Senior Deanna Greco is passionate about a lot of things. A biochemistry major, she loves learning about the complexities of nature and the world around her. Last year, she was awarded a prestigious Goldwater scholarship for her research, making her the first Catholic University scholar recipient since 2013. In the future, she hopes to pursue research in the field of neuroscience.

She also cares deeply about learning and is thankful for the many teachers who have guided her along the way. Greco decided to come to Catholic University after observing the close personalized care and attention students receive from their professors — a hallmark of the student experience. Now an aspiring professor herself, she hopes to one day be that same kind of example to students younger than she.

Phill leading DeannaBut perhaps Greco’s biggest passion is her advocacy work with Leader Dogs for the Blind, an organization that connected her with her leader dog, Phil, nearly two years ago. Greco has been visually impaired since she was in elementary school. She says Phil has helped her gain a new sense of independence and confidence she never had before. She’s also benefited from the assistance of the University’s Office for Disability Support Services

In the last two years, Greco has spoken at Leader Dog conferences and events. Thanks to the Lions Club, she had the opportunity to speak to elementary school students about the importance of inclusion for people with disabilities. After that talk, Greco was moved when the principal asked the children what they had learned. 

“One kid said something to the effect of, ‘If you see someone who is blind or visually impaired, go up and say hi to them because they want friends, too,’” Greco remembers. “It made me so happy that I could put that in young people’s minds. Hopefully, for some of them that will stick with them and it will make for a more inclusive future. It just made me so happy that I was able to do that.”