UNT Dallas Graduate has plans to help others overcome difficulties – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

The path to graduation is not always easy. Few people know this better than Ariel Berkowitz.

“It’s not easy,” Berkowitz said. “Nobody said it was easy.”

Berkowitz is part of the class of 2022 at the University of North Texas at Dallas. A few years ago, he didn’t know if he would ever go to college.

“I don’t really remember much. I was hit by a train, and the train dragged me about 90 feet,” Berkowitz said.

He left hospital in 2016 as a double amputee; one leg was amputated below the knee, the other above the knee.

“I had tubes in my mouth…so I wrote, ‘Do I have robot legs?'” Berkowitz said, recalling his time in the hospital. “I’m like a really positive person, and I’m not going to let anything like that define me.”

Berkowitz went from a wheelchair to physical therapy and prosthetic legs.

“You’ve been walking for about 20 years of your life, and all of a sudden you have to relearn how to do it,” Berkowitz said.

Berkowitz worked hard to be able to get around campus with his prosthetic legs without having to use a walker.

“He is very dedicated to his work, his studies, and he has a desire to give back,” said Muhammed Yousufuddin, assistant professor of chemistry at UNT Dallas. “These are the types of students we want to graduate.”

“I had that positivity in me, I just needed to harness it in the right way,” Berkowitz said.

By losing his legs, he won a goal.

“I would say it’s to help people in the future. I know there are people who need my help.”

After graduating, Berkowitz plans to intern at the prosthetic lab where he got his legs, then apply to occupational therapy school so he can help others like him.

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