Doctoral student uses his experiences with epilepsy to inspire others

June 8, 2023

By Deron Hamel

Tyler Herrington is completing his doctoral studies focused on climate-change research, defying the odds a childhood physician gave his parents when asked how epilepsy would impact his life.

Tyler Herrington, pictured above, is one of four students to receive a 2022 Epilepsy Ontario scholarship.

As a child living with epilepsy, Tyler’s parents were told by the doctor that epilepsy would prevent their son from living a rich and productive life due to challenges the condition would present.

But Tyler refused to let epilepsy stand in the way of his ambition. He attended university, earning a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree before being accepted into a doctoral program.

Tyler wants to encourage others living with epilepsy to do the same and not let their condition control their life. Recently, he notes how he spoke with a student who had received an epilepsy diagnosis. Tyler told the student not to let epilepsy derail their dreams.

“We had a chat, and I disclosed to them that I too live with epilepsy and told them about my experiences and what I’ve been able to achieve despite the diagnosis,” Tyler says.

Tyler told the student they could complete their degree, and their diagnosis doesn’t mean they should give up. His conversation with the student provided an a-ha moment for Tyler, he says.

“It was moments like these that helped me realize that I have a great passion for teaching and for outreach work – and I hope to be able to use this passion and my background in science to inspire a love of learning and to help end the stigma around epilepsy,” he says.

Tyler says he will continue speaking with others about his own experiences and try to be a role model and source of inspiration to those living with epilepsy.

“As someone who is working on a doctorate and has had experience with teaching and outreach work, I would hope to be able to use this as a platform to be open about my diagnosis and talk about my story,” he says.

“I hope to be able to use my experience with outreach education work to engage with epilepsy organizations and act as a mentor for other folks living with epilepsy.”

Tyler is one of four recipients of Epilepsy Ontario’s 2022 annual scholarship. For more than 15 years, Epilepsy Ontario has been providing scholarships to exceptional students who have confronted and overcome remarkable barriers in their academic and personal lives due to their epilepsy.

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