Human Science Senior Founds Campus Shuttle Program to Support Students with Mobility Disabilities

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May 18, 2021 – Olivia Silveri (NHS’21) is a human science major and a disability studies minor. As an undergraduate, she founded HoyaLift, “an ADA accessible campus-wide shuttle initiative in order to support students with mobility disabilities in their commute to class, both on and off the main campus.”

“I have absolutely loved my time at Georgetown, and I am so grateful to call it home,” Silveri said. “Thank you to all those who have made my Georgetown career. Hoya Saxa!”

Olivia Silveri (NHS’21) will graduate this month with a bachelor of science in human science and a disability studies minor.

Question: Where did you grow up, and how did you learn about Georgetown?

Silveri: I grew up in Northern Virginia, and I went to Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School for high school. Georgetown has always been in the background of my life as my father is an alumnus of Georgetown University, College Class of 1985. 

Growing up, I have always heard my dad’s stories of what it was like to go to a Jesuit University with a strong community of men and women for others. He was a founding member of GERMS and inspired me to create my own legacy at Georgetown. So, I recently founded HoyaLift, a daytime disability transportation shuttle service for all students on the Main Campus.

Question: What drew you to want to study in the health field?

Silveri: Ever since I was little, I wanted to pursue a career where I was able to work with many people and use my education to help give back to my community. My dad is an orthopedic spine surgeon, and my mom is a pediatric nurse, now working in a surgery center. 

Witnessing the effects my parents have on patients and in their medical careers has inspired me to pursue the same track. Medicine is the one career I believe can connect all people through health, disease, and treatment. I am so honored and excited to be a part of this field and to continue on from Georgetown to further my education. 

Question: How have you enjoyed the human science major and the disability studies minor?

Silveri: I am so lucky to have chosen these two degrees as I believe they perfectly complement each other in understanding health and the intersection of relationships and disability under a medical lens. 

I have never felt so prepared for my future and I was honored to have learned from so many incredible mentors and professors. My education at Georgetown has helped me expand my rhetoric around the narratives regarding disabilities in our community and how health literacy is a dynamic and drastically needed focus in our society today. I am so excited to take what I have learned in the classroom and carry it with me throughout my coming years as an alumna. 

Question: Tell us about the activities you have been involved in at Georgetown.

Silveri: Some of my friends may say that, ‘I bleed blue and gray.’ I am an active tour guide of four years for the Undergraduate Admissions Office and have welcomed future Hoyas and families to campus. I joined a Neuroscience Traumatic Brain Injury Lab on the Medical Center campus as I wanted to pursue disability studies under the microscope. 

I am an avid disability activist and have been involved in the Disability Alliance at Georgetown as I created and started HoyaLift on campus. I also became a nationally certified EMT and a volunteer at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital on campus through the Georgetown University Oncology Patient Support Club. 

Question: What are your plans for the future?

Silveri: I am planning on living in Virginia working in a bridge-year program for Capital Dermatology as a medical assistant. My goal during my gap year before medical school is to acquire more hands-on experience with patients in my community, as well as continue my part-time research as a Rothman orthopaedic research fellow assistant at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. 

I will be back to campus in the fall to help my team start HoyaLift and will be volunteering at the local One Health Tents around the District of Columbia in order to help spread awareness about COVID and HIV destigmatization and testing. 

I have absolutely loved my time at Georgetown, and I am so grateful to call it home. Thank you to all those who have made my Georgetown career. Hoya Saxa!

By Bill Cessato