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Ian Malesiewski: Working to Make Politics More Inclusive for People with Disabilities

Ian Malesiewski smiling headshot

Ian Malesiewski

Los Angeles, Sept. 20 – Ian Malesiewski, who lives with a Spinal Cord Injury, was a Public Policy and Employment Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Winter and Spring 2021, and he is now off to use his multidimensional academic background with his applied policy change experience to make spheres of influence in politics more inclusive for people with disabilities.

Malesiewski was awarded a full academic scholarship to the University of Miami, where he is majoring in neuroscience and triple minoring in chemistry, public health, and philosophy. His work with disability advocacy shifted his professional aspirations from a traditional med-school route, to one of law. RespectAbility exposed Malesiewski to the impact he can have through policy change, as he worked directly on the accessibility of the 2020 presidential election and relaunching America’s Workforce Act. In his law career, Malesiewski plans on prioritizing the employment gap of people with disabilities and expanding Medicaid and Medicare benefit programs.

Malesiewski already is changing lives as last year, he launched the DefIANt Scholars Program, a scholarship fund to empower the disability community by breaking down academic barriers, stereotypes and misconceptions. In June, Malesiewski’s funding initiative was successful in raising more than $35,000 of initial capital for the scholarship program in just one month.

“During his time in the Fellowship, Mr. Malesiewski consistently impressed me with his curiosity about complex policy challenges, his commitment to improving the quality of his work, and his compassionate leadership in working to amplify voices from other marginalized communities,” said Philip Kahn-Pauli, who was Malesiewski’s supervisor at RespectAbility. “I know that he has so much more to contribute to the world and I will be watching his career with great interest.”

Whether his career includes running for office or starting his own nonprofit, RespectAbility is proud to have been part of Malesiewski’s journey.

Meet the Author

Kelley Cape

Kelley Cape has spent her professional and academic career galvanizing inclusive cultures everywhere she goes. She previously joined USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative as a research assistant.

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