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I am AACC: Angela Haney, Student

Angela has learned to shrug off negativity and instead use it as motivation to fulfill her dreams. “Growing up I had people who said, ‘You can’t do this you’re in wheelchair.’ I just pushed all the boundaries people placed on me.” She attributes her strength from her family, particularly her grandmother who recently passed away. “My grandmother was hearing impaired at an early age and taught me sign language. She didn’t let people put her in that box. She went to college, was a mother, took care of her family and lived a normal life. I think she was a major role model for me.”

Angela has her hopes set on eventually owning a business that advocates those with disabilities. She credits her mentor Mike Hakulin, a former SODA president who went on to work for the Maryland Department of Disability, as a major influence in defining her career goals. “I saw the direction he went in and saw someone who had more of a challenge than me,” she says. “He had a permanently disabling accident later in life, and it’s hard for someone to know how to walk all your life and then lose it as opposed to me never knowing what it’s like to walk.”

Although Angela is turning over her reins as SODA president come fall, she hopes the small organization stays active. 

“It’s a lot of hard work,” she says noting past fundraisers and awareness events she organized, “but there will be resources there for the next president.” Her advice for her successor? “Appeal to the student body with established faculty and disability community support,” she says, “and spread disability awareness to those without disabilities.” She notes one of the biggest challenges in generating involvement and awareness is “trying to appeal to everyone,” she says. “We’re trying to work through that.”

Angela hopes to one day speak about her disability to all age groups. She is volunteering at Camp Fairlee Manor in Rock Hall, Maryland, this summer where she was a camper for many years, and looks forward to having an impact on the campers there. “I’ve learned not to judge people so fast,” she says of her experiences thus far. She concludes, “Don’t be confined to what people expect you to be a part of. Don’t let people show you what you can or cannot do. Push the limits no matter what background you have.” kr

SODA activities: Maryland Ravens Wheelchair basketball fundraiser, March Madness Celebrities with Disabilities fundraiser, candy fundraisers

Accomplishments: Deans list, Who’s Who in Junior American colleges, graduate of Leadership Anne Arundel

Likes: Hanging out with friends, going to the movies, bowling, basketball, going to church, country music, spending time with boyfriend of five years

Summer highlight: Going to see former American Idol contestant Daughtry perform at Delaware State Fair

Graduating with double major in: Spring 2008

Want to contact Angela? E-mail her at alhaney1@mymail.aacc.edu

Want to get involved with SODA? Contact Mimi Stoops, msstoops@aacc.edu, 410-777-2306

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