Alumni Journeys: Greg O'Brien '99 and Erin McNulty '09

  • Dyslexia News
Celebration of Philanthropy, Sep 2019

 

Carroll alumni are many and varied. We appreciate Erin McNulty ’09 and Greg O’Brien ’99 sharing where they are in their lives now, how Carroll shaped them, and what they believe are their dyslexic strengths.

Erin McNulty: I am an Athletic Trainer at Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM). Athletic Trainers are the people who run onto the field at a game to assist an injured player. In addition, I evaluate, treat, and rehabilitate my student-athletes' injuries. Over the course of the year, I support AUM’s Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, Basketball, and Tennis teams. It is definitely not a 9-5 job, but I love being immersed in such a challenging and dynamic setting every day.

Greg O'Brien: As an in-house attorney at DraftKings, I work with marketing, the products teams, software engineering, and compliance and deal with a variety of subject matters including transactional, intellectual property, and real estate. I love the variety in my work, and that I don't know what my day is going to be like hour to hour.

Erin: My greatest strength is my compassion. At work, I want to keep athletes injury-free and get those that are injured back “on the field”, but I also take into consideration the athlete’s overall well being. I diagnose injuries, but equally important I understand that sometimes the news I give can be difficult to hear. At Carroll, I experienced first hand, what a powerful tool compassion can be.

Greg: I believe that my strength with critical thinking comes from the way my dyslexic brain is wired. It leads me to approach issues differently than everyone else. Often, I will take a very different path to problems or situations and find creative solutions that most people would never consider.

Erin: Playing sports at Carroll as I was just starting to believe that maybe I am smart, and maybe I can be powerful, was truly a gift. Mr. Mamet used to say “The way you practice is the way you play." I really took that to heart as an athlete, a student, and in life. When one of my college professors said “Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect,” I couldn’t help but think of the lessons of Ted Mamet.

Greg: My fondest memory at Carroll was definitely 5th-grade language arts class. We were taking turns reading aloud, and one of my classmates came across the word “confused” and pronounced it “cornfussled”. The class chuckled, settled down, and my classmate sounded the word out, got it right, and kept going. At that moment it was clear to me that, for the first time, I was truly in a safe environment to learn and be free to make mistakes without fear of ridicule or humiliation. As a ten-year-old dyslexic kid, this was an indescribable feeling.

Erin: Carroll gave me my life back. Before Carroll, I sought to blend in, to hide, to not be noticed. Today, I place a lot of value on how being dyslexic changes the way I see the world. Carroll didn’t choose the direction my journey would take, but instead gave me a compass (pun intended) and allowed me the freedom to find my path. Carroll also taught me that I could blaze my own trail. I am grateful to Carroll for fortifying me with invaluable skills at such a young age.

Greg: Attending Carroll was a crucial part of my life and one of the most important contributors to my success. To have people tell you over and over again that you don't have a disability, you just learn differently and the world is lucky you do was so amazing and important to me. It’s too hard to even imagine where I would be, who I would be as a person, or what I would be doing without Carroll. I probably would not have made it into or through college, and law school would definitely have been out of the question. Carroll School not only taught me how to read and write, but it showed me how smart I was and instilled an intellectual curiosity that was never part of the pre-Carroll equation.

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