The newly minted
grad did just that, calling her nonpro t the half Helen Foundation after
her childhood nickname. (Since she is half-blind and half-deaf, she began calling herself “half Helen” Keller at age 10.) Today, Elliott has acquired ve cutting-edge
Spot vision screeners
that can take 23 eye mea- surements in a matter of seconds. She has screened more than 35,000 children in two states and devel- oped a treatment-tracking app thanks to a $100,000 grant from the St. David’s Foundation. In 2015, she was recognized as a CNN Hero, a program that hon- ors individuals who make extraordinary contributions in the lives of others. She has recruited a board of directors, which includes Dean Nancy Schreiber of The Bill Munday School of Business, and hired two
BY STACIA HERNSTROM MLA ’05
full-time sta members. And during the last session of the Texas Legislature, she collaborated with Rep. Dennis Bonnen ’94 for passage of House Bill 3157, which approved the Spot screeners for use in Texas public schools beginning last fall.
The foundation’s success hasn’t come without challenges. “For everything I knew, there were a thousand things I didn’t,” she says. “Even though I could craft a message and tell a compelling story, I had no idea about things like nance and operations.”
But thanks to the critical thinking she honed on the hilltop, she knew how to ask questions.
“I surrounded myself with people who believed inmycauseasmuchasI did and brought skills and ideas that complemented my own.”
She also relied on some- thing now-retired Professor of Philosophy Bill Zanardi used to say. “He would tell us, ‘Care is the mother of all things.’ I saw that at
St. Edward’s every day in the care professors gave to students, and it’s my guide for every child I meet.”
Excerpt from St. Edward's Winter Magazine