Event to Raise Awareness About People With Disabilities

Jan. 25, 2017    

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— It was the classic case of realizing you don’t know what you don’t know.

In her class “The Exceptional Child,” Amber Stringer ’18 was shocked to discover how little she knew about people with disabilities. Taught by Visiting Assistant Professor of Educational Studies Maggie Evans, the course made such an impact on Stringer, she felt she needed to share what she’d learned with the Illinois Wesleyan community.

Stringer and two other elementary education majors — Emma Lewis ’18 and Sydney Seeman ’18 — have organized “Being Exceptional in Our Community” on Feb. 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Hansen Student Center. Presenters include: Casey Lebre ’18, Cassie Leishman ’18, Claudia McGee-Morales ’18, Emily Leiner ’18, Emma Hanzelin ’18, Lauren Zanoni ’19, Ruby Garcia ’17, Sarah O’Rourke ’18, as well as students from Illinois State University. Some of the presentation topics will focus on media representation of people with disabilities, sports inclusion, and a presentation entitled “Curb Cuts are Not Enough.”

Stringer said the idea for the event came from another Educational Studies program called the Social Justice Wall, where students gathered to write their ideas about the importance of social justice in their day-to-day lives.

“I wanted to incorporate the idea of the Social Justice Wall — where students can express what a topic signifies to them  —  and information that I learned in Professor Evans’ impactful class,” said Stringer, who is also majoring in Hispanic Studies. “As a teacher, I think it is crucial to share what I learn, and I hope to encompass this, with the help of other IWU and ISU students, at Being Exceptional in Our Community.”

The event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Educational Studies department. Assistant Professor of Educational Studies Pennie Gray said she and Evans have supported the students, but that the three students “have put this event together on their own.”

By Reilly Kasprak ’17