Jan. 1, 2007

Delano native works with disabled students at U of M

By Bob San
University of Minnesota News Service

Kathleen Schwegler of Delano is a board member of the University of Minnesota Disabled Student Cultural Center (DSCC).

A junior majoring in physiology with concentration in pre-medical study, Schwegler and other DSCC members help facilitate understanding of disabilities by educating people who come into the center and hosting a variety of activities.

One of the most popular events is the monthly Lunch and Learn.

“We have Lunch and Learns once a month, where we serve lunch and have a brief talk about the disability of the month,” said Schwegler, a graduate of Delano High School.

Throughout the school year, DSCC sponsors employee recruiting days for students with disabilities, the Disability Awareness Month (DAM) Kickoff, a visit to a job fair in downtown Minneapolis, an information fair with representatives from AmeriCorp., a High School Student Recruiting Day for students with disabilities, and a colloquium with a speaker to help start the disability studies program at the U.

This winter, DSCC will sponsor a U of M women’s basketball game that features a wheelchair basketball game by the Rolling Gophers at half-time. DSCC also helps fund events for people with disabilities on campus.

Participating in the DSCC has been a great experience for Schwegler.

“It has made me more aware of the disability culture so that I enjoy spending time with other people with disabilities,” she said. “It has given me a real sense of purpose on campus.”

Schwegler added that serving as a DSCC board member and participating in other U of M programs has given her added confidence to achieve her goal to become a medical doctor.

“When I was working toward my first bachelor’s degree, I did not know I wanted to be a doctor,” she said. “Being at the U has allowed me the chance to gain some understanding of relevant concepts and a sense of confidence about my ability to be a doctor. University programs, like my study abroad to Peru for a new global healing traditions program, have given me the opportunity to see another culture’s indigenous, medical practices.

“I was able to participate in shamanic healings firsthand and to see the effect of spirituality and plant medicine in healing. Being there was a great experience, and being here at the U has been amazing. I really like my friends and my place here.”

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