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

Abigail Shaw, Civic Engagement Apprentice

National Leadership Program, Spring 2022

Abigail Shaw smiling seated on a bench outside

Abigail Shaw

Abigail Shaw (she/her) is a Civic Engagement Apprentice in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Spring 2022. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. Shaw’s apprenticeship is funded by the Fox Family Foundation.

Shaw is a transplant to New York from North Carolina and strives to educate the public on access and inclusion for people with disabilities through her work and hobbies.

Shaw earned her BS in music Industry Studies at Appalachian State University in 2014. Shaw returned to school and earned a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University in January 2022. She interned with Pace University’s Counseling Center and New York City Transit while enrolled at Fordham. An admirer of great stories, Shaw is also a graduate of storytelling from The Magnet Theater in NYC.

Shaw has six years of experience coordinating programs for youth and young adults with disabilities preparing for the workforce, and five years of experience with project management in  non-profits. Much of her professional opportunities have highlighted inequities for students with disabilities who were also people of color, English language learners, victims of violence, and other intersecting identities. She is motivated to advocate for better policies and client-centered programming by the experiences of those she has had the privilege to walk alongside on their journey of completing college and finding a fulfilling career.

Shaw is not a stranger to RespectAbility, as she joined the National Speakers Bureau in 2020. Now, joining RespectAbility’s Apprenticeship program will help Shaw connect theoretical knowledge gained in her MSW program with practical experience in building coalitions. Shaw hopes to eventually find a position blending her passion for disability advocacy and creating social change through influencing policy.

As a long-distance runner, Shaw is a member and co-captain of the New York City chapter of Achilles International, an organization promoting mainstream athletics for people with disabilities. She has competed in several national half and whole marathons and triathlons. Since June of 2019, she has been on the Advisory Committee on Transit Accessibility for New York City Transit and currently acts as the co-chair. Whether by plane, train or automobile, Shaw’s preferred method of transportation is with her yellow lab guide dog from Guiding Eyes for the Blind by her side.

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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 [email protected] for more information.

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Meet the Author

Abigail Shaw

Abigail Shaw strives to educate the public on access and inclusion for people with disabilities through her work and hobbies. She earned a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University.

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