Neile's Hometown Heroes: Young filmmaker changing lives and stereotypes

    Syndey Alison at TU

    She's a young lady whose name you may soon see in lights.

    Her teacher, Dr. Joseph Roberts, described her: "She's positive. She's a problem solver. She's a can-do person."

    Just some of what you'll hear from anyone who knows Sydney Alison. We caught up the filmmaker before one of her classes at TU.

    The film student told us, "If all my dreams were to come true, then I would be making documentaries. I would be a documentary film maker and I'd be a director and I'd be best friends with Jimmy Fallen."

    And it just may happen despite all the odds. You see, Alison is not only entering a male-dominated industry, she's also breaking barriers in other ways.

    "So, I have this condition called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. It's a mouth full, but, so basically it's a muscle condition that makes my muscles weaker and my joints stiffer."

    She also says it's non-progressive meaning , it won't worsen.

    "I've always used a wheelchair to get around. My whole life I've never been able to walk and I can't, like, I have limited range of motion in my arms and legs and hands so that's why I use the wheel chair to get around."

    While it doesn't slow her down, she just may force others to keep up.

    Her former instructor Adam O'Connor told us, "I think she really raised the level for the rest of the class. For the rest of the class to see somebody who gets around in a wheelchair, and is doing ten times as much work as they are, that takes away any kind of excuses that they have."

    "Although I can't physically you know hold a giant camera or you know set up a lighting equipment or anything like that...I have found things that I can do that I love to do. So I hope with me doing that that I can encourage other people to do the same." said Alison

    She has her own YouTube channel, which she uses to talk about her challenges and inspire others plus she's a University Ambassador.

    "So, I give weekly tours to prospective students and their families which is my absolute favorite thing to do on this campus."

    Back in the classroom she continues to set the bar high. Professor of Music and Film Dr. Joseph Rivers told us, "She's doing really good work and I have not doubt she's going to do really well."

    It's fair to say, she pulls her weight, and then some, according to O'Connor, "She doesn't want a lot of accommodations or to do less than anybody else. She wants to do the same work as anybody else and she'll find

    Alison said, " I was always offered adaptive equipment to help me out and my teachers always had my best interest in their minds. I tried things like that and it just never worked out for me they turned out to be more of a challenge then me just figuring out how to do things on my own."

    Alison says she encourages people to ask questions about her condition because communication is good..

    She also says TU has been very accommodating, but she is making suggestions about even more ways the school be more accessible.

    She just finished her finals so she says she's now about to start junior year. Her major is film studies her minor is innovation and entrepreneurship.

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