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Champions of Change - Jennifer Harris, University of Kentucky

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Meet Danville native and architecture graduate student, Jennifer Harris, always dreamed of graduating from the University of Kentucky. However, as a deaf woman, she has faced many barriers along the way. With the help of her professors, interpreters and the Disability Resource Center,
Harris' dream will become a reality. Disability Resource Center Director David Beach has been there every step of the way to provide Harris with the resources she needed to be successful.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 3, 2017) — The University of Kentucky Disability Resource Center (DRC) serves nearly 2,000 students every year. From providing accessible programming to coordinating interpreting on campus, the DRC ensures that students receive the appropriate accommodations to
help them succeed. 

"We are here to make sure that the classroom setting is such that they have an equal opportunity to get the instruction they need in a way that they can best express their knowledge," said David Beach, director of the Disability Resource Center.

We develop relationships with them. We become their advocates and their cheerleaders," he said. 

Beach says his motivation comes from seeing students like Jennifer Harris succeed. 

Harris, an architecture graduate student, is deaf. Beach said Harris has faced many barriers throughout her life but has never let that stop her. 

"With Jennifer, a lot of her support has been the provision of interpreters and making sure that they're available and the instructors know how to interact and understand some of the etiquette around working with students that are deaf," Beach said. 

Beach hopes the assistance he and his team have provided Harris has made a positive impact on her life. But he says her success is more of a testament to her hard work than anything they have done. 

"This is a win for our office but this is more of a win for Jennifer and our university to showcase what we can do as long as we put our heads together. When we face challenges, we must work collaboratively with the student and the faculty and the other entities on campus that become involved and find the right solution for that student," he said.

"They've done such a wonderful job just meeting every need during my entire career here at UK — especially with providing my interpreters, making sure I have skilled interpreters that meet my needs and my preferences but that also are capable and competent to understand architecture in
and of itself because that can be a difficult topic to interpret," Harris said.

Article & Video Courtesy of University of Kentucky.  

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