The First-Year Fellows program is a unique opportunity for first-year students to engage meaningfully in public policy early in their Dartmouth careers. Each year, around 20 students are selected and placed in fellowships with Dartmouth alumni in Washington, D.C., who are willing to take on a significant mentoring role.
“At National Disability Institute, we are so pleased to again be a mentor to a First-Year Fellow. This summer, our Dartmouth student has again demonstrated a love of learning, strong analytical skills, and a motivation and commitment to advocacy, policy change and social justice. We have also benefitted from her time with us as we share insights about how policy evolves and she has shared her insights about government in action and the dynamic landscape we work in. Thank you for the opportunity to develop future leaders with such strong skills and values!” –Michael Morris, Executive Director of the National Disability Institute
Michael Morris is the executive director of the National Disability Institute. He came to DC in 1981 as the first Joseph P. Kennedy Fellow in Public Policy, a program that places young professionals with a Congressperson to be involved with policy impacting people with intellectual disabilities. He worked in the office of Senator Lowell Weicker (CT) as legal counsel to the United States Senate Subcommittee on the Handicapped. Morris has also served as the legal counsel to the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee and the director of government relations, director of community services, and national executive director of United Cerebral Palsy Association. His work there focused on how assistive technology helps people live, learn, work, and communicate.
In 2001, Morris founded National Disability Institute to promote a better financial future for people with disabilities. He believes that all people with disabilities can strive for economic self-sufficiency and inclusion in the economic mainstream. His tireless dedication has led to the creation of many successful programs, such as a set of free tax preparation resources that impacted almost three million people with disabilities, financial education tools, and the ABLE National Resource Center that assists consumers in understanding the new ABLE Act and its varied programs. Under his leadership, NDI has even formed partnerships with major financial institutions like Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo to promote the needs of people with disabilities. Colleagues Nanette Goodman and Jason and Laura Gleneck describe him as a non-stop visionary, a trusting mentor, and someone who has helped them achieve their full potential. He is well-loved by all of his co-workers and places the needs of the organization above his own.
Michael Morris received an undergraduate degree with honors in political science from Case Western Reserve University, and received his law degree from Emory University School of Law. When he is not working at NDI, he enjoys playing and watching tennis and doing creative writing.
Michael Morris has mentored the following First-Year Fellows:
Justin Kramer '21, Andrew Xiang '20, Allie Norris ’19, Spencer Lambdin ’18, Morgan Sandhu ’17, Zan Song ’16, Summer Modelfino ’15, and Ellen Daily ’14