Austin Nugent, Disability & Health Program Coordinator for the UK Human Development Institute (HDI) has been selected as a 2021 Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Network Emerging Leader. The individuals are selected based on their contributions to the network, how they have demonstrated leadership, and their values and commitment to diversity, inclusion, and respect for others.
Austin holds her bachelor’s in sociology and disability studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and is currently pursuing her Master of Public Administration and a graduate certificate in developmental disabilities at the University of Kentucky. Over the last eleven years, she has held many roles in the community centered around supporting and advocating for the meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities. However, her favorite role is being the older sister to a biological brother with Down syndrome and two adopted brothers with various support needs resulting from adverse childhood experiences.
“Given my lived and family experience with disability, my professional and personal goals are identical. Knowing firsthand the value of information and opportunities, my mission is to support others to access resources and services that empower them to lead healthy, self-determined lives”. Following graduate school, Austin is considering pursuing a law degree to gather additional knowledge needed to advocate and protect the rights of people with disabilities.