Coming to York College, at first, was a matter of cost and convenience, Abby Yingling ‘17 admits.
She grew up in Lemoyne and went to Cedar Cliff High School, less than 40 minutes away. Being “close and affordable” with an inviting campus worked for her.
But then a funny thing happened.
Abby figured out she was exactly where she needed to be.
“From day one, York College gave me the opportunity to be who I am. To be the best version of me,” she said.
Before she arrived at York, she was diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia, an extremely rare genetic disease that affects muscles and movement. By her junior year at York, Abby started using a scooter to get around.
As she started getting accustomed to her new reality as someone with a disability, she also realized she was passionate about helping others in similar situations.
Enter Dr. John Altman, chair of the History and Political Science department.
Abby was taking an academic writing class and her research paper on accessibility helped lead to conversations with Dr. Altman about how she could use a political science degree to help advocate for others.
Dr. Altman and York College “helped guide me into what I want to do,” she said, adding her writing class “opened up the world of advocacy for me.”
She soon interned with state Rep. Kevin Schreiber, a York College graduate who represents York City. Abby said she admired how Schreiber seemed to know everyone he came across.
“I learned what it takes to be a person people look up to,” she said of the internship; internships are a core part of academic programs at York.
Abby also decided to get more involved on campus, working at the bookstore and joining Student Senate. She’s hoping to get elected to a leadership position in the Senate, and then who knows what’s next.
One thing’s for certain: Abby is exactly where she needs to be.