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  • David Egan is a self-advocate with Down syndrome who serves on the Board of Directors of the Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia, and is active with Special Olympics, Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action, and the National Down Syndrome Society. David has worked at the strategy and technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton for the past 17 years.

    In November of 2012, I interviewed David in Vienna, Virginia, about his experiences as an advocate for himself and others with disabilities. The interview was for my thesis in the Oral History Master of Arts program at Columbia. David and I discovered we were born at the same hospital - St. Mary's in Madison, Wisconsin - and share an interest in how the stories of people with disabilities are told. In February, David reached out to me to ask about working with me on my project. I had been hoping that one of the self-advocates I interviewed would take an interest in working with me in more depth, and with this email exchange, the collaboration was born....

    On Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 12:35 AM, David Egan <> wrote:
    Hi Nicki

    I want to get in touch with you I want to know if you need a partner for the work you are doing for Oral History for Self Advocacy and I do not want to take you away from what you are doing in New York and the NDSS or your family. This is on side note, if you feel that I am taking to much of your time I will understand. I just felt of sharing this with you even with out everyone else on the E-mail I am not sure if you feel the same way I have not meet someone that is from the same State of Madison, Wisconsin, and born at the same hospital.


    On Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 9:14 PM, Nicki Pombier Berger <> wrote:
    Hi David,

    I'm glad you emailed about this. I would be interested in working more closely with you on this project. Can we talk about this when we meet on Saturday? I'd like to hear your ideas on how we might work together, and share some of my thoughts, too. Then we can see what kind of plan we can put together. Does that sound good?

    Have a great week, and I'll see you Saturday!


    Listen to David’s stories here:

    Listen to David’s stories told in collaboration with his younger brother, Marc, here:

    Learn more about the project that David and I are collaborating on, Nothing About Us Without Us: The Project, and listen to the stories behind our story: The Magic Happens in the Field, and Beginnings.
    Visit David’s personal website here.

    My interviews with David were conducted for my thesis in the Oral History Master of Arts program at Columbia University. Upon completion of my thesis in October 2013, the full interviews will be included in the Columbia University Academic Commons, and submitted to the the Regional Oral History Office at the University of California, Berkeley, for inclusion in the Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement archive.
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