Erin’s journey in life to get to where she is today – a student at Columbia University – was not easy. From birth, Erin was diagnosed with a congenital physical disorder called radial club hand which presented both emotional and physical challenges for her. In her youth, Erin questioned who she was in the world and how to contribute to her community in a meaningful way. Reading and education became her lifeline. After earning her history degree, Erin plans to attend law school to give back to her community by advocating for access to reproductive healthcare, voting rights restoration for convicted felons and the abolishment of the death penalty. Erin will be the first person in her family to graduate with a degree.


“I ask myself what do I bring to this world? What can I contribute? I have drive and a passion for learning. I have been afforded the opportunities and the trials of being physically different. I have been kept from school, assaulted for being different, and suffered tremendous loss, but it hasn’t broken me.” – Erin O’Bannon