Loyola University Chicago

Gannon Center for Women and Leadership


Maya Heim

Maya Heim
First Year
Advocacy & Social Change
Morton, IL

“People with developmental disabilities have many more opportunities today than they have had historically. Nonetheless, they remain hugely underrepresented in most areas, including general education classrooms, the workforce, social gatherings, the media, and the arts. The arts are especially meaningful to me. Performing in plays and musicals has been an important part of growing my self-confidence, and the friendships I’ve formed through my theatrical experiences have enriched my life. The opportunities people have to express themselves, engage in meaningful free time activities, make social connections, and have their talents appreciated affect their entire well-being. I see firsthand in some of my friends with disabilities how limited opportunities can lead to depression, regression, and health issues. I have also witnessed firsthand how an inclusive theater experience can have the opposite effect … At Loyola, I hope to find ways to combine my passion for the arts with my passion for this particular social justice issue. I believe inclusive experiences in the arts greatly benefit not only those in the productions, but also those in an audience as they come to see the incredible potential in each human being.”