Alumna Jean Lawrence, a 2010 political science graduate, was invited to attend the first National Summit on Disability Policy: Living, Learning & Earning, in Washington, DC.

The event was hosted by the National Council on Disability and marked the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) becoming law.

“There was so much learned and so much celebrated. I was able to speak with many people in the transportation, education, healthcare, and disability rights fields. They have helped me develop ideas to improve the access within our university and community,” said Lawrence.

Senior government officials, including the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, and more than 500 disability leaders from across the country gathered to discuss the history of the ADA, and the future of disability policy at the Federal, state and local level.

“I have met with the Office for Students with Disabilities at UTC to talk about a program for junior and senior high school students with disabilities to help them understand the transition from high school to college,” said Lawrence.

Michelle Rigler, director of the Office for Students with Disabilities, said there are many things students have to do so they can qualify for services. She said if they are prepared for these steps and know how to navigate through them, their transition will be easier.

“We are hoping to turn this program into a full transition program within the next year, opening up the possibility for graduating students with disabilities to move onto campus a month early, take a couple classes, and a ‘survival class’ with the staff of OSD,” said Rigler.

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