Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ross Yellin
Weekly Blog  5/27/2012

Today was the first week of my internship experience. During this week we had our AAPD
orientation. The orientation consisted of two main parts the first being the preparation and
presentation of the book No Pity by Joseph Shapiro and the second being the keynote speakers
consisting of executives from different governmental and private agencies. I arrived at GW
university on Sunday May 27th and moved into my room located at Ivory Towers. My first
day consisted of moving my belongings into my room, introducing myself to my roommate ,
exploring Washington DC and orienting myself with my surroundings.

The first day of orientation took place on Tuesday May 29th. During the first day we
discussed the Nuts and Bolts of our internship experience such as our stipend, transportation,
our roommate agreement, schedule and received professional business cards. On the Second
day Patrick Cokley, a Policy Advisor for the Office of Disability Employment Policy and David
Hale, a Professor on Diversity Studies and Disabilities Law Policy educated us on the History
on employment of people with disabilities. It was truly amazing to see how far we have come
since the 19th Century when people with disabilities were believed to be possessed by the devil
and institutionalized. After lunch The Executive Vice President of Bender Consulting Firms
spoke about how to succeed and make the most out of our internships. The discussion included
dealing with and properly handling adversity though out the internship as well as networking
and how to make your self the best candidate for a promotion.

Thursday was reserved for our group presentations on the Book No Pity. Our group
was assigned to chapter One which was about what the book referred to as “Super Crips” a
term used to describe Disabled people who reach above the limitations of their disability and
try to achieve the unthinkable. Our group made the argument that while “Super Crips” may
be impressive it is much more realistic for disabled people to accept their disability as a part
of themselves, and be proud of it. For instance a paraplegic should not feel the need to walk
around on crutches and struggle to walk. Instead he or she should accept the fact that they
have a wheel chair and fulfill their lives to the fullest extent utilizing their wheelchair.
Today we also meet our mentor. My mentor was from an organization that provided
aid and guidance to people with disabilities in third world countries.

Friday was the last day ofour orientation. We had several speakers come in. The most memorable to me was Rebecca Cokley, who is currently the Director of Priority and Placement for Public Engagement. Ms Cokley spoke about how her boss discriminated against her because she was a little person .Every time her boss was present she was placed in the backroom isolating her from everyone
else. Ironically her boss’s boss showed up for a surprise visit and asked Ms. Cokley why she was
in the Back room. She told her about how her boss was afraid of little people and tried keep
her out of her site. Ultimately this lead to her boss being fired and Ms. Cokley being promoted
due to her hard work and dedication to the company. This story is a perfect example of how
standing up for yourself and maintaining a sense of perseverance despite adversary can put you
ahead of others. Overall I had a great week and look forward to starting my internship at the
US Access Board on Tuesday.

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