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Human Development Institute

University Center for
Excellence in Disabilities

Laura Lamminen, smiling woman with mid-length brown hair

HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight on Laura Lamminen

Published: May 3, 2019

HDI is a very special place. I feel so fortunate to have worked in such a healthy environment of professionals. —Laura Lamminen, Former HDI Graduate Certificate Student and Research Assistant

How did you come to know HDI? 

As a student at UK, I learned about the center from Dr. Kleinert, who taught one of my classes in Special Education. 

How long were you with HDI and what was your role? 

I was with HDI for three years; first as a research assistant for the Mid-South Regional Resource Center, and in my last year, I served on the TNSIG grant working under Jocelyn Cooledge. 

During your time at HDI, of which accomplishments are you most proud? 

During my time at HDI, I am most proud of my completion of the graduate certificate and the evaluation experiences I had. Also, the milieu at HDI was very inclusive. I learned a lot about adaptive technologies and how our society can better adapt environments to align with needs of others. 

Looking back, can you please share with us a fun or fond moment you had at HDI? 

There are lots of great memories at HDI! I remember going to the HDI building to meet with Dr. Kleinert when I first started as a student at UK. I thought it was really weird that it was called the “Mineral Industries” building and there was a big coal rock in the front of the building. I have formed lasting friendships, even from afar. I took my family to South Dakota this summer and we got to spend time with Jocelyn Cooledge and her family. Jocelyn and I were pregnant at the same time with our oldest kids, so it was so fun sharing the experience with her and even cooler to see her this summer and let our kids hang out! Also, while as ASC/MSSRC and when in the main building at HDI, I loved chatting during breaks with David Flechler, Arvilla Humes and also listening to Tony Lobianco sharing life stories. Tony adopted his son when I was there and I loved hearing the stories about them bringing him to the US. 

What do you think the future holds for HDI? 

I am sure the future holds only great things for HDI! Continued research and advocacy for advancing rights of those with disabilities!