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Victoria Russo standing beside displayed poster of task force information.

Victoria Russo at Task Force on Economic Opportunity for Persons facing Chronically High Rates of Unemployment press conference.

The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) has provided me with an internship experience that is incomparable to any other, and I am extremely grateful to have worked alongside individuals who are so committed to improving the lives of persons with disabilities. As a student at Simmons College enrolled in a Master’s program for special education, I am required to complete field work or an internship placement designed to expand and apply knowledge obtained in the classroom.

Having worked hands-on with students with disabilities at three different schools, it was time to switch gears. This resulted in my pursuing a unique and valuable learning experience with MOD in regard to policy, regulation and advocacy relating to persons with disabilities.

This internship has provided me with ample knowledge pertaining to my future career through a wide variety of projects and tasks. MOD’s mission is to “ensure the full and equal participation of all people with disabilities in all aspects of life by working to advance legal rights, maximum opportunities, supportive services, accommodations and accessibility in a manner that fosters dignity and self-determination.” All projects and tasks assigned by MOD have allowed me to help carry out this mission.

The first project I completed in collaboration with another intern was the MOD “50 State Disability Resource Guide,” a compilation of peer offices to MOD nationwide. The publication includes brief narratives of each organization, applicable accessibility standards by state, contact information and each organization’s legislative and reporting authority. MOD’s vision in terms of this publication is that it will lead to better coordination among disability organizations and to sharing of “best practices” that can improve the lives of persons with disabilities nationwide.

My internship also presented the opportunity to participate in research on disability employment program data. As a result, there have been opportunities to attend related press conferences and bill signings. Additionally, I had the opportunity to assist MOD at its 2015 Disability Summit and to attend the Abilities Expo where MOD was an exhibitor.

My internship experience at MOD has been one of the most remarkable learning experiences of my life and I would strongly encourage anyone to consider applying for this internship. The work MOD carries out is extremely important because it all makes a positive difference in the lives of persons with disabilities.

The Massachusetts Office on Disability is looking for talented interns on an ongoing basis. Please contact MOD for more information 617-727-7440.

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