Monica Quimby may be one of the most interesting women with spinal cord injuries to come along in the last six years. A college biology professor and a Paralympic athlete in-training, yes Monica is a go-getter, and she does it all with great hair (how does she do that?).
Not surprisingly, Monica also possesses one of those no fear attitudes everybody loves. A couple of years ago she even bungee jumped in her wheelchair and just recently she packed up and moved from Maine to somewhere much warmer; something that is never easy to do in a chair. A woman armed to the hilt in courage, this is the awesome story of Monica Quimby.
Why she’s fearless
Growing up in Scarborough, Maine, Monica was one of those outgoing girls who loved being social and physically active. Type A all the way. Ad she grew up skiing, which is exactly what she did when she was a student at the University of New Hampshire. She was on their ski team and she was a ski instructor at a local ski hill. And it was on this hill in 2006 when she landed on her back while doing a jump.
Never an easy adjustment to make – becoming a paraplegic – but she’s been a fighter. After going to Shepherd Center for rehab, and learning how to walk with braces, she realized it was finally time to go back to college.
But don’t be fooled by her blonde hair and cute dresses, this girl is crazy smart. She returned to classes at the University of New Hampshire and graduated with a degree in molecular biology. And during her undergrad, she discovered two ancestors of the strawberry through her research in mitochondrial DNA. Way cool.
After graduating, Monica went on and got her master’s degree in higher education from Kaplan University as well, and that is when (after applying to 15 previous positions) she finally scored her awesome job (which she still has) as adjunct biology professor at Southern Maine Community College. She’s held this job since early 2010.
Being that she’s only 26 however, that means she’s the same age as many of her students, but to negate this – she makes a conscious effort to make sure her students respect her as a superior by never wearing jeans. Awesome. Watch an interview with her about teaching
Monica is also responsible for the resurrection of the Ms. Wheelchair Maine pageant, and the subsequent foundation for the pageant. She won the title of Ms. Wheelchair Maine in 2011 and that was when she fell in love with the higher message of the pageant – promoting strong women with disabilities and disability awareness.
Monica it also an athlete again. She plays sled hockey regularly and has played quad rugby. But one of the most exciting sports on her radar is her longtime love, kayaking, and this is why she recently moved to Florida . She was recruited to train in kayaking and paracanoe (a cool new sport) in the next Paralympics – Brazil 2016. Definitely an exciting athletic future is in store for this woman.
It’s not very often we profile a woman with a SCI who rocks at science and so many other things, and Monica Quimby is it. With her eyes set on a PhD in her future as well, she is the very definition of a well-rounded woman.
Have you met Monica Quimby along her travels?
– Add her on Facebook: Ms. Wheelchair Maine 2011
Watch the videos!