FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- All of Shannon Muzio's hard work is about to pay off.
"I feel like a king getting this robe."
For four years now she's dedicated her studies at Fresno State to the science of hearing.
"The more I thought about it, the more I found out that audiology would be perfect for me to fit my strengths and my desires, and as well as a way for me to use my own experience in my future."
For Muzio, audiology is more than just a future career, this study is deeply personal. She was born with a cleft palate, her ears never developed and she could barely hear.
"With a hearing loss and not having ears, it is different and is hard on your self-esteem."
Since she was two weeks old, a hearing aid has been a part of Muzio's day-to-day life. She says she finally found a sense of normality in sixth grade when, after multiple reconstructive surgeries, but Muzio finally had ears.
"They took cartilage from my ribs and skin from my hips and literally made the ears that I have now."
Muzio says she never let any of her setbacks define her. Instead, she used them to fuel her passion. The 4.0 student is now one of the dean's medalists, and she's also graduating with a minor in agricultural business and two certificates. Outside of the classroom, She's donated hundreds of hours to community service and helping those who struggle with hearing loss
Muzio says her parents played a huge role in her success and her perseverance.
"I know every time I have felt pain, my mom, for sure has felt the same exact pain, and my dad too. Not that their work is done, but they made it, and we all made it."
But Muzio's journey is just beginning. Her next chapter will take her to the East Coast, where she'll attend the University of North Carolina to pursue a doctorate in audiology.
Fresno State senior overcomes life's adversities to graduate with top honors
More TOP STORIES News