Emily Paulson(’15) shares her story
Emily Paulson(’15) recently spoke at S.G. Reinertsen Elementary School in Moorhead about one of her favorite books, “Wonder”. The book tells a fictional story of fifth grader Auggie Pullman who has craniofacial differences and how he adjusts to friendships and fitting in.
Paulson knows exactly what that’s like. She was born with Treacher Collins syndrome, a condition which affects the development of bones and tissues in the face. Paulson says she enjoys sharing her story and found the kids “engaged and excited” to hear what she had to say and look at the photos she brought.
“I love doing these presentations because I love showing others that being different is okay,” Paulson says.
Teacher Jennie MacFarlane says that having Paulson talk to her class provides an invaluable lesson — not only helping students see that people who are different can achieve anything but also giving perspective to what they’ve read in class.
But Paulson isn’t just sharing her message with elementary students. Earlier this month, she spoke to 965 students at Moorhead’s Horizon Middle School.
“The students were 100 percent in her pocket,” says teacher Brian Cole, who invited Paulson to speak. “I hoped it would be impactful, but it was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had as an educator. The most powerful thing she said was ‘I love who I am. I wouldn’t change a thing about how I look.’ A few of the classes burst into spontaneous applause. I get tears in my eyes thinking about it.”
Emily graduated from UJ in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and is currently working as a nurse at Sanford Health.