Student: Daniel Tanchez

School: Johns Hopkins University

Major: Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Graduation Year: 2018

Employer: Northrop Grumman Corporation

Daniel “Danny” Tanchez is a May 2018 graduate from Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor’s in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. He is currently a Systems Engineer in Northrop Grumman’s Professional Development Program.

Danny grew up in Southern Florida and was in his high school’s pre-med curriculum where he was inspired by his pre-med teacher, a physician who was a Hopkins graduate and the son of Jamaican immigrants. As an excellent student, he was accepted at several top universities and chose Johns Hopkins that offered him a full scholarship.

As Danny was preparing to move to Baltimore, Maryland to begin his Freshman year as a chemistry major at Johns Hopkins University, he received his diagnosis of Friedreich’s Ataxia, a progressive neuromuscular disorder.  That summer he also discovered that he liked to create mechanical things.  During his Freshman orientation he made it a point to speak with several engineers and switched his major to Chemical Engineering. During his second year at Hopkins his mobility started to decrease, he discovered that Hopkins has a Student Disability Services office and he moved into an accessible dorm. By his junior year he acquired a mobility scooter to use as needed. His accommodations during his academic career included 150% time on tests and flexibility with verbal requirements. During his four years at Hopkins, Danny was actively involved in both campus disability and Hispanic issues.  He was a Founding Board Member of the Johns Hopkins University Disability Advisory Board, Co-President of Advocates for Disability Awareness (ADA), and President of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).  In addition to creating a peer mentoring program for incoming students with disabilities, the ADA’s advocacy led to moving the Student Disability Services office from an upper floor in a building with a frequently non-functioning elevator to a first-floor office.

Through the Student Disability Services Director’s pro-active outreach, Danny applied and was accepted for the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) in his Junior year.  As a top rated student in the WRP, he received the announcement about Disability:IN’s mentoring program, the Mentorship Exchange, and was matched with Bob Vetere, Corporate Manager, Disability Partnerships for Northrop Grumman Corporation. During the course of the two-year mentoring relationship with Bob, Danny earned an internship at Northrop Grumman following his Junior Year and was accepted into Disability:IN’s Talent Accelerator career readiness and networking academy both in 2017 and 2018. Because Danny recognized the value of career advancement disability programs, he not only graduated from college with a great job in his field, but his mindset changed since the day he received his diagnosis.  He gained confidence and started to believe that he is still Danny and will be the most successful version of Danny that he can be.

According to Danny’s mentor, Bob Vetere, Mentoring Danny was truly a joy as well as a reciprocal relationship. His spirit and inner strength inspired me. Danny is a natural leader, everything he does is done to benefit others, others he will most likely never meet. As a person with a disability myself, I feel secure in the knowledge that our progress in the workplace and in society will not just continue, but move forward at a much faster pace, thanks to young leaders like Danny Tanchez.