Greetings and welcome to my About page!
My journey as an advocate began in high school, where I discovered the power of advocacy through my involvement with FIRST robotics. As a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion in STEM, I tirelessly championed the inclusion of students from all backgrounds: different genders, income levels, abilities and disabilities, sexual identities, rural areas, and underrepresented communities. I firmly believed that every individual had something valuable to contribute and deserved a seat at the table. I even had the privilege of advocating to members of Congress at Capitol Hill, advocating for increased STEM funding in rural areas.
When I entered college, my advocacy efforts continued to evolve. In my freshman year, I delved into research, focusing on exploring noninvasive treatments for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in women who had experienced sexual abuse. Simultaneously, I joined the Association of Students with Disabilities and Chronic Conditions (ASDCC) and was elected as the Awareness Chair for my sophomore year. This role allowed me to forge connections with key departments such as SAEO, University Counseling Services (UCS), and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA), enabling me to advocate effectively for the needs and challenges faced by students with disabilities.
During my sophomore year, I faced a significant personal challenge when I found myself in the hospital and had an extended stay throughout the summer. However, my determination remained unshaken. Returning to school on a part-time basis in my junior year, I resumed my research in virtual reality (VR) for autism and took on the role of President of ASDCC. As President, I established valuable connections with disability organizations at the state and national level. I had the honor of meeting esteemed figures such as the President of my university, Dr. Rao, as well as the Provost and the VP of Student Affairs.
Furthermore, I was invited to speak as a panelist on the closing plenary panel at a national conference on disability hosted by Ohio State University. This panel focused on the experiences of students with disabilities in higher education, allowing me to share my insights and advocate for change. In addition, this year, I conducted a qualitative research study and collaborated with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) to develop comprehensive standards for professor training in higher education.
My efforts extended beyond campus borders as well. I reached out to the governor and other government departments, seeking their support and collaboration in advancing disability rights and inclusion. Through perseverance and a passion for making a difference, I am determined to create a lasting impact in the field of disability advocacy and education.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about my journey thus far. I invite you to explore the various facets of my work showcased on this website, including my research projects, presentations, initiatives, and collaborations. Together, let's strive for an inclusive and equitable future in higher education.