The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI) has named Allie Rhodes as the winner of the 2014 Paul Kevin Burberry Award.
Rhodes is a doctoral student in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation in the UK College of Education and the HDI Evaluation Unit research assistant. Her doctoral work has focused on communication disorders.
The award is named in memory of the Berea native who pioneered a trail in the public school system as the first student with significant physical disabilities, due to cerebral palsy, to complete Berea Community High School. Burberry graduated with highest honors and went on to attend Berea College and the University of Kentucky, where he was majoring in philosophy. He was an exemplary student whose life was cut short prior to his anticipated graduation, with honors, in May 2004.
The award — the highest student honor awarded annually by HDI — is given to a student involved with HDI who has exemplified in his or her life the leadership, advocacy and commitment to persons with disabilities and their families that Burberry demonstrated in his own life.
“More than anything else, Allie shows us that every child can learn, that every life must be meaningful, that every person has something valuable to contribute,” said Chithra Adams, HDI director of evaluation and Rhodes’ supervisor. “In other words, she is the very personification of HDI and what we stand for.”
HDI Director Harold Kleinert commended Allie for her “passionate focus” on the application of assistive technology to improve the life of individuals with the most significant disabilities.
“Allie is a tremendously positive person, who deftly handles the demands of wife and mother, doctoral student, and evaluation assistant, with a truly balanced and wise outlook on those parts of our lives that matter most deeply,” he said.