On my second day working for the National Down Syndrome Society, I embraced my new duties as NDSS Advocacy Program Assistant. I headed to Capitol Hill to assist Heather Sachs, the Vice President of Advocacy & Public Policy, by providing her with a self-advocate’s perspective on NDSS legislative goals. My ambition has always been to advocate for people with disabilities, and as the NDSS Advocacy Program Assistant, I am turning my passion into my career.
I graduated from the George Mason LIFE Program with concentrations in theater and communications. At George Mason, I appeared in plays, worked backstage and joined several student theater groups. My background in theatre at George Mason taught me much more than how to be an actor, theatre helped me find my voice as self-advocate, “I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.” Now that I’ve graduated, my passion for the arts shines through at Arts Stream, where I participate in a theater company, lead communication and community workshops, and I am a board member. For one of the community workshops, I combined my advocacy and theater passions into a single activity, the Did You Hear? I Heard, which teaches individuals to communicate clearly. I was excited to share with others my passions of art and advocacy, and how my two passions can go hand-in-hand. I was so happy to see how the activity, not only taught people how to communicate clearly, but it inspired confidence in all of those participating.
Prior to my job at the National Down Syndrome Society, I had extensive work experience, ranging from interning at the Smithsonian Institution with Project Search to a Congressional internship on Capitol Hill. I was given a lot of responsibility while I was interning on Capitol Hill. One of the important tasks I had to do each day was to organize and direct the hundreds of emails and phone calls, making sure they went to the correct person. The responsibilities given to me in all of my internships prepared me for my job at the National Down Syndrome Society, where I attend Hill meetings, process materials, and help develop new resources for the Down syndrome Community. In my spare time, I am a trained peer mentor with Project STIR, a DS-Ambassador from Maryland with the National Down Syndrome Society and a Board Member of the Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County in MD because an advocate’s job never stops.