For Isabella “Izzy” Peters, her neurosurgeon Dr Buchman’s ability to successfully install cochlear implants in both ears so that she could hear all of the melodious sounds in her world is a gift she’d like to pay forward when she graduates from college. Born completely deaf, she was one of the first children in North Carolina to receive a double-cochlear implant, according to her Social Studies teacher Lauren Casteen.
“I would not be successful in the hearing world without him,” she said. So after matriculating to UNC-Charlotte to major in mathematics and computer science, “I plan to use the skills that I develop in order to make the world a better place.”
There is no doubt that she will do what she’s set out to do. She speaks her mind on behalf of herself and others. Casteen says that at the tender age of five, she communicated programming flaws with her cochlear implants and assisted teh developers and designers of the technology with creating a more functional device for individual users. When she was 11, she spoke to the Board of Education on behalf of her fellow students about what she considered an inordinate amount of standardized testing; her presentation was featured on NPR.
During COVID, she created a plan, then worked her plan in order to thrive.
Her objective was balance, so she set up a schedule for work, lots of breaks, and fun “while living in my bedroom.” The fun was a reward for the hard work she put in.
“What motivates me is knowing the benefits and the rewards of my hard work,” said Isabella, who learned new skills during the shutdown caused by the pandemic. No longer able to be face-to-face with people and unable to read lips due to masks, she became a better listener.
After the world began to open back up, she conquered the challenge of planning a trip to New York City, flying solo for the first time, she said. “My biggest accomplishment was figuring out that the only way I was going to make it to Penn Station was to rent e-bikes and drive around Central Park and the streets of New York City!”
In addition to traveling, Isabella also enjoys playing sports and video games, watching movies, and reading. This straight-A student is “everything that is great about Northern and DPS,” said Casteen.