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Roxanna Topete

Roxanna Topete

USC UCEDD at Children's Hospital, Los Angeles
Children's Hospital, Los Angeles, CA

Roxanna Topete is a graduate from the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law. She is currently a full-time fellow at Neighborhood Legal Services within their Health Consumer Center in Pacoima, California. Roxanna went to the University of California, Davis for her undergraduate degrees in Spanish, Comparative Literature, and Sociology emphasis in Law and Society. Originally from Vacaville, California, she is a first generation Mexican American to obtain both college and doctoral degrees in her family. Nationally, she joins the 7% of Latina/os in the United States to obtain a doctoral degree and an even smaller percentage of doctoral Latina/os who are bilingual speakers. The oldest of three sisters, she set the bar high, but her sisters have followed her model, with her middle sibling enrolled in USC Gould School of Law and the youngest sister recently graduating college with a degree in government. Roxanna’s interest in disability rights and special education advocacy began because of her mother’s job as an instructional assistant in special education. Her mother would share both the joy of working with kids and teens with special needs and the frustration that monolingual Spanish speaking parents were not as well informed of their child’s rights as English speaking parents. Roxanna was the Vice President of Best Buddies during her High School years. She also was one of the first USC law students to intern with the Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center. Through this Equity Diversity Fellowship with the USC UCEDD, Roxanna is looking forward to a more in-depth understanding of the pressing issues/challenges experienced by individuals with DD (and their families) from racial, ethnic, and linguistically diverse groups underserved by California’s $4.5 billion DD service system, and exposure to how the DD Network Partners (Disability Rights CA, the State Council on DD and the three UCEDDs in the state) combine their individual spheres of influence and diverse methods to promote systems transformation to address these disparities. Ultimately her goal is to strengthen her skills in effectively representing underserved communities and giving them a voice in the spaces and places they are least represented in.

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