Sara Furguson

At age 3, I was involved in a head-on collision that left me paralyzed from the neck down. In a wheelchair and ventilator dependant, my life changed forever. Instead of seeing my disabilities as challenges, I see my situation as an opportunity to make a difference in society. Over the years, I have surmounted the continuous discrimination faced as a person with a disability and I realized the importance of fighting against injustice for those with disabilities.

While it would be easy to succumb to the daily challenges, I have embraced these obstacles. As a student at Cornell, I have participated in countless public service initiatives. Specifically, I started Cornell’s first Disabilities Service Team to help students with temporary and permanent disabilities. The program now has 40 volunteers and is supported by all major departments on campus. Moreover, I write monthly employment advice blogs for the Center for Disability Rights. The response has been remarkable and has educated people with disabilities about their rights as job seekers and employees.

After graduation, I plan to pursue a law degree. In the pursuit of a career in public service, I feel this is a crucial step to understanding how to bring change to the government in terms of civil and human rights. I intend to work for the government and protect the rights of people with disabilities and all who endure the harsh discrimination of our society. Moreover, I plan to open a not for profit organization dedicated to increasing the employment of people with disabilities. The disability community has been underrepresented in the labor market and the time for this to change has come.

This scholarship will give me the opportunity to make a difference in society and focus on what’s truly important. All too often, people choose careers that will offer the greatest financial stability. This scholarship will benefit all people with disabilities by giving me the opportunity to bring change to an area that receives little attention.