SLU Junior Earns Governor’s Council on Disability Youth Leadership Award


Seyoon Choi at the award cermony with his service dog, Kaplan

The Missouri Governor´s Council on Disability (GCD) awarded Saint Louis University junior Seyoon Choi the 2021 Youth Leadership Award. 

   The honor “recognizes an outstanding Missouri youth (age 16-26) with a disability that has demonstrated exemplary leadership by making a difference in their community”.

      “Often, I feel like even some of the most basic involvements throughout high school, such as being a part of the high school marching band made huge headlines simply because I’m blind,” Choi said. 

    However, this GCD award was different. He was nominated by Lynn Berger, his former teacher of the visually impaired who supported him through assistive technology in middle and high school.

   “Once she found out that I became involved in the community, she believed that I’m worth being nominated for,” Choi said. “This award felt as if I’m being recognized specifically due to the impacts I’ve made to the disability community, and therefore am humbled for the recognition,” Choi said.

    Choi, a visually impaired student studying social work, is a research assistant in SLU’s Chrome Lab, an engineering space that aims to build technologies that augment human ability. He is also the co-chair of the communications committee of the National Association of Blind Students where he co-produces its podcast.

      The award was presented to Choi at the end of the PowerUp Missouri Assistive Technology Conference which took place April 4-5 in  Blue Springs, MO. Choi recalls a large audience in attendance including special education teachers, vocational rehabilitation professionals and assistive technology vendors at the banquet hall. TyReeke Garnett, a high school student in the state, was given an honorable mention for the award as well.

     “Lynn always believed that despite my blindness I would be very successful and achieve a lot of great things for many years ahead,” Choi said.