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Lauren Oberheim


Lauren is from Michigan, near the metro-Detroit area. Growing up near the Motor City, she was exposed to a community that had been through more than its fair share of difficulties, and had learned to be tough and resilient. The incredible spirit of Detroit fostered my personal interest in the humanities, and particularly in groups who had been stigmatized in some way, much like the Detroit community. With this outlook, I began advocating for disability rights and against the stigma imposed on people with disabilities.   

Her interest in the humanities and disability rights led her down the Mississippi River to the Big Easy, where she attended Tulane University and earned an English degree. New Orleans is the melting pot of humanities, and she had the opportunity to meet, befriend, and second-line with people from all walks of life – including people with disabilities. Although New Orleans was loud and boisterous, community members with disabilities were still subject to stigma and effectively silenced, provided with very few resources and support. To help break the silence, Lauren volunteered with Best Buddies (a non-profit disability advocacy initiative), and spoke up for disability rights alongside my peers with disabilities as we campaigned for equal opportunities in education and employment.

She came to William & Mary Law School to be a voice for people with disabilities, and the hope to utilize her legal knowledge to raise the volume in a global conversation for disability rights.

This summer, Lauren will have the opportunity to intern at the One-Plus-One Disabled Persons’ Cultural Development Center in Beijing, China. One-Plus-One is an NGO working to promote improvement in the protection of the rights of people with disabilities.