that relies heavily on the visual sense. In the role of instructor, I had no idea how I was going to benefit Billy. By the end of the semester, Billy learned web design and enlightened me on his experiences as a blind person in the digital world. To this day my experience with Billy assists me with web development and technologies strategies,” states Michael Wingler, vice president of Information Technology.
When asked of his experience at Wilkes Community College, Billy stated, “The faculty and staff at Wilkes Community College were phenomenal.”
Since completing his Computer Programming degree, he volunteers in the Information Technology Department at WCC. According to Wingler, “Billy provides feedback and suggestions that will assist the staff in creating the best possible experience for a visually impaired faculty, staff, student, or community member utilizing our website or taking a Moodle course.”