Dylan J. Lierd

photo blogMY STORIES:


The time I have spent at the University of Utah has allowed me to gather vital knowledge concerning various topics. I have studied instances within different governments that have shaped the world’s political landscape, and have learned about the noticeable disparities associated with race, class and gender.

However, after writing three stories for Voices of Utah, I have learned about an overlooked sector within our society. This sector is people with disabilities, which is also the beat our class covered for Fall 2013.

For my first story, I wanted to learn about the different types of organizations that are available for people with disabilities in Salt Lake City and in Utah. In regards to many nonprofit organizations in Utah that help Utahns with disabilities, I found that there were a lot of financial areas that were in need of improvement. Also, as I have mentioned in my first story, there are many Utahns with disabilities who are entitled to financial assistance and are not receiving any. Consequently, as I began to explore areas that hinder individuals’ capacity to live independent lives. I found that there were employment barriers and legal hurdles that have interfered with the goals of these citizens. This compelled me to write my second and third story concerning these two issues.

Unlike other social issues that I have explored, it seems that a majority of the issues associated with people with disabilities do not result from prejudices within society, but from financial allotments that do not sufficiently cover basic needs that many of us take for granted. Therefore, I have learned that the media have not focused enough attention on issues that pertain to individuals with disabilities. Although it is important for more attention to be focused on people with disabilities, I have learned that individual contributions are just as vital.

Many Utahns with disabilities who have not yet contributed to society are not often searching for handouts. And after speaking with TURN Community Services, I found that a multitude of volunteers are not contributing in a way that makes people with disabilities feel inconsequential, but in a way that helps them live as independently as possible.

After speaking with organizations that help many people with disabilities, like TURN Community Services, I can see that individual efforts collectively limit the amount of noticeable disparities within this demographic. Therefore, I think volunteering and playing a positive role within the community is the first step in limiting social issues, so I will be looking for opportunities that will allow me to volunteer in the future.

In terms of my career, I am currently interested in attending law school. Even though negative connotations exist regarding the role of a lawyer, I would like to study the law to develop positive change for wherever I may reside. And I believe studying and writing about imbalances within our communities, which I have done in this beat, is an important starting point.



I am a 22-year-old student at the University of Utah. I am studying both Political Science with an emphasis in international studies and Communication with an emphasis in journalism.

During spring 2014, I will be interning for Senator Harry Reid in Washington, D.C., which is something that I am very excited to complete. I believe covering stories for Voices of Utah has helped me prepare for the upcoming experience.

I have enjoyed the time I have spent at the University and covering people with disabilities for Voices of Utah. I look forward to the remaining time I have at the U and for whatever the future may hold for me.

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