Dear Alexander Graham Bell Community,
I'm away on vacation but just had to get this message to you. I want to talk about a group of esteemed guests in our community who visited the Volta Bureau on Monday. AG Bell had the honor to host author and 2017 Presidential Scholar Regan Brady, her family, Dr. Donald Goldberg, Ph.D., CCC-A/SLP, FAAA, LSLS Cert. AVT, Dr. Sharon Sandridge, Ph.D., and Dr. Michael Hoa, M.D., of Georgetown University Medical Center, for a press conference and tour of the Volta Bureau. Regan took the time to share her story about growing up with cochlear implants and how listening and spoken language changed her life. 
Regan is very well-known in our community and visited Washington, D.C. for a very notable reason. This past Sunday, members from the U.S. Department of Education presented Regan with a Presidential Scholar Medallion, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students.
Regan Brady with her family, Dr. Donald Goldberg, Dr. Sharon Sandridge, 
and  Dr. Michael Hoa
At 13 months old, Regan was diagnosed with severe-to-profound hearing loss. She wore hearing aids until she received her first cochlear implant at age 20 months and her second implant at age seven and a half. But Regan's hearing loss has never stopped her from achieving her goals in life. I am so amazed and impressed at what she has accomplished at just 18 years old. She is a published author, National Merit Scholar, and an inaugural 2016 Coolidge Scholarship recipient - the only girl to receive the prestigious award that year! To top it all, I am pleased to announce that she will attend Harvard University this fall, where she plans to pursue a degree in the social sciences field.
As a young child with cochlear implants, Regan knew she wanted to share her story and help other deaf children just like her. At just 11 years old, she published her first book, " Listening to the Waves, " which details her experience growing up with bilateral cochlear implants. Regan also works to educate families with a child who is deaf or hard of hearing on the listening and spoken language option available to them. She mentors families of children who have recently been diagnosed with a hearing loss and spends her free time volunteering with children with hearing loss. Regan also speaks to audiology students on college campuses and at conventions on early auditory intervention.
The moment a family learns that their child has a hearing loss can be difficult and confusing. Many families have gone through this journey and experienced the positive outcomes that listening and spoken language offers for their child's future, just like Regan and her family. As she told her story on Monday, Regan detailed how Listening and Spoken Language has opened doors for her that wouldn't have opened without her parents making that choice. It has allowed her to embrace every opportunity that has been presented to her. She feels that listening and spoken language is the most accessible communication method, and, as a student, she believes that it allowed her to succeed and participate in many school group activities, such as debates, speeches and advanced languages classes - activities she feels she would not have had access to otherwise.
I am truly grateful that she took the time out of her full schedule to visit the Volta Bureau and share her experiences with AG Bell and the community. 
At AG Bell, we always love hearing your stories and experiences. I encourage you to visit our Facebook page and group to share your story with the AG Bell community and stay connected on the latest news and information in the hearing loss community. I always enjoy reading all the thoughtful comments and inspiring stories we receive each day.
Lastly, as I write this, I realize we are only nine days away from this year's AG Bell Listening and Spoken Language Symposium in Arlington, Virginia. I encourage you to visit the symposium website to learn about this year's sessions and honored speakers, and take advantage of all the networking opportunities available to you.
I also hope symposium attendees will join us for A Night in Georgetown at the Volta Bureau for a night of friendly networking with your colleagues. Afterwards, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy the bustling nightlife of the legendary Georgetown neighborhood.
I look forward to seeing you all next week!
Until next week,
Emilio EAM signature blue transparent 
Emilio Alonso-Mendoza
Chief Executive Officer
Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Eleanor Roosevelt