Josie Badger believes that each step taken in life is progress, not just movement. Her personal journey exemplifies how much progress can be made in a short span of time. In 2007, she graduated from Geneva College, with a degree in Disability Law and Advocacy. In 2009, Josie completed a graduate degree program for Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Pittsburgh and became a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. Then, in 2014, she received her doctorate in Healthcare Ethics from Duquesne.
Joise is currently employed as the Youth Director at The Parent Education & Advocacy Leadership Center (PEAL), assisting youth in transition and leadership development. She also is the Co-Director of the national Rehabilitation Services Administration Parent Training and Information Center technical assistance center (RAISE). Additionally, Josie serves as the campaign manager of the #IWantToWork Campaign, which strives to improve the employment of youth with disabilities. On a national level, she has worked with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and served as president and vice president of the National Youth Leadership Network. On the state level, Josie is a founding member and has served as president of the Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network (PYLN) and the Children's Hospital Advisory Network for Guidance and Empowerment (CHANGE). In the midst of studying and working, Dr. Badger was crowned Ms. Wheelchair America in 2012. Her 2015 TedxPittsburgh talk "Exceptional by Choice" has received over 1,300 views on YouTube. She was awarded the 2015 Athena Young Professional Award on Oct. 9, 2015.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11) Josie reflects upon this biblical verse often, "Sometimes we do not realize that we have been on a path until we have reached our destination. However, if we take a moment to listen to the call to be still, we may see that all our steps lead to our calling. There has yet to be a step, whether intentional or not, in my life's path that has not been a part of my calling. I don't believe that people are born leaders, but I do believe that God's divine plan can change everything. The majority of my life achievements were never in my plans. I simply took opportunities that were given to me and ran with them. I knew I had a relentless passion for social justice and disability rights, but I had no idea where that passion would lead. After I received my Doctorate in Health Care Ethics, I was unsure of what path I should take, but I recognized that a path was placed before me."
Josie's volunteer and work experience, as well as her education, prepared her to start her own consultation corporation where she has been hired by state and national organizations to direct programs and campaigns. Before beginning her doctoral work at Duquesne, Josie was prepared to work on a local or state level, but the doctorate allowed her to be successful on the national and international stage. Josie explains, "Through the expansive Health Care Ethics program and diverse faculty, I was able to apply my knowledge and experience to national issues. Although laws and programs may differ, the rights of all individuals remain the same. Each step in my life has equipped me for the next milestone that God has prepared for me for and I am excited to see what God has in store for me in the future."