Lauren Santaniello aims to teach students about overcoming their obstacles and pursuing goals at a Q&A session at Ramapo College for her published book, Death of Ignorance. And she’s only a student herself.

Santaniello, a senior literature major at the college, has celebrated the success of her first published fiction novel while getting her second ready for submission. In elementary school, she never would have dreamed she would be where she is today. She struggled with reading and endured being mocked by her peers due to her dyslexia. Refusing to be defeated, she continued to work hard at reading, and came to find that she has a deep love of writing.

Santaniello still struggles with spelling, but she has an understanding group of friends and editors who are more than willing to help her out. Santaniello was able to overcome her difficulties in the classroom, and hopes that others will be able to use her story as inspiration.