2016-06-30 / Front Page

The Road Less Traveled

Photo courtesy Nancy Clements

Alaina Clements, right, with her father, Dr. Bill Clements, Dean of the College of Graduate & Continuing Studies at Norwich University, received her Master’s Degree. Alaina lost half of her brain to disease when she was five but has been able to persevere none the less to complete her education.
Photo courtesy Nancy Clements Alaina Clements, right, with her father, Dr. Bill Clements, Dean of the College of Graduate & Continuing Studies at Norwich University, received her Master’s Degree. Alaina lost half of her brain to disease when she was five but has been able to persevere none the less to complete her education. Last Friday Alaina Clements received her Master's degree from Norwich University.  She walked across the stage and was handed her diploma by her father Dr. William Clements, PH.D. Vice President and Dean of the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies.

Alaina graduated from Northfield High School in 2005 and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing from Johnson State College in 2009.  She has since been working and living in Montpelier.

Since December 2014 Alaina has worked toward the pursuit of a Master's of Science in Leadership degree, taking classes online while also working full time at the Vermont Center for Independent Living, where she works as an AssistiveTechnology Specialist as well as leading the Youth Transition Team and Equipment Distribution Program.

Working within the Disability Rights Movement has been a passion of Alaina'sfor many years.  Her own experience with disability began at five years of age when she developed a rare seizure disorder, Rasmussen's Encephalitis, that resulted in the need for a hemispherectomy (the removal of half the brain) when she was seven.  The surgery was successful and the seizures ended, however, the seizures, medications, constant doctor appointments and medical testing caused multiple disruptions in Alaina's life including missing a lot of school in her younger years.  Regardless of the disruptions, Alaina remained current in school and was able to graduate with her class.

Beyond the story of being a person with a disability, Alaina's is the story of someone who realized they needed to make a big change and did.  Sometimes people venture through life on the same path they've always walked, never choosing the road less traveled, never daring to take a risk, and losing apleather of opportunities to keep learning and better themselves.  Personal growth and self-development is a skill we should continue to utilize throughout our lives, and especially in a time when our world needs leaders from all walks of life who are willing to push themselves and move things in a positive direction.

Alaina is the daughter of Bill and Nancy Clements.

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