Amira Dacy - University of Maryland, College Park

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"Amira possesses an exceptional set of skills that makes them an asset to any community. Her interpersonal skills, strong work ethic, and ability to lead and motivate others have been instrumental in her success as a civic leader. Amira has shown an unwavering commitment to ethical and moral principles, and always strive to be a positive role model and advocate for person with disabilities. I have no doubt that Amira will continue to make meaningful contributions to society in her future endeavors. She has the intellect, creativity, and passion needed to be successful in any field they choose to pursue. Her commitment to civic engagement and leadership will undoubtedly continue to inspire others and create positive change in the world."

Dr. Daryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland, College Park

I am a Dietetics major and Disability Studies minor at UMD. I hope to apply knowledge from my classroom and volunteer experiences to advance the health and well-being of people with disabilities (PWD). Growing up, I’ve had various opportunities to learn about health, inclusion and accessibility for PWD. I became familiar with Special Olympics in middle school through doing a school project on its inclusive Unified Sports program. Soon after, I began volunteering as a coach for Maryland’s Special Olympics figure skating team, a role I held until graduating high school. When I got to college, I looked for similar opportunities to engage with the disability community. I found TerpsEXCEED my freshman year after reading an article about it in our campus newspaper. I contacted the director to ask about becoming a peer mentor and joined the program during its inaugural year. I’m now a certified lead peer mentor and undergraduate researcher with the program, two roles that have expanded my leadership and civic engagement. My job is to support the inclusion of TerpsEXCEED students in every space on campus classrooms, athletic events, dining areas, performance spaces, the gym. I also educate others about maximizing accessibility and engage in research designed to evaluate the success of post-secondary education programs like TerpsEXCEED. Through these experiences, I witnessed tremendous growth in each of the students, including improved communication and organizational skills, willingness to go to social events and make new friends, and securing and excelling at internships that fit each of their interests. By demonstrating the successes of TerpsEXCEED, I hope other institutions will see the positive impact inclusive higher education can have on the entire campus community and implement similar programs of their own. This will be a huge step in promoting accessibility and bridging the education and employment gap for PWD.

Amira Dacy

2023-2024 Transform Mid-Atlantic Civic Fellow