Overcoming the odds to realize her dreams!

by Jess Quandel

When Tarissa Todd was just five years old, she suffered a stroke that affected the entire left side of her body. Throughout her childhood and teenage years, Tarissa battled lasting damage to her motor skills in her left foot and hand. It was a set of circumstances that left her wondering if her dream career was out of reach. “I always wanted to be a cosmetologist but I was always worried I wouldn’t be able to overcome my setbacks.”

Unsure of how she would fair in beauty school, she researched her options, eventually taking a tour of Empire Beauty School in Shamokin Dam, PA. She knew immediately she wanted to try and follow her dream. “I was worried about how I would grip the hair and to be honest, my sectioning was horrible in the beginning. It was really hard. But I worked at it and I am doing great. I adapted and I am able to do everything like everyone else.”

Tarissa says it was her educators that kept her going, even when she felt like she couldn’t.

“They boosted my confidence level and eventually I built up confidence in myself. I’ve learned to adapt. I am so passionate about this industry and I never felt like I belong somewhere as much as I feel I belong here.”

Just a few days from graduation, Tarissa has perfect attendance and nearly perfect academics. One day, Tarissa hopes to open her own salon. However, for now, she plans on working and growing in an established business where she can enjoy her current success as a new licensed professional.

“I love making other people feel beautiful. That’s what drives me.”


If you are interested in learning more about a future in cosmetology, please fill out the online form on this page or call us at 1 (800) 964-1328.

For important consumer info, please visit www.empire.edu/ge


January 24, 2018

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