Taylor Burkholder, a first-year, undergraduate disability services major in IUP's College of Education and Communications, seeking a minor in deaf studies, has been awarded the Ray Coppler Disability Awareness Award for 2022–23.

Taylor Burkholder, recipient of the 2022-23 Coppler Disability Awareness Award

Taylor’s nominator for the Coppler Award was Annah Hill, faculty member in IUP’s Department of Communication Disorders, Special Education, and Disability Services. She wrote about Taylor:

"Taylor Burkholder has been an amazing disability awareness volunteer and self-advocate. She came to IUP for the disability services major and is now also minoring in deaf studies. She has made disability awareness part of her daily life and not simply a topic that needs attention occasionally or brought to others’ attention as a reminder. Since her freshman year (fall 2022), she has demonstrated skills and advocacy well above that which is required of a freshman in her major. She chose to take on the responsibility as the student director for our Disability Awareness Resource Room.

"She has been working hard to collaborate with faculty, staff, and students to promote disability awareness, access, and inclusion. She has volunteered her time (more than 40 hours for this alone) to share about various disabilities (visible and invisible) for those who are interested in learning more about the characteristics, available assistive devices, and strategies for different disabilities. She organized the DARR library and resource sign-out process. She created informational presentations on various disabilities and shared them through DARR. She has been researching ways to promote disability awareness throughout campus in a positive light. She has been working on developing a collaboration with D2A2 and reached out to a few current IUP students with disabilities to see if they would be willing to share their abilities, talents, and preferred accommodations. She hopes that through her research she can create a more positive and welcoming environment for individuals with and without disabilities.

"As a representative since December 2022, she has been participating on the Dean's Advisory Board for the College of Education and Communications, where she has been advocating for greater accessibility in Davis Hall as well as more of an understanding for students with chronic conditions and their ability to attend classes remotely. So far in her college career, she has gone above and beyond to establish a welcoming, accessible, and inclusive environment for all. She encourages others to consider the abilities, talents, and needs of all throughout her daily interactions. As can be seen from the time and dedication which Taylor demonstrates as a freshman at IUP, she is certainly deserving of the Ray Coppler Award.”