2015 Keynote Speaker: Justin Graves
While his day job is protecting our country as an employee of the Department of Homeland Security, Justin Graves created his job of passion in 2011 with his social advocacy blog, HESONWHEELS.com. Justin views his blog as a form of service to show others that, no matter what perceived limitations you may have in your life, it is your drive and determination that define your impact on the world.
Justin does not recognize the limits of his wheelchair as a disability, but rather as an opportunity to live his motto that “Life is all about what you have done for other people.” He has a goal of meeting one new person each day, and HESONWHEELS.com helps him do that as he interacts with readers from around the globe daily.
Paralyzed by a rare spinal inflammation at the age of 3, Justin has since used a wheelchair to ambulate. But from volunteer service, to participating in adventures like mountain climbing, zip lining, and skydiving with friends, or spending time with his dog, Charlotte, Justin challenges life in his own way. He has decided that this “different way of getting around” will not change his life negatively.
A proud Virginia Tech graduate, Class of 2012 (B.S.) and 2014 (M.A.Ed.), Justin was recognized for his contributions in 2012 by Michelle Obama. He travels the country to work with students of all ages and people with disabilities. He was recently appointed by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe as the youngest member of the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind and Vision Impaired. He is also the youngest member of Virginia Tech’s Multicultural Alumni Advisory Board. In addition, he volunteers with the YMCA at Virginia Tech’s Board of Directors.