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MA in Disability Studies
Class of 2014
Nooria Nodrat is founder and chairperson of the Afghanistan Blind Women and Children Foundation (ABWC), a nonprofit organization providing financial support to public service institutions in Afghanistan that offer essential educational programs and medical support to blind Afghani women and children for improved health and well-being.
An avid jogger, blindness has not limited Nooria’s participation in over ten internationally recognized marathons to raise the profile of and funds for ABWC.
We recently spoke with Nooria about her experience as a CUNY SPS student, life since graduation, her goals, and some of her favorite things outside the classroom. Here are a few excerpts of our conversation.
Q: Why did you choose CUNY SPS?
The CUNY SPS MA in Disability Studies program. And, I am glad that I did.
Q: What most appealed to you about your CUNY SPS degree program?
I learned so much about the legal rights of persons with disabilities, as well as the importance of creating broader educational and professional opportunities for persons with disabilities. Much work remains to be done to remove stigma from society.
Q: How did you find your online/classroom interaction with other students? With faculty?
I enjoyed the classroom interaction between instructors and students. The Disability Studies program at CUNY SPS was very informative and the knowledge added significantly to my undergraduate experience.
I have many wonderful memories of the graduate program and remain in touch with a number of my former classmates and professors.
Q: What was one of the funniest memories while attending CUNY SPS?
I was giving an oral presentation on the life of Helen Keller in class and proceeded to demonstrate my braille machine and recording player when the professor stopped me said, “Nooria your time is up,” which took me by surprise. It was actually quite funny. I had run over my allotted time, but from that experience I learned the importance of good time management skills.
Q: How has your CUNY SPS degree influenced your career?
Attaining my Master’s degree has brought me closer to my goal of offering essential services to those in individuals most in need through ABWC. It is estimated that there are more than 400,000 blind persons in Afghanistan and women are extremely marginalized in Afghan society.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?
I am interested in pursuing my Ph.D. and working to improve ABWC’s outreach capacity. Over five years, I’d like to see ABWC provide education for as many as 500 grade school students and 50 college-age students, and improve healthcare for as many women in Afghanistan as possible.
I believe if we can educate Afghan children, the opinions of adults will begin to change for the better.