Discipline: Social Work
I received my undergraduate degree in Social Work with a minor in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Southern Maine. I am currently enrolled in the advanced standing MSW program here at UMaine. I was lucky enough to be awarded an Undergradute Research Opportunity Programs fellowship that, in conjunction with a position as a research and teaching assistant, allowed me to hone my qualitative research skills. I also had the honor of serving LGBT youth as a volunteer mentor and steering committee member for a number of years. My employment background is in the direct support field, working in group homes with adults with developmental disabilities. After years of encountering policies and practices that seemed to consistently ignore the personal complexities of the individuals whom I served, often actively working against their self-determination, I decided to pursue my social work degree with a focus on disability studies. I hope to eventually provide therapy services for individuals with developmental disabilities, and be involved in advocacy for reform and innovation within the group home model. For me, leadership is about learning strategies to amplify the voices of those least heard, while also fostering environments in which others are willing to hear and make change. As a non-disabled person, I am dedicated to learning how to best use my education and access to collaborate with and support the tireless and effective disability rights movement in the important and historic work they already do.