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

Heidi Wangelin, Policy Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2018

Heidi Wangelin smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Heidi Wangelin

Heidi Wangelin is a Policy Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Fall 2018. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Wangelin is a University of Washington graduate with two bachelor’s degrees in Culture, Literature and Arts as well as Disability Studies. She has worked with several disability advocacy nonprofits such as the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, National Council of Independent Living and University of Washington DO-IT Center.

Wangelin joined RespectAbility to further her learning about public policy regarding people with disabilities, especially about employment and future career goals primarily in the federal sector. She also has worked with the AmeriCorps program on projects about people with disabilities, including financial services for people with disabilities to receive assistive technology and senior care for people with disabilities to achieve independence. She has worked in an autistic college program and in campaigns to advance STEM opportunities for students with disabilities.

Wangelin has authentic experience with disabilities. She lives with multiple disabilities, including non-verbal learning disability, autism, ADHD, three anxiety disorders and physical disabilities. Being a person with disabilities, primarily autism and anxiety, has been challenging, but she is determined to work as hard as she can to be a role model to other people with disabilities and a more compassionate person. Both in school and at work, she was often the only autistic woman.

Wangelin is originally from Seattle, Washington but recently moved to the Washington, D.C., metro area. She is a passionate activist for people with disabilities and began learning about disability self-advocacy as a teenager. As an adult, she has continued her lifelong learning about disabilities as evidenced by her degree in disability studies. Currently she is a contributor to the Autism Women’s and Non-Binary Network anthology What Every Parent Should Know about Raising their Autistic Daughteras well as featured on the NeuroQueer blog. Wangelin is also a finalist for the Pacific Northwest and West Disability Studies Symposium about women’s reproductive rights and the history of eugenics. She loves to read about disability justice and social justice as well as young adult fiction and poetry. Wangelin is also a published poet and is featured in the Celebration of Young American Poets Anthology Wisconsin 2004. Her favorite book series is The Ship Who Sang series by Anne McCaffery and The Speed of Dark. Wangelin also loves foreign languages and currently is learning Hebrew, Spanish and American Sign Language.

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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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Meet the Author

Heidi Wangelin
Heidi Wangelin

Heidi Wangelin is a University of Washington graduate with two bachelor’s degrees in Culture, Literature and Arts as well as Disability Studies. She joined RespectAbility to further her learning about public policy regarding people with disabilities.

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