Gustavus Adolphus College Junior Works to Improve Lives in the Disability Community

"This semester I had the opportunity to intern at the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). My autistic little brother is my inspiration on why I want to be involved in the politics, but I felt like I needed to expand my knowledge beyond the issues that my brother and family face. Thankfully, my time at AAPD has taught me quite a bit about current issues in the realm of disabilities. I received calls from all over the country from people who wanted assistance with a particular set of circumstances they were going through, so I found helpful resources located close to where they lived. I researched articles about current events in the disability community and compiled them into the Disability Daily, an e-mail sent out 5 days a week to approximately 3,000 AAPD members. My supervisor, two fellow interns at AAPD, and I worked together to host monthly Emerging Leader Program (ELP) events to bring together people with disabilities and a variety of speakers for socialization and the opportunity to learn more about what can be done in society to improve lives in the disability community. A couple times I attended the Tech Forum, meetings between representatives of disability organizations and technology companies such as AT&T and Comcast, and learned about efforts to make technology more user-friendly for people with disabilities. 

My semester at AAPD allowed me to experience what it's like to work at a nonprofit organization and see a glimpse of what my future may look like after I graduate college. While there were smooth and rough points throughout my internship at AAPD, which are a part of life no matter where people are or what they do, I would not trade the time I spent there and the people I met for anything."

-Lisa Slaikeu, Gustavus Adolphus College Junior, Spring 2015 American Association of People with Disabilities Intern