For Megan Menconi, though, graduating Aug. 13 from Florida International University meant more than embarking on a new chapter in her life: It meant starting on a career path she was excited about, and not letting her disability dictate what she can and cannot do.
Menconi was born deaf in her left ear, with accelerated hearing loss in her right. What’s more, she never used her disability as an excuse.
“She is a very motivated person and goal oriented,” said Lucia Mavrakis, Megan’s Vocational Rehabilitation counselor. VR provided Megan with hearing aids and paid her college tuition.
“I was on Cloud 9,” said Menconi when she heard the news. “I had wanted to go back and finish my degree for a long time.”
Thankful for the second chance VR gave her, Menconi worked hard in school, made good grades, and, in addition, worked part time as a receptionist for a law firm, where she developed an interest in the legal field. When she took the job at law firm Leslie & McLaughlin LLP, her new bosses saw her potential and immediately put her into a paralegal program.
“She’s phenomenal. We absolutely adore her,” said Jody Leslie, Menconi’s supervisor at the firm.
Menconi’s duties include answering client phone calls, drafting legal pleadings and letters, and coordinating hearings with the court.
“She’s great at what she does,” Leslie said. “She personable, efficient, and an intricate part of our office. She really keeps us going.”
Now, equipped with a bachelor’s degree in public relations, Menconi says it was her experience with VR that helped her find the drive to succeed that she never knew she had. “I have a college degree!” she says. “Without VR, I wouldn’t be working in this job and looking to the future.”
What about the future? Menconi plans to continue with Leslie & McLaughlin and eventually combine her degree in public relations with her law experience to open her own PR firm specializing in media law.
— October is Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time when VR and other agencies highlight the accomplishments of those with disabilities.VR has 111 offices across the state and last year helped 5,018 Floridians with significant disabilities find or keep a job. For more about VR and its services, call (800) 451-4327 or visit Rehabworks.org.
Source: Tallahassee Democrat