Connor Moore ’15

Project: Social reaction to people with intellectual disabilities in the fields of health, education, and employment.
Researcher: Connor Moore ’15
Mentor: Stephen Menicucci, Religious Studies Dept.

On the process of designing an independent study:

“Being able to design my own curriculum and course was a spectacular experience and gave me the tools to grow as a student in ways I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.”

I thought I was going to go Pre-Med for a while (!), so I started looking around for different topics within the field of life science to research. I decided I was going to research chromosomal disorders because it was something I already knew on a basic level and it was close to home (my oldest sister has Down syndrome, the result of an additional 21st chromosome). However, as I looked into it, I came to the realization that I was more interested, not in the science of it, but the relationship between people with intellectual disabilities and their society.

Mr. Menicucci is probably my favorite teacher I’ve ever had. Junior year, I took Morality and Social Justice with him, and had a proverbial fire lit underneath me, prodding me to go affect positive social change. Medicine, while a very noble area of study, I think is limited in its scope, as it works at the level of the individual or the abstract. Affecting social structure, on the other hand, is big-picture and worked at the breadth that excited me.

The project started as an analysis of whether, in the year of its 25th anniversary, the Americans with Disabilities Act was proving as effective as it had been promised. My other sister is a sophomore at Ohio State, so she gave me her library and data base access code to research different legal databases and case studies. What I found was that the ADA was written with the physically disabled primarily in mind, so the paper turned into an assessment of how society treats people with intellectual disabilities in the fields of health, education, and employment and in what direction progress needs to be made. The result is the attached paper.