Lincoln graduate student wins national video contest with story of overcoming tragedy


Amanda Thompson, a Lincoln, Kan., graduate student at Fort Hays State University, was surprised today to learn that she had won the National Disability Institute's My American Dream - Voices of Americans with Disabilities Video Contest.

A graduate student in the Department of Communication Disorders at Fort Hays State University, Thompson was one of five finalists in National Disability Institute's video contest encouraging people with disabilities to share their American dreams to show that having a career, succeeding in college, achieving financial independence and homeownership are the dreams of all people. As the grand prize winner, Thompson received $1,000, a digital tablet and a team of professionals to help her take the next steps toward her dreams.

Thompson, who acquired a traumatic brain injury following an automobile accident, hopes to work as a speech therapist to help other people living with brain injuries. Currently involved in the accessibility community at FHSU, Thompson's inspiration to help and serve others is a result of a close bond between her and her speech therapist at the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Neb. Thompson hopes to work at Madonna Hospital in the future.

"We congratulate Amanda on winning this year's contest and look forward to working with her to turn her dreams into a reality," said National Disability Institute Executive Director Michael Morris.

Thompson will work with National Disability Institute staff and FHSU officials, as well as the American Speech and Hearing Association, to develop an action plan to put her on the path toward a future helping others once again find their voice and move toward their American Dream.

Each year, the National Disability Institute invites people with disabilities to submit a video highlighting their American Dream. The videos paint a diverse portrait of Americans with disabilities, displaying their talents and sharing their aspirations to be a part of the economic mainstream. An independent panel selects five finalists and the general public votes to determine the grand prize winner.

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