Advocating for People with Disabilities

Truman Scholarship supports passion
Advocating for People with Disabilities
Thursday, April 17, 2014

An ILR junior who has centered her Cornell, national and global service learning experiences on advocating for people with disabilities has been named a Truman Scholar.

Teresa Danso-Danquah '15 will receive up to $30,000 for graduate study through the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. On Wednesday, it announced its 59-name list of 2014 winners from across the nation.

"ILR truly is a major of endless possibilities and I have been blessed with various opportunities here and at Cornell to formulate my own path in disability advocacy," she said in an interview today.

The Truman Scholarship application and interview process was rigorous, but helped shape her college years, said Danso-Danquah, who plans to pursue a master/doctoral degree in disability and human development and a law degree.

"You really have to reflect on and articulate your academic, leadership, and community engagement in high school and college and formulate plans of where you imagine going next."

"As a person who loves to reflect, it was great to begin this process at the end of my sophomore year knowing that it was important for not only this application process, but how I really evaluate my time at Cornell and as a young adult," Danso-Danquah said.

During interview preparation, "I really began to feel the great support network and caring community that I have gotten to know at Cornell."

Cornell Career Center Fellowship Coordinator Beth Fiori assembled practice panels of professors and staff to ready Danso-Danquah, who said, "The practice feedback I received was extremely helpful, again not for simply the Truman interview, but for public speaking development and being able to defend what I am passionate about."

"I'm sincerely humbled by this award and its affirmation of the academic, leadership and service work I have done so far and the future potential they see in me," Danso-Danquah said.

This is the third year in a row that an ILR student has received a Truman Scholarship. Simon Boehme '14 and Alex Bores '13 also received the award for students planning a public service career.

Danso-Danquah's research at ILR's Employment and Disability Institute is focused on the transition of young adults with disabilities in higher education and the work world.

A Rawlings Cornell Presidential Research Scholar, a McNair Scholar and a Public Service Center Scholar, she has minors in Spanish, Law & Society and Inequality Studies.

Danso-Danquah worked on a project to increase employment of youth with disabilities in Hyderabad, India, led therapeutic arts lessons with teen girls in Cusco, Peru and served as a disability policy intern in the U.S. Senate.

On campus, she is president of both the Disabilities Service Troop and the Cornell Union for Disabilities Awareness.

Off campus, she volunteers with a residential program for young adults with disabilities.