Portland Community College, Portland, Oregon: 1997 - 2001
Graduated in March 2001, attained an Associate of Science degree and a Teacher's Aide Certificate. Held a cumulative grade point average of 3.41.
St. Mary's Academy, Portland, Oregon: 1993-1997
Earned a regular high school diploma, having satisfied more than the Oregon State requirements for graduation. Maintained a 3.0 grade point average. Participated in the Science Club, was a member of the Swim Team, lettered junior and senior year.
Karen Gaffney Foundation, 1998 - present
President of a non-profit organization that is dedicated to championing the journey to full inclusion for people with Down syndrome and other disabilities. With the help of a Professor of Education at Portland State University, we produced our first and second videos. I support the foundation through various speaking engagements, workshop presentations and personal appearances and fundraising. In addition, I do a variety of administrative tasks at the office such as correspondence, data entry, filing, typing, etc.
Early Head Start, 6/2002 - present
Supported the classroom teacher and classroom aides, working in a classroom with two and three year-olds. Worked one on one with students, and lead small groups, also assisted with many classroom duties.
West Sylvan Middle School, 10/2001 - 6/2002
Supported the classroom teacher and classroom aides, working in a semi-inclusive middle school classroom. Worked one on one with students, and lead small groups, also assisted with many classroom duties.
PRACTICUM/ INTERN EXPERIENCE WHILE AT PORTLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE:
Rock Creek Elementary School, Early Intervention, 1/2000 - 3/2000
Supported morning and afternoon classroom teachers, working with children between four and six years of age. Worked one on one with students, and lead small groups, also assisted with many classroom duties. This program is an Instructional Assistant practicum that is required as part of the Certificate program at PCC.
Woodlawn Elementary School, Developmental Kindergarten, 4/1999 - 6/1999 and 9/1999 - 12/1999
Supported the classroom teacher, working with children between four and six years of age. Worked one on one with students, and lead small groups, also assisted with many classroom duties such as photocopying, attendance and lunch count. This program is an Instructional Assistant practicum that is required as part of the Certificate program at PCC.
Holladay Center, Early Intervention Program, 10/1998 - 4/1999
Supported the classroom teacher, working with three and four year olds. This program is a Tutoring practicum that is required as part of the Certificate program at PCC.
Sunnyside Elementary School, 1/1998 - 6/1998
Supported the teacher of a special education class. Provided supervision and guidance to two children at a time. Many of the students are hearing impaired. This enabled me to practice the sign language skills I am learning.
PRACTICUM EXPERIENCE WHILE IN HIGH SCHOOL:
Cathedral School, 10/1997 - 6/1997
Supported the first grade teacher, two afternoons a week. Helped children with spelling drills, flash cards, reading and art projects.
PUBLIC SPEAKING EXPERIENCE:
I have been a frequent keynote presenter for the National Down Syndrome Congress, national and state chapters of The Arc, TASH, CEC, Parent to Parent groups as well as other various regional, state, and local Down syndrome support organizations around the country. In addition, I have presented to college students at Portland State University, Portland Community College, and the University of Santa Clara. In 2000 and 2001, I spoke to sixty different groups as either a keynote presenter or in a workshop forum. My major focus is to advocate for inclusion of people with disabilities in the home, schools, workplace and the community.
In 1999, I completed work on a video project to promote early intervention for children born with Down syndrome. The proceeds from this project were used to develop my second video geared toward educators focusing on the keys to success for inclusion in a regular classroom from the student's point of view. The videos are being distributed to interested parties throughout the United States and parts of Europe and Canada as well.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION:
- Member of the Advisory Board for Exceptional Parent Magazine
- The first person with Down syndrome to complete a relay swim across the English Channel
- Recipient of the Providence Health System Regional Spirit of Women Award -2001
- Recipient of the Joe Loprinzi Inspirational Award - 2001
- Nominee for the Bill Hayward Amateur Female Athlete of the Year Award - 2001
- Official Olympic Torch Relay Torchbearer
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