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LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell University senior Kate Matelan was named 2009 Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania, an award honoring the accomplishments of women with disabilities, and will represent the commonwealth in the Ms. Wheelchair USA competition.
The national competition takes place July 23-25 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
Matelan, a business management major with a minor in legal studies, has used a wheelchair since a car accident at age 5 left her paralyzed from the neck down.
She entered the Pennsylvania competition at the suggestion of a Bucknell dean.
"I am very honored to be awarded the title of Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania and know that I will be able to use this position to reach a greater audience," said Matelan. "Thanks so much to the Ms. Wheelchair USA organization for this incredible opportunity."
Her selection as Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania was based on her activities, challenges, perception of disabilities, special projects and accomplishments, and her platform lobbying for those with disabilities. Her platform advocates for communication between students and faculty to identify barriers faced by college students with disabilities.
A resident advisor at Bucknell, she met with college deans to point out obstacles like lab tables that are too high for students in wheelchairs and how required science experiments can be difficult for people with limited hand use. She speaks frequently to other resident advisors to improve their awareness of environmental obstacles.
Intern in New York City
Editor of BE, Bucknell's fashion magazine, Matelan is interning this summer in the fashion industry in New York City.
The Ms. Wheelchair program was established in 2005 and is dedicated to celebrating the abilities and successful accomplishments of women with disabilities.
Contact: Division of Communications