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#SPA80for80: Duilio Correa, SPA/MPA ’13

Duilio Correa, SPA/MPA ’13, Photo by Natalia Malysheva

Photo by Natalia Malysheva

Duilio Correa has never let his physical limitations hold him back -- in the classroom or on the job. 

A native of Peru, Correa first came to AU in 2005 for a certificate in Spanish translation, but he stayed on to pursue a master's degree in Spanish and Latin American studies. After finishing his MA in 2008, Correa landed a job developing Spanish-language materials at the National Institutes of Health. Yet, he felt he needed a better foundation in management, ultimately deciding to join SPA's MPA program.

While Correa doesn't feel his disability -- a congenital eye condition that limits his central vision -- has impeded him personally or professionally, it has required him to be resourceful. He relied on dictation programs to type documents, an iPad to zoom in on text and software to read passages aloud to him.

"Struggle is necessary for success," says Correa, who came to the U.S. as a teen with his mother –his driving force and inspiration. "If the opportunity you're looking for doesn't arise, sometimes you have to create it."

Today, Correa is a management and program analyst at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where he has been working with the human resources team to recruit people with disabilities and develop programs to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the Department. He says it is an opportunity that would not have been possible without his SPA education.

Ever ambitious, he is already thinking about returning for his Ph.D., focusing on public policy related to disability employment, and eventually becoming a professional coach for disabled individuals. It's hard to imagine a better career for someone so passionate about helping others thrive in the face of adversity.

"You can't focus on your physical challenges or concentrate on your flaws; you have to look at what you do well and how you can improve," says Correa. "If you fail, there is always another day. The key is never to give up."

#MySPAHistory

"The School of Public Affairs community is very supportive. Professors encourage independent thought, and give you a lot of room to explore academically and express yourself freely."