Lloyd Shelton, MSW '15
Community and Social Systems
Practice Method Concentration:
Social Policy and Evaluation
After earning a bachelor’s degree in Social Science and Marketing, Lloyd Shelton thought an MBA would be the next logical step. But after some serious soul-searching, he decided to devote his life to a mission that was much more meaningful to him. Shelton, who is disabled, decided that he could be a voice for others in the community who faced similar challenges.
He was accepted into the School of Social Work and quickly found his platform: Shelton joined the SSW Student Union to advocate for both U-M students of color as well as those with disabilities – especially those whose disabilities cannot be seen by others. He’s also one of the founders of Students with Disabilities and our Allies Group (SDAG), a campus wide support network dedicated to re-shaping the way disabilities are perceived by others.
“Students with invisible disabilities often choose not to self-disclose for fear of being judged. Therefore, this often manifests in them not utilizing the services and accommodations that would make life easier for them on campus. As a result of this added burden of shame attached to their disability, in addition to having to work unnecessarily harder, disabled students also tend to experience lower degree completion rates, lower retention rates, and take longer to finish degrees than their peers. We formed SDAG to provide disabled students and their allies with a network of support, and to bring about greater awareness of disability issues on campus and in the community.”
Through SDAG, Shelton helped organize Universal Design, a groundbreaking panel discussion that examined ways in which a society can be designed that is inclusive of all people, regardless of physical or cognitive ability levels. Universal design experts from U-M Schools of Information Technology, Information Science, and Architecture sat on the panel. Shelton represented the School of Social Work.
Ultimately, Shelton plans to pursue his PhD, and wants to teach and conduct research in African American masculinity issues with a disability angle. He says he’s looking for answers to questions that aren’t being asked – questions about disability, ethnicity, and class. Through the SSW, he’s earned scholarships that are helping him achieve his goal.
I want to provide disabled students and their allies with a network of support, and to bring about greater awareness of disability issues on campus and in the community.
“I do have some student loan debt but the scholarships I’ve earned through the SSW have alleviated a lot of the worry about my future. The biggest advantage to me is that I can focus on making an impact on people’s lives, rather than being economically coerced into looking for a high paying job so that I can afford to pay back student loans.”