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Christopher E. Powell
Mathematician | Entrepreneur | Motivational Speaker
Despite the tremendous odds that he faces, Christopher Powell continues to persevere. Chris was born with cerebral palsy. He has limited use of his hands and has experienced frequent falls because of cerebral palsy. As a young child, he needed assistance from his family to accomplish minimal tasks. Dressing, feeding and bathing were some of the daily living activities that his family provided.
Writing was also something that was not possible for Chris. Throughout his educational years, Chris constantly required the assistance of a scribe/writer to help him complete homework, school papers and examinations. Around the fifth grade, it was suggested to Chris that he use an electric wheelchair to get around, which presented pros and cons. Yes, getting around was easier, but it caused his limbs to stiffen and his leg muscles began to atrophy. Though Chris used a wheelchair most of the time, he desired to be able to walk on his own.
During his last year of high school, Chris joined the Achilles Track Club. The track club’s members were disabled athletes who worked out once a week. Chris credits them with helping him attain physical development and a new approach to life. With constant workouts, Chris gained enough strength to maintain stamina for the day. Rather than the constant falls that he experienced as a child, he now loses his balance infrequently.
One of Chris’s greatest desires was the ability to learn and improve himself. Education was very important to him and mathematics was his favorite subject. In college, he decided to major in mathematics. When Chris began classes at Montgomery College, he did not use his wheelchair as much. Chris began experimenting with other forms of independence.
Through constant development, he realized that with the proper attitude and work ethic, many things could be accomplished.
Chris subsequently attended Towson State University for one semester, before transferring to the University of Maryland at College Park. In 1998, Chris received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics. On the day of graduation, Chris actually walked to receive his degree. Although it took 10 years for Chris to receive a degree, it was worth it. It was a dual accomplishment. Not only did Chris receive his degree, but he attained valuable life skills in the process. Constant drive and determination led Chris to fulfill his goal.
Chris is currently the Instructional Lab Coordinator Mathematics Learning Center in Montgomery College at its Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus. Chris uses his experiences to motivate and inspire students. He constantly encourages them to reach for the stars. Chris understands the struggles and trials that many of his students face. He reinforces their desires to achieve by his leadership and example.
Chris is the beneficiary of recent advancements in technology. He uses Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 to complete all written tasks. This technology has provided him with independence and freedom in all aspects of his life.
Chris is an avid runner and athlete. He has participated in many races, 1 mile runs, 5 km races, and his longest race to date, an 8 km race in 2002. He also lifts weights. His primary machine is the leg-press and his maximum lift has been a whopping 350 pounds with eight repetitions!
Chris strives to set an example that through hard work and dedication, we all have the ability to reach our dreams and goals. His philosophy stems from the belief that as long as we have the determination to challenge our fears and limitations, there is nothing that can stand in our way. Chris believes it’s not how many times you fall, but the number of times you get up. We all have the ability to overcome obstacles! We all have the inner strength to overcome!