I’m Finn Gardiner: community educator, researcher, advocate, and designer. I’m a Master of Public Policy student at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Before coming to Brandeis, I earned a BA in Sociology from Tufts University, and associate’s degrees in Social Science and LGBT Studies from City College of San Francisco.
Current and previous activities
I currently work with the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. At Lurie and ASAN, I combine disability advocacy, policy analysis, and visual and written communication to help advance the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I turn academic research on disability into accessible policy briefs and infographics for laypeople and policy makers. I also create original reports for professionals who want to approach their work in a more humane, disability-friendly way. In the past, I worked with a team of researchers on a project that gauged attitudes about the creation of an autism database in Massachusetts in order to create policy recommendations for the state.
In 2015-16, I was the Barbara Wilensky Gopen Fellow with the Institute for Community Inclusion and Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, where I created a mentor-matching program for autistic adults, where mentors shared their experiences with education, employment, and other life skills with their mentees.
I’ve worked with other nonprofit organizations and government agencies in the past, including the Boston Public Health Commission, City College of San Francisco’s Gender Diversity Project, Health Initiatives for Youth, Larkin Street Youth Services, and more.