December 12, 2012

Speaking in Public...

Because of my boss' involvement with the Congressional Internship Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities, I was asked to speak on a panel at George Mason University's 2012 State of the ARt Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities.

In 2010, Congressman Harper, the Committee on House Administration and George Mason partnered together to bring students with various Intellectual Disabilities to Capitol Hill to work in House and Senate offices.

As of this fall, 64 offices (House and Senate) have participated in the program.  It has been a huge success.  I was asked to speak on the beginnings of the program, the orientation process and best practices.

There were three other speakers: another Hill staffer and two students who had participated in the program.  This was my view from the front before anyone arrived in the room!

I was nervous!  I'm used to being "the person behind the person" and not the one who is expected to speak.  However, once we did a practice round I felt more comfortable and it was easier that I expected.

This program has touched so many lives--from the students who participate and grow professionally to the offices that welcome these young men and women with open arms.  It is a win-win situation.

It is also a unifying, bi-partisan effort--something that we need more of in Washington.  I look forward to seeing the program grow in the future and placing students in every Congressional office.

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