Stanbridge University is proud to announce its first student to win the Newman Civic Fellowship, Ms. Patricia Hansen, a current student in the Occupational Therapy Assistance Program. Newman Civic Fellows are nominated for their commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. These students represent the next generation of public problem-solvers and civic leaders. They serve as national exemplars of the role that higher education plays in building a better world, and Ms. Hansen exemplifies these ideals.
Ms. Hansen has a long history of service, and an innate passion for building connections and helping others. Ms. Hansen is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, where she found time to serve as an advocate for victims of sexual abuse and build a house for an impoverished family in the Philippines—all while balancing her duties working on navigation systems for military jets! It was her time as an instructional aid for children with autism spectrum disorder that inspired her to pursue a career in Occupational Therapy to help those with disabilities.
As the recipient of this fellowship, Ms. Hansen gets to participate in a unique one-year experience where she will have access to in-person and virtual learning opportunities, networking events, and mentoring. She will also be invited to join a national network of community-committed peers and enter into a long-term community of Newman Civic Fellows.
As a former recipient of the California Campus Compact Community Engagement Student Fellowship, and as the recently elected President of the Student Occupational Therapy Association of Stanbridge (SOTAS), Ms. Hansen has also helped to create more opportunities for her fellow students to engage with the community through her work with the California Campus Compact Community Engagement Student Fellowship.
Ms. Hansen is passionate about helping individuals with disabilities and has demonstrated a remarkable capacity for engaging those around her toward this cause. As a volunteer with High Hopes, she provided encouragement and support for individuals undergoing therapy for traumatic brain injury. This Newman Civic Fellowship will help Ms. Hansen pursue her goal of increasing the visibility of individuals with physical and mental disabilities. Through her future profession as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, she hopes to bring light to the psychosocial impact brought by the misconceptions surrounding individuals with disabilities to create long-term social change. “It is my personal mission to improve my community’s outlook on individuals with disabilities,” Ms. Hansen said, “and raise awareness about the barriers these individuals face as a result of the stigma that surrounds them.”
For more info on the Occupational Therapy Assistant degree program, visit www.stanbridge.edu/program/ota. For information regarding the Newman Civic Fellowship visit compact.org/initiatives/awards-programs/the-frank-newman-leadership-award/. For more information on California Campus Compact visit www.cacampuscompact.org.