When Chieko Asakawa was younger, she had normal vision and a dream. She wanted to compete in the Olympics. But after hitting her eyes on the side of a swimming pool at age 11, she gradually lost her sight until she was completely blind by 14. It makes you want to shed a tear but don’t.

At that time in Japan, many blind people were routed into careers in massage or acupuncture. “I didn’s want someone else to decide my job,” says Asakawa. “So I made it my goal to find a new type of job as a blind person.”

Now she’s a fellow at IBM with a Ph.D. in Engineering from Tokyo University. A true OG in her field, she’s been making strides to bring information to other handicapped individuals since Netscape! Check out the rest of this inspirational story at ieee Spectrum.