Sami Gibbs / The Fourth Estate

Madison Essig, Senior


Who did you recently interview and why?

The interview was on Down Syndrome Awareness Day, and I thought it was important to do something for Respect Ability. I actually came up with the idea to interview Sean McElwee for the organization… I was so happy. Since it is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, I did ask him some questions surrounding that, like the perceptions from society on my community. The work I have done for Respect Ability is the main work I have done for Down Syndrome Awareness month.

What is the show about?

Born This Way is a show centered around the lived experiences of people with Down Syndrome. It was on for a while and then it was discontinued. So, I wanted to get an update on how he was doing since the show. I had seen the show before, and went to a private screening for it. I did meet a few cast members there. It’s docu-series meets reality TV a little bit!

Why did you choose Mason?

I wanted to be close to my parents in D.C., but I was also looking for a place that would accept me for who I am. The inclusivity and diversity were important to me when making my decision. I started in the Mason LIFE Program but later applied to be a full-time member of the Mason family in 2018. I have a lot of friends from the program I still talk to today, though.

What drives you to be involved on campus?

 I am currently a part of Gamma Phi Beta, Mason Hillel, Best Buddies and Mason Dems. I like having a group of like-minded people who not only accept me for who I am, but the uniqueness I bring to the table. I like to be vocal about my uniqueness because there are a lot of students who have disabilities as well. I like to be vocal about disability awareness on social media and in my organizations. I do not see the disability community being celebrated enough on campus, though. It would make me happier to see them gain more recognition.

What are your biggest accomplishments so far?

I am taking a human trafficking class where I organized a fundraising project. We tried to educate the Mason community on the topic with kiosking too. It is an important subject, especially since COVID-19 has shed a bigger light on human trafficking. Another accomplishment I had was sponsoring and passing Madison’s Bill to allow Mason Life students to run and vote in Student Government elections.