Campus Bulletin: Tracy Alario, Biography and Essay

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Campus Bulletin: Tracy Alario, Biography and Essay

Catalog Entry

The artifact includes a biography and short essay written by Tracy Alario, who at the time in 2000 was a Junior majoring in English Studies at Fitchburg State College. The contents of the biography written by Alario explain that as a student without a disability, she was honored to be a part of the study abroad trip to Austria that was organized for students with disabilities to attend. Fitchburg State College and the Center for Leadership and Career Education worked together to send students with disabilities to study abroad in Austria. This allowed for students to have an equal opportunity to international experience travel the same way  non-disabled college students do because they have been given the access to the accommodations they may need. Although Alario did not have a disability herself, she attended the trip in hopes to study the way the culture in Austria treats those who have disabilities, and to see if they offer as much accessibility in Austria as they do in America. This trip was also a way for students who were interested in Disability Studies to become more aware of the cultural differences in viewing disability.

Tracy Alario shares in her biography that “I have never been able to be a part of something to make positive changes in the world-- until now.” Alario attended the trip in hopes to gain more of a perspective on how different cultures treat people with disabilities. In her experiences as a non-disabled person she was able to apply her research as a college student to an outside of the classroom setting, and evaluate from her perspective how the typical able bodied person looks upon someone who is disabled. The study abroad exchange program was called Partners for Access to International Culture Exchange and was meant to include students with disabilities as well as students who held interest in the emerging field of Disability Studies. By traveling abroad students were able to build stronger self-advocacy skills, specifically students with disabilities who are often unable to partake in abroad programs because there are a lack of accessabilities available for people with disabilities who seek out international travel. 

This artifact allows for us to see a piece of the emergence of Disability Studies at Fitchburg State University, and it also opens our eyes to the progress that has been, or has not been made since this bulletin was created in 2000. The issue of not providing accessabilities for people with disabilities who are traveling is still faced by many in 2019, almost 20 years later since Tracy noted this problem during her exchange program studies. Traveling with a disability as a college student is important because when the students come back to their home university after their time abroad they are able to bring a new perspective for their peers and their professors to learn and grow from as well. Educating one another on the international social view of disability is incredibly important for the future of studying disability as well as the future of improving our culture’s view of disability as a whole.

This artifact connects to our own culture at Fitchburg State University and the progress we’ve made in supporting students with disabilities and offering them access to what they need. Seeing a study abroad program like this in our current day at Fitchburg State would be wonderful as many students would be able to travel when they might have been stopped before due complications of disability. The growing field of Disability Studies has continued to change and connect with interdisciplinary studies as a whole, the artifact captures the roots of a program that offered access to those who had most likely been denied in their past. It is important to understand across cultures how people differ in their views of disability and by emerging yourself as a student into a different culture, the way that student understands and learns when they return home will be greater due to a more open perspective on the issue of disability.

Tracy Alario’s artifact shows that a student who seeks to make a change can absolutely do so by spreading awareness about a cause that they care about greatly. When one student begins the conversation more students will ultimately join and therefore change can be made. By completing an Educational program on leadership and International culture students are able to be articulate when they consider these issues back home, allowing for students to act as leaders for those who are not as aware of the stigma and the issues surrounding the way they see disability. Placing this artifact into our modern day program of studying disability would be eye opening for many students who take interest and find a passion in the issues of advocacy for people with disabilities. A group of students who find interest in making a change can not only start the conversation about stigma, accessibility but it can help refute the stereotypes that dominate our culture when we are studying the concept of viewing those who have disabilities.

Artifact Owner

Fitchburg State University Disability Services

Artifact Condition

The artifact is in good condition and there are no extra notes or marks on the page.

Artifact Material

Page 3 in the Issue, the artifact is printed in a magazine style book and includes black and white photographs.

Catalog Entry Author(s)

Autumn Battista, Student, Fitchburg State University


Kisha G. Tracy



“Campus Bulletin: Tracy Alario, Biography and Essay,” Cultural Heritage through Image, accessed December 2, 2022,

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