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Nothing stops Morgan Duffy from getting the most out of her college experience.
The 21-year-old of Jermyn, Pa., is president of the Class of 2013 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. She is also in a sorority, has worked for the university's dance marathon, has interned in San Francisco and is currently interning in Washington, D.C.
Morgan was born with spinal muscular atrophy, a progressive disease, and was diagnosed at age two. She had limited mobility and began using a wheelchair.
But with the help of her Q600 Power Chair from Quantum Rehab, Morgan is able to accomplish just about everything she wants to. Morgan says she travels between seven and 12 miles a day in her power chair to get to classes, work and events. She spends about 15 hours a day in her Q600 with no problem.
"I don't have to stop after school," Morgan said. "I can keep going. I use the power tilt and recline to assist with transferring, which gives me more independence, and to read and study. My power tilt and recline also helps prevent me from developing pressure sores. In addition, the height of the chair is good in social situations."
Morgan lives in a cooperative house on campus and each Sunday, she and four of her roommates are responsible for cooking for the entire house. Morgan says she uses her Q600 in the kitchen and can easily go from the counter to the stove.
At Stanford, Morgan is majoring in human biology with a concentration in children's health policy. Last summer, she worked as a marketing intern for Whirlwind Wheelchair International, a non-profit organization in San Francisco that works to improve the lives of people with disabilities in the developing world. As part of her internship, Morgan spent one month in Indonesia researching how children use assistive technology for social development.
Morgan worked with 18 different Indonesian families as part of her research. She interviewed children, parents and teachers; observed children at home and at school; and reviewed public mobility access.
"I found the children of Indonesia don't use wheelchairs as much as we'd hoped," Morgan said. "Some people hate wheelchairs. They see them as a negative thing, but I see them as a positive thing that promotes independence. Many Indonesians also don't know there are health benefits from using a wheelchair versus sitting on the floor or crawling. The children have more health issues as a result."
Morgan is currently interning through March at the Disability Policy Office under the Senate Health Education Labor and Pension Committee in Washington, D.C. She is working for Sen. Tom Harkin, who authored legislation that enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act. At her internship, Morgan is performing research and observing to learn more about the legislative process.
In the future, Morgan is considering going to medical school to become a pediatrician. She is also contemplating obtaining her master's degree in public health.
Whatever Morgan chooses to do after college, she knows she can rely on her Q600 to help her achieve her goals and dreams.