Bobby Dodd Institute Honors BME's Cassie Mitchell with Circle of Excellence Award
The Circle of Excellence Award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the lives of people with disabilities
On March 2, Bobby Dodd Institute (BDI) honored Cassie S. Mitchell, Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering (2009), for her role in BDI’s mission of connecting people with disabilities to employment at their Breakfast with Champions event at the Cobb Galleria Centre. The annual event, sponsored by Autotrader, celebrates the accomplishments of people with disabilities in the workplace and the people and employers that support them. BDI recognized Mitchell with its Circle of Excellence Award, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta as its Employer of the Year, and Gloria Richardson as its Employee of the Year.
“Dr. Mitchell’s determination to achieve her full potential and overcome every hurdle she faces has inspired everyone at Bobby Dodd Institute,” said BDI’s president and chief executive officer, Wayne McMillan. “From her academic and athletic achievements to her volunteer work as a mentor and counselor for neurological patients, she sets a standard of excellence that we can all strive to emulate. Dr. Mitchell truly exemplifies BDI’s mission and we are honored to present her with the 2016 Circle of Excellence award.”
The Circle of Excellence Award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the lives of individuals with disabilities. This year’s recipient, Cassie Mitchell, has not let the paralysis and vision impairment associated with her diagnoses of Devics Neuromyelitis Optica deter her from working to discover a treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A research professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, Mitchell’s tireless dedication to her work as a scientist and a teacher has earned her the respect of her peers and her students.
In addition to her important work in the lab, Mitchell is also a world-class athlete who holds national and international records for wheelchair track and paracycling. Her resume of competitions includes the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and she is currently training for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. She also serves as a mentor for newly paralyzed individuals.
“It is critical for every person, including a person with a disability, to have a circle of support,” said Mitchell. “People with disabilities and disadvantages have many abilities and talents to contribute — if they have the opportunity to work. BDI’s goal is to provide a circle of support for their clients so they can share their unique abilities and advantages in the workplace, maximize their potential, and help their employers thrive.”
“Work is a vital part of the human experience – it provides dignity, self-sufficiency, and a connection to our community – but only 31.5% of Georgians who have a disability are employed,” said Wayne McMillan. “Bobby Dodd Institute is proud to honor individuals and institutions that break down barriers to employment for people with disabilities by providing job opportunities and by shattering stereotypes about people with disabilities in the workplace.”
The Bobby Dodd Institute began as a job training program of the organization now known as All About Developmental Disabilities (AADD), where the legendary Georgia Tech football coach Bobby Dodd was a dedicated program volunteer. Whether inspiring his student athletes to achieve both athletically and academically or supporting BDI clients as they prepared to enter the workforce, Coach Dodd had a gift for helping people identify and grow their strengths. BDI shares Coach Dodd’s perspective that people are most likely to succeed when encouraged to build on their strengths. Because of these shared values, BDI’s founders chose to name the organization in honor of Coach Dodd. Today, they continue to celebrate Coach Dodd’s legacy through both their name and their mission to help people with disabilities and disadvantages develop and prosper.
Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology