Student athlete faces challenges with rigor

Stevie Baum ’11

Human Development and Family Sciences major
Hometown: York, Pennsylvania

As a person living with cerebral palsy, track student/athlete Stevie Baum ’11 seems to welcome challenge. From continually exceeding her personal best on 800-meter races, to helping disabled and elderly Africans gain access to water and sanitation facilities, Stevie has made her Messiah experience her own.

Within a week of arriving on campus, Stevie unexpectedly met Professor Ray Norman, advisor for the Mali (Africa) Water and Disability Study through Messiah’s Collaboratory for Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research ( He invited her-and she agreed-to join the water transport team, charged with developing devices to make it easier for the disabled to carry water from a pump or well to their homes.

While on-site in Mali, Stevie drew upon her compassion and particular understanding of the challenges faced by persons with disabilities in order to reach out to those in need. As the group’s spokesperson, she talked with and listened to the afflicted, many of whom are scorned publicly. But Stevie’s willingness to share her personal story inspired others to come forward.

“I explained my disability and told them how I overcame it,” explains Stevie. “Now at home, when we’re doing work with the project, I know personally who I’m helping.”

Posted in 2011, Collaboratory, Family Science, Human Development, Service and Learning, Study Abroad | Comments Off

Posted on July 7th, 2008

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