Spina bifida—the most common permanently disabling birth defect—affects the spine, causing both physical and intellectual disabilities. The condition impacts approximately 166,000 individuals in the U.S., including CSU Global student Jessica Mobley. 

Mobley, a bachelor's student in the Interdisciplinary Professional Studies program, is passionate about disability advocacy and awareness – especially in the classroom. "I incorporate my passion into assignments whenever possible. I've written several papers pertaining to fighting discrimination against the disabled community and marketing a product for wheelchair users," shared Mobley. "I've also utilized the discussion board to do the same."

Mobley reached out to CSU Global's Office of Disability and Accessibility Services when she started at the university in 2017, noting, "They have been so helpful in getting me the accommodations I needed, such as extended time to submit assignments." She's on track to graduate within the next year and hopes to attend the Spring 2024 in-person commencement ceremony in Colorado. 

Taking one class at a time has allowed Mobley to pursue both her educational goals and life passions, such as volunteering for the Spina Bifida Association of the Carolinas (SBANCSC), an organization that advocates for research to improve the lives of people living with spina bifida. She is able to apply elements from her leadership and communications to support event planning efforts with SBANCSC, such as their upcoming Walk-N-Roll fundraiser. Mobley also mentors teenage girls with spina bifida as another way to empower those with the condition. 

As she looks forward to completing her degree, Mobley reflects on the past six years. "It's been a long time coming, with all of the hurdles that I've had to overcome. It's something to be proud of," she shared. "I'm thankful that CSU Global has been willing to be so accommodating of me. The university has been so supportive of me and my needs that it hasn't been a stressful experience." 

Mobley underwent a major surgery at the beginning of the year to correct her spine's curvature, resulting in complications and the need to take two months off from classes. She credits CSU Global's eight-week classes, frequent term starts, and flexible schedule with allowing her the necessary time to recover without having to wait too long to begin classes again. 

Mobley admits that it might be a strange feeling not to be working on coursework but looks forward to spending more time with family and friends and traveling. In 2018, she went to Uganda on a mission trip for ten days, and although the internet was spotty, she took her classes with her. "One of the things I love about online learning is that, as long as you have your laptop and the internet, you can travel." Mobley shared, "Because CSU Global is so flexible with the assignment grace periods, I truly feel like everyone wants students to succeed—the university gives us every opportunity to make it happen."

JM