News Article: "FSU Student Beats Odds to Find Path in Life"



News Article: "FSU Student Beats Odds to Find Path in Life"

Catalog Entry

Growing up, Brian Vinik was criticized for being a “nerd,” diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder (SPD), which for him made him sensitive to auditory simulation. This posed challenges for Vinik; the bell sounds signaling the start or end of the class made him very uncomfortable, as well as other loud noises, which happen frequently in a high school setting. Vinik was able to push through these challenges and create modifications for himself to make the school day comfortable for him, giving him the ability to continue to be successful in school despite his challenges.

Sensory Processing Disorder "is the inability to use information received through the senses in order to function smoothly in daily life” (Stock Kranowitz). Just like any disability, sensory processing disorders have a range of effects on those who have one. Reactivities for people with sensory processing disorders include tactile, auditory, or visual simulation. One in twenty people in the general population are affected by an SPD (“Facts about SPD"). Vinik was specifically affected by auditory simulation, so for an example the school bell signaling the end or beginning of a class caused Vinik severe discomfort.

In high school Vinik was assigned a music video project for Doherty TV, a “television” program his high school created. Little did he know this video would become recognized by more than just his family and classmates. ​The Holocaust Education and Resource Center of Rhode Island awarded Vinik for his work with the “Video Documentary of the Year” award. Having seen the possibility of where his work could go, Vinik chose to enroll at Fitchburg State University to study film and video, after graduating high school. Years later, ​Vinik was one of 40 applicants who were selected for an internship in Hollywood out of close to 1,000 others from across the U.S. Vinik’s seemingly small project he completed for his high school, was the spark that ignited his further success in film and video production. 

High-schooler Vinik wore headphones to escape the sound of the bell ringing, the signal that alerted the start or end of a class period. In between classes he could also be seen wearing these headphones; it became a staple to his look. However, once starting at Fitchburg State University, Vinik grew out of his headphone-wearing days, and only wore them for video projects. Attending college at FSU helped push Vinik out of his shell, and he was awarded opportunities for success. A device he used to get through the day was no longer needed. An object he used to escape the uncomfortable was now associated with a passion of his own.

Since graduating Fitchburg State University, Vinik has worked on many notable projects, including video editing for the New York Philharmonic group, ​night assistant editor for TLC's "Say Yes To The Dress," "Say Yes To The Dress UK," "Say Yes: Wedding SOS" "Say Yes to the Prom," and "Little Mom," and most recently he has worked for Engel Entertainment as the assistant editor for season four of Animal Planet’s “Lone Star Law” (“Brian Vinik"). Vinik was able to pursue his passion for working with media, despite his auditory challenges as a high school student.

Brian Vinik did not let his disability define nor limit him. He pushed through what was difficult for him and pursued something he enjoyed. Given the continuing support in high school and in higher education, Vinik has been able to be very successful. Many people make assumptions about a person diagnosed with a disability, such as they can’t attend college. Vinik is an example of why such assumptions are not only unkind but also untrue. A person diagnosed with a disability with the right support is capable of much more than society gives them credit for. Brian Vinik’s story is not only inspiring but a great representation of what success despite adversity looks like.


“Brian Vinik.” ​Linkedin,

Doyle, Bill. “FSU Student Beats Odds to Find Path in Life.”
Telegram, 30 June 2014,

“Facts About SPD.” Sensory Processing Disorder,

Stock Kranowitz, Carol. “Sensory Processing Disorder Overview.” Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, overview/.

Vinik, Brian. “The Train of No Return.” Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center​, 23 Aug. 2017,

Catalog Entry Author(s)

Colleen Couture, Student, Fitchburg State University



“News Article: "FSU Student Beats Odds to Find Path in Life",” Cultural Heritage through Image, accessed September 27, 2022,

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