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Alumna Describes Navigating SJU With A Disability

Hannah Brannau graduated from St. Joe’s in 2015 with an English degree and aspirations of pursuing an acting career. During her time at St. Joe’s, she was involved with both the university’s theater company and the student-run theater group Followed By A Bear.

Hannah has cerebral palsy and uses a walker to help with her mobility. She says that, while at St. Joe’s, she worked closely with the office of disability services to ensure that she took classes in buildings that were accessible and as close to each other as possible. Hannah credits her success at St. Joe’s to the support she received from friends, peers, and faculty. Jim Scott, the director of disability services while Hannah was a student at St. Joe’s, was especially helpful in ensuring that she received support, she said.

Now, Hannah works as a professional actor and is involved with the organization Acting Without Boundaries, which puts on theater productions starring people with disabilities. Hannah has also been featured in two videos from the media company Buzzfeed: “Things People With Disabilities Wish You Knew” and “People Living With Disabilities Review Characters with Disabilities.” She says she would like to become more involved in disability justice initiatives.

“It’s very easy to get lost in how much [people with disabilities] still need in terms of a community,” Hannah said. “We have such a rich history and we’ve had so many incredible advocates come before us to lay down the groundwork that we have now. I’m just personally very interested in learning about that while learning about how to be a better, more active and helpful participant in the community.”

In an interview with Project Bloom, Hannah described how she began to grow as an advocate for herself while at St. Joe’s, what disability justice means to her, and gave advice to current and prospective St. Joe’s students with disabilities.

 

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