Surrey's Angell Lu-Lebel and her guide dog Koby.

Blind Surrey student finds her way to the top of the class

Born with a rare eye disease, Angell Lu-Lebel finishes in top 15% of science graduates.

Fluent in three languages – English, French and Mandarin – Surrey science student Angell Lu-Lebel earned an invitation to the Golden Key International Honours Society after finishing in the top 15 per cent of her class at SFU.

It’s a significant achievement for any university student (Golden Key is the largest collegiate honour society), but perhaps even more impressive for Lu-Lebel, who has been blind since birth.

Born with congenital amaurosis, a rare inherited eye disease, Lebel has seldom let anything hold her back from learning.

Navigating her classes and the SFU campus was challenging, but with assistance from her guide dog Koby, a golden retriever/Labrador-cross who has been piloting her around campus for the past seven years, and from several of her professors, she excelled.

One of Lu-Lebel’s biggest challenges was learning calculus, a subject that’s designed around visual learning.

To help her overcome this issue, her professor, Natalia Kouzniak, and teaching assistant Poojay Pandey, integrated flexible, wax-coated strings called Bendaroos into their teaching. Kouzniak used the strings to lay out graphs, while Lu-Lebel used them to plot curves and understand the geometrical set-up of problems.

In addition to her success in academics, Lu-Lebel is also an accomplished athlete. She is a six-time Canadian National Championship medallist in goalball—a sport for the visually impaired in which two teams of three take turns throwing a ball with bells attached into each other’s net.

Lu-Lebel credits her achievements to the guidance she received from mentors as she grew up. Now a mentor at Blind Beginnings, she is paying it forward.

“I mentor visually impaired children and their parents because a lot of the time parents are just finding out that their children are blind,” she says.

“It can be a stressful experience. Parents don’t know what to do and they panic a bit.”

Lu-Lebel now plans to get her teaching certificate, with the hope of working with students with special needs.

 

Just Posted

Surrey Community Leader Awards winners revealed

The 16th CLA awards, presented by the Now-Leader, recognized Surrey’s un-sung heroes

COMMUTER ALERT: Serious pedestrian crash closes Pacific Highway

Traffic along 176th Street, 4th to 8th Avenue, is blocked while Mounties continue to investigate.

MPs meet with Surrey council to discuss RCMP, LRT

Federal government to have quarterly meetings with Surrey

Hogg curious if a new recreation centre is needed in Grandview Heights

South Surrey-White Rock MP to host a Town Hall Meeting tonight

Surrey building that has gathered dust for 20 years is for sale again, with bids sought

Potential sale of the long-vacant 104 Avenue Centre is good news, Surrey Board of Trade CEO says

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Regulatory confusion over ‘toxic’ stink near Abbotsford school

Officials sniffing out which regulators responsible for enforcing compliance at neighbouring property

Most Read