Brooke Ellison

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Brooke Ellison (born October 20, 1978, New York [1]) was the first quadriplegic to graduate from Harvard University. In 2000, she was selected by her fellow students to speak at the University's commencement ceremonies.

Ellison was struck by a car in 1990 while crossing the street on her first day of junior high school, resulting in being paralyzed from the neck down. Ellison graduated from Ward Melville High School in 1996 with high honors, and was accepted by Harvard. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a bachelor of science in cognitive neuroscience in 2000, and a master's degree in public policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 2004. Ellison is currently a doctoral candidate in political psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

In 2009, Ellison teamed up with director James Siegel to create the winning documentary "Hope Deferred",[2] which aims to educate the general public about embryonic stem cell research.


The Brooke Ellison Story

Ellison is portrayed by Lacey Chabert and Vanessa Marano in The Brooke Ellison Story. The 2004 TV movie was directed by fellow quadriplegic Christopher Reeve, star of Superman. It is also notable for being Reeve's final directing project. The film aired after Reeve's death.

Candidate for State Senate

Brooke Ellison ran for State Senate in 2006 but was defeated by the Republican incumbent, John Flanagan. Ellison has not commented on whether or not she intends to run for office again. One of Ellison's principal issues is her support for embryonic stem cell research. She serves on the advisory board of the Genetics Policy Institute.


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