Patricia Hansen is a veteran of the US Navy, the President of the Student Occupational Therapy Association at Stanbridge, and a 2016 California Campus Compact Student Fellow. 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 stigma and misconceptions surrounding individuals with disabilities to create long-term social change.
During my four years in the US Navy, I traveled to thirteen different countries and deployed three times in three years. Seeing so much of the world allowed me to experience different communities and the different ways in which individuals in a community can uplift and support one another. I have also seen how a fractured community creates a destructive cycle that limits the ability of its members to progress and grow, damaging the community as a whole on a societal level. I am passionate about uniting communities and creating opportunities for individuals to establish meaningful connections. As the President of the Student Occupational Therapy Association of Stanbridge, I am actively involved in fostering unity within the student body, while also expanding our involvement with the greater community. It is my personal mission to improve my community's outlook on individuals with disabilities and raise awareness about the barriers these individuals face as a result of the stigma that surrounds them.