A woman with brown hair and black glasses wearing a black dress and copper sweater seated at a brown desk with white papers on it. A silver laptop is on her desk next to office supplies and a telephone. There is a multi-colored chart behind her.

Graduate Certificate in Developmental Disabilities Student Spotlight: Emily Moseley

After nearly ten years as a photographer, Emily Moseley decided to change careers. She wanted her work to promote social justice and equity while being of service to others, so she enrolled in the University of Kentucky Master’s degree in Social Work program along with the Human Development Institute’s (HDI) Graduate Certificate in Developmental Disabilities. She also began a research assistantship with HDI and is working on several projects related to people with disabilities and their experiences with COVID-19.

Emily explained that social work offers a holistic approach that appealed to her, and the certificate in Developmental Disabilities complemented her studies nicely. “I knew very little about disability,” she said. “It was a way to increase my learning experience, but I’ve been continually surprised about how well aligned HDI is with the social work program.” She went on to say that the certificate program has been “very enlightening and eye-opening and will definitely inform my work.”

Because the certificate program is open to a broad range of disciplines, each unique cohort brings an array of different perspectives. Emily said, “I think the interdisciplinary aspect of it has been really helpful because you’re in your own program’s little bubble, but being in the graduate certificate has exposed me to a lot of different areas.” Her cohort includes students with backgrounds in Public Health, Music Therapy, and Library and Information Science, among others. “Everybody in the program brings their broader view,” she said. “It gives me a lot of different things to consider.”

In the certificate program, students conduct a research project, participate in a practicum, and learn from individuals with developmental disabilities. Emily said hearing from self-advocates was particularly impactful. “It’s coming straight from the source,” she said. “And then hearing how wide and varied people’s experiences are (like any human) and understanding that there are as many perspectives as there are people, really broadens the view.”

Emily pointed out that disability is wide-ranging, yet there is often a lack of understanding about the subject. She said, “There’s not one social group unaffected by it… more people should know about the issues because it is so widespread, but yet largely invisible because it’s too easy for people to look away or to think that it doesn’t affect them.” She went on to say:

I think sometimes being uninformed and unexposed to something that’s different or outside of our experience can be very scary. But I think learning about any issue makes it less scary… and making the world more equitable for people with disabilities is making the world better for everybody.”

The coursework in the certificate program covers the entire lifespan and prepares professionals to provide services and supports for people with developmental disabilities and their families. Click here for more information about HDI’s Graduate Certificate in Developmental Disabilities.

-Written by Amanda Corbin