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NHTI grad Hannah Davidson supports open education for students living with disabilities

Hannah Davidson, Campus Accessibility Services, Plymouth State University

NHTI – Concord’s Community College

Associate of Arts in English, 2004

 

Hannah Davidson knew she wanted to go to college, but she felt limited because of the lack of educational support around her. She decided to take the first step to see if college would be an option for her.

“I chose NHTI because it was affordable, accessible and I could commute to school,” she said. “Most importantly, I could see a path to get where I wanted to be, and as a first-generation college student, NHTI was very supportive in helping me navigate the academic world and continue on my path to earn a degree.”

Like many college students, Hannah admits that she didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do when she started taking classes.

“I didn’t have it all planned out at the time, but I benefited from a well-rounded education and the diversity of my peers. There was something to learn from everyone, including those already working with families. I was able to see how other people prioritized their education and made it work.”

Because of the intimate class size, the English Department at NHTI supported Hannah and helped her prioritize her education and develop her confidence as a student.

“I loved the English Department at NHTI. People believed in me, supported me and wanted me to do well. The professors saw a ton of potential in me, and through their support, I graduated with the highest GPA in the program and received scholarships to go on to a four-year college.”

During her time at NHTI, Hannah discovered her inspiration, which illuminated the path for her next step.

“I was a person who didn’t have easy access to education. NHTI gave me the academic foundation I needed, which made me realize I wanted to support marginalized populations in their ability to access  education.”

 

Hannah used her experience at NHTI as a steppingstone to earning her Bachelor of Arts in English from Marlboro College and her Masters in Education from Plymouth State University.

“I had the benefits of having a solid program and a good foundation and because of this, I believe I was better prepared than my peers during my bachelor’s program.”

Hannah is currently a doctoral student at Plymouth State University and working on her dissertation, which focuses on the impact of open education for students with disabilities and chronic illnesses in higher education. She is also a doctoral fellow for the Hewlett Foundation, a sponsor of open education, which is a national effort to make more educational materials accessible to students at no cost. She is also a member of the New England Board of Higher Education and its open education committee.

“I thought I would end up teaching English at the high school level, but during my first year of grad school, I had this life-changing moment when I realized I wanted to blend my desire to support people with disabilities with higher education.”

Serendipitously, a campus accessibility position opened at Plymouth State University, where Hannah has worked to illuminate the path for others toward an education.

“You don’t have to have it all planned out. I sure didn’t. Trust in yourself. Believe in yourself. There is opportunity, and when you’re passionate about something, doors will open.”

To learn more about NHTI – Concord’s Community College, visit the college’s website: NHTI.edu

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