Posts by Lauren
I apologize I haven’t posted earlier this past week. I’ve been so busy that finally I have time to drink my chai, and type a blog on my laptop that’s not homework related.
Believe it or not Spring Break is taking place this week!
Ask me what I am doing, and it is pretty much applying for a summer co-op. For positions I am interested in, the deadline is in April. I’m really hoping to work for Senator Schumer or Senator Durbin. Whatever I do in the future, I still want to be actively involved in promoting organ donation and volunteering for the Make A Wish Foundation.
In the meantime, it’s been great visiting with my relatives. I’ve been very crafty, making things for family members who are ill in the hospital. It’s been a little rough for my family lately. I do my very best to cheer them up! I made a blanket for my uncle who recently had surgery, made a pie from scratch for my aunt who is in a nursing home, and a cook book for my godmother. Hopefully watching for changes signaling spring is here. Tomorrow I am going to downtown Chicago, and I can’t wait!
I HAD AN AMAZING TIME THIS PAST WEEKEND! I don’t know which was my favorite: going to Niagara Falls with many of my family members who visited from out of state, visiting Corning’s glass blowing exhibit, taking my brother to Java Wally’s on campus, or treating the family to outstanding carrot cake, made in Rochester!
We were all excited about the day trip to Niagara Falls, because for the second time this winter, the polar vortex created amazing cave like formations, where the steam arose from the plunging waterfalls. Walkways I trod last April were closed due to deep snow. Below is a picture with some of my family members spelling “Frozen” to remember this family adventure.
This past weekend I performed my final college theater performance as “Lola” in Damn Yankees. My favorite part was my entrance on stage, because I got to ride on top of a red car, along with my amazing voice actress. What I really like about NTID Panara Theater, and what I will TRULY miss, is that I enjoy the opportunity to interact with students and community members. In this positive atmosphere, deaf, hard-of hearing and hearing work together on a project that may not be related to their primary studies. I signed my lines, while my hearing partner (who happens to be majoring in electrical engineering) voices or sings what I am signing. What’s even more fun is that my voice actress and I synchronized our dance, making me feel that we were mirrored twins.
BRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!! It is cold outside! I hope you are staying warm and enjoying ice skating, skiing or hockey during your spare time!
Did you know that there is a push to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour? The current administration feels this move is needed to get full-time workers out of poverty.
Would you be willing to stand outside, braving the freezing temperatures, for the opportunity to hear Vice President Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden speak? Trust me, it was worth it! MCC (Monroe Community College) Applied Technologies Center hosted the event, at which Vice President Biden discussed a topic near and dear to students hearts: education directed at jobs that are currently unfilled. After Vice President Biden’s presentation, exposing the job openings due to the lack of workers that have specific training, Dr. Jill Biden, who is herself a professor at a community college, discussed the important role community college programs fulfill as they adapt programs to supply the training currently in demand by businesses.
Claudia Gordon (First African American deaf woman political appointee with the Obama Administration, serving as Special Assistant to the Director of the US Department of Labor) was able to secure a few tickets for NTID President Dr. Buckley. Twelve students, along with some professors, were fortunate to attend this unique experience. I was happy to see some familiar RIT/NTID faculty members attending when I arrived, including our wonderful Dr. Buckley, Dr. Todd Pagano (Professor of the Year), Dr. Jessica Cuculick (NTID alumna, who recently earned her Ph.D.), Professor/Lawyer/Rabbi Dr. Jennifer Gravitz, Dean/Professor Dr. Schmitz, Marianne Gustafson (Associate Dean for Curriculum & Special Projects), and last but not least, one of the most humble people I have ever met in my life, Dr. Bernie Hurwitz (Executive Assistant to the President).
My favorite part of Vice President Joe Biden’s speech was: “Men and women paid equally should happen.” I couldn’t agree more. What a powerful statement!
The Bidens reminded us that education truly leads to economic prosperity. They noted that manufacturing jobs are coming back to the US as the previous trend of outsourcing reverses.
Overall, I am grateful for this opportunity of a lifetime. I also presented a copy of my autobiography, Austin’s Gift, to an assistant of US Senator Schumer. That was pretty exciting for me!
On a personal note, thank you Claudia Gordon and NTID for making this experience possible!
How wonderful that following the sequestration, funding for NTID has been increased by $4 million dollars! Many more dreams and ambitions can be fulfilled, thanks to the restoration of federal support. It was especially touching to be present to learn of Senator Schumer’s praise of NTID students, who (he reported) have greater success and more productive careers than any other comparable educational institution in the United States. He attributes this to our excellent faculty, the wonderful programming, the excellent educational opportunities available at NTID, as well as our awesome student body. I was honored to have the opportunity to shake the Senator’s hand, and personally thank him for his support of our programs. Experiencing how beneficial NTID’s support has been during my college career, I was elated to convey my appreciation to Senator Schumer for his support in sustaining NTID’s programming. President Buckley enthusiastically welcomed the Senator, pointing out the contributions NTID has made (and continues to make) to RIT and the Rochester community. I was very proud of our faculty and my peers. Here is a link to the press release.
As promised, here is the upload of my meeting with baby Blake and his parents at the one year anniversary of his heart transplant!
Spring semester begins Monday and I can hardly wait! I am excited about my new classes. However, before classes begin, I will attend the women’s hockey game this Saturday. They will be auctioning off the “autism” themed jerseys: I LOVE THE DESIGN! I am proud to be part of a university with strong athletic programs that show great sportsmanship, student body enthusiasm, and who interact in community programs! Go TIGERS!
Do you have exciting plans for the holidays? I hope you’re staying warm, drinking hot chocolate, and having some fun in the snow (if you have any)! This break seems strange and special, being the first year I won’t have to study or work on a project over holiday break, because of the new semester schedule. I must admit I left feeling relaxed, excited, and VERY happy I didn’t have to load up my suitcase with books for the flight home!
You may already know that I had a heart transplant when I was one week old. Now that I go to adult hospitals, I NEVER meet infants who have had a transplant. Just recently, I had an opportunity to meet a one-year-old named Blake, who had a transplant when he was 3 months old. Our connection began last year when I saw Blake’s story on the news in Rochester and was inspired by it. My parents often said one of their greatest challenges was there was no history of infants who had transplants, because I was born the year the transplant program began in Chicago! I never had a transplant model to look up to when I was born, and I wanted to encourage Blake and his family. I am sure that Blake will have a wonderful life ahead of him. I look forward to hearing all the wonderful things Blake will do, living life to the fullest with a new heart! I brought the family a copy of “Austin’s Gift, the Life of a Grateful Organ Recipient,” my autobiography, hoping some of my recollections would bring some enjoyment.
Below is a picture from my visit with Blake. Isn’t he cute? On Christmas day, our story will be aired on YNN News and I hope to be able to share the video with you next time I write a blog.
In the meantime, have a FANTASTIC holiday with your family.
I hope you had a FANTASTIC Thanksgiving! I know I am still stuffed from all the food I ate! For the first time ever, I went to an NBA game during Thanksgiving break, and I had a wonderful time with my family! The best part was that the Chicago Bulls, my home team, won!