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Summer 2017 Fellows standing or seated in wheelchairs, smiling and posing for the camera

Kaity Hagen, Communications Fellow

National Leadership Program, Summer 2018

Kaity Hagen is smiling in front of the Respectability banner

Kaity Hagen

Kaity Hagen is a Communications Fellow at RespectAbility working on the Hollywood disability inclusion project. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Hagen is an advocate, activist and public speaker from Minnesota. She also is profoundly Deaf. Additionally, she is part of the LGBTQIA+ community, identifying as Queer. She joined RespectAbility because she wanted to be a part of making profound changes in disability rights, equity and accessibility all across the nation.

Hagen’s primary goal is to reduce the stigma and misperception that people with disabilities cannot work, obtain an education or support a family. She wants to set an example for others and, through her own actions, show what is possible. Hagen also wants to promote and encourage speaking openly about disabilities and make it more of a conversational norm, rather than something to hide and be discreet about.

Previously, Hagen was an intern in the Child Protection Unit at the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office in St. Paul, Minnesota. She also worked as a Special Education Assistant at a charter school for grades 6-12 in St. Paul, Minnesota. These experiences, along with her personal experience, motivated her to become a more active role model and advocate for herself and others with disabilities. Hagen is a public speaker, speaking at schools and universities in Delaware, Maryland, California and Minnesota.

Hagen is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities majoring in Psychology and minoring in Leadership. She was part of the brain club, unicycle club and the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association chapter club. In 2016, Hagen completed an internship at the University of Pacific Doctoral Audiology program in San Francisco.

Hagen’s favorite author is the late neurologist Oliver Sacks. Hagen has a black belt in Taekwondo and is a ski and snowboard instructor. She loves cats and dogs. For fun she likes to draw, paint, play card and board games, lift weights and go for walks. Hagen is fluent in American Sign Language and Cued Speech as well. After graduation, she wants to pursue law school or a career in disability advocacy and accessibility. In five years, Hagen wants to have graduated law school and be working as a criminal prosecutor or as a disability and human rights lawyer.

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RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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