Fluent in American Sign Language, English and Arabic, Amany Abouelkhir was born premature and deaf and spent much of her childhood undergoing various surgeries and therapies to help her both hear and speak. She was one of the first individuals to receive a bone-anchored hearing aid at just 3 or 4 years old. Entering the public school system at 7 after extensive speech therapy, she excelled at her schoolwork despite the fact that her learning ability had been delayed and that she had several teachers doubt that she would be able to complete her education and graduate. Following high school, Ms. Abouelkhir began her career in advocacy in 2014 as an office assistant with Beth Israel Medical Center and an intern for the Council on American-Islamic Relations-New York.
In 2015, Ms. Abouelkhir joined the Borough of Manhattan Community College, where she developed and served as president of the American Sign Language Club and was presented a Leadership Award. Graduating with an associate degree in criminal justice in 2017, she went on to study at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. While studying at John Jay College, she continued her career as a civil attorney assistant in the Law Office of Jay Stuart Dankberg in 2017 and a congressional intern for Michael Devito Jr. in 2018. Ms. Abouelshir also served as a criminal justice tutor for the Borough of Manhattan Community College in 2018 and continues to serve as a teacher’s assistant and tutor for American Sign Language.
Achieving a bachelor’s degree in public administration in 2019, Ms. Abouelkhir additionally completed training with the Disaster Volunteerism Academy of the World Cares Center, the Citizen Preparedness Corps with the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, and Muslims Thrive. She went on to work as a legislative intern with the New York City Council in 2019 and a legal intern for Legal Service NYC in 2020. In 2020, she began work as a benefits counselor and outreach specialist for the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York, where she helps disabled individuals, veterans, and other professionals apply for benefits, such as food stamps and Social Security Disability Insurance, along with providing other necessary resources.
Furthering her education at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Ms. Abouelkhir obtained a Master of Public Administration in 2021. During her graduate studies, she served as a student representative for John Jay students with disabilities at the CUNY Coalition for Students with Disabilities from 2020 to 2021. She was notably recognized for her achievements in her advocacy work by John Jay College and made the dean’s list in 2021. Since 2021, she has served John Jay College as a member of their diversity and inclusion committee. Looking toward the future, Ms. Abouelkhir hopes to establish her own school for children with disabilities and also has plans to be the first hard of hearing individual to run for office as a councilperson or senator in order to represent and improve the lives of people with disabilities.
Alongside her primary responsibilities, Ms. Abouelkhir has contributed her skills to a variety of other professional endeavors. Since 2021, she has been a sign language interpreter for MUHSEN and the chair of special needs services for the Muslim Sisters of Staten Island. She has also been active with the Muslim American Society of New York since 2011 doing community outreach. Other organizations Ms. Abouelkhir has donated time to include the Deaf Muslim Association and the House of Justice Deaf Club.
Attributing much of her success to her tenacity and perseverance, Ms. Abouelkhir is also grateful to the support of her family. Her older sister was an early source of inspiration as a special education teacher and her parents and brother encouraged and supported her in all of her endeavors. Having accomplished much over the course of her career thus far, she is particularly proud to have been a voice for the deaf and hard of hearing communities within local government agencies. Ms. Abouelkhir’s ultimate goal is to inspire others and show that disabilities are not hindrances to success.