I am a multiple-disabled high school dropout, and it was because of support from SEA that I was able to not only graduate from Shoreline Community College, but that I was able to remain enrolled at the University of Washington during a really difficult time in my life.
Students with psychiatric disabilities like myself have an 86% University dropout rate (Price 2011), despite having a significant amount to offer our communities. I am eternally grateful for all of the support I received from SEA and am forever indebted to this program as I genuinely would not be where I am today without it.
What I have been able to accomplish because of SEA:
I served two terms as Student Body President at Shoreline Community College, and served on a taskforce for the transfer of disability accommodations per SB 6466 in 2016. I served on this taskforce for two years as I transferred to the University of Washington. While at the University of Washington I worked for local startup, Nursing Evolutions, leading a project to review state law which would allow us to open our Pediatric Critical Care Facility. I then returned to disability advocacy, working as the Director of the ASUW Student Disability Commission. Here we did significant work (see link to Dennis Lang Award for more details: https://disabilitystudies.washington.edu/news/2019-05/dennis-lang-awards).
I am graduating this Spring with a BA in Disability Studies, with Minors in Education, Learning and Society, & Diversity. I also have been providing a guest lecture in the UW College of Education, titled: Academic Disableism: Contemporary Issues in Segregation. This lecture teaches aspiring education professionals about the ways in which Special Education is being used to segregate communities of color, about the history of ascribing disability to marginalized communities, and how disabled students are being segregated into non-traditional programs.
I was recently accepted to CUNY’s Master of Arts in Disability Studies, to begin this Fall. I hope to eventually pursue a career in higher education leadership, and/or pursue my PhD in Education, to address the need for distance learning integration in post secondary programs. I plan to continue to advocate for distance learning integration and universal design in post-secondary education at the University of Washington following my graduation.