– ConantLeadership Intern
NOD found Deanna through our Campus to Careers program. Deanna is from Carver, Massachusetts. She has spent her whole life advocating for people with disabilities, as her little brother was diagnosed with autism a few years after birth. Since she was 12, she has been involved in the disability community as a teaching assistant for a small, therapeutic school for students in grades 5-12. She attended high school at Milton Academy, an independent school in Milton, Massachusetts. In her sophomore year of high school, she was diagnosed with a learning disability. Immersed in a school environment in which disability was adequately supported, but not frequently discussed, she began to look at her academic career in a whole new light, devoting more time to understanding the most effective way for her to learn. The addition of this new label to her identity was pivotal in how she thought about herself and her accomplishments. Now, she prides herself on the big impact that she has made on the disability community at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she is enrolled. This past semester, she interned in the Assistive Technology Center, where she created an accessible handbook of all the assistive tools that are offered to UMass Amherst students. By disclosing her whole identity, she hopes to empower people to do the same. This summer is her first time living in New York City, and she is excited to explore the many unique opportunities.