Marriott Alumni Magazine

Summer 2014

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Speaker of the House By Megan Bingham Hendrickson Photography by Bradley Slade The Utah Governor’s Mansion was blanketed in soft, blue light. The occasion was World Autism Awareness Day 2014, and buildings across the country were swapping bulbs to highlight a disorder that affects one in sixty-eight American children. It wasn’t the lights that were giving alum Mirella Petersen cause to celebrate, though. Governor Gary Herbert was signing SB57 into law, making Utah the thirty-fifth state to enact insurance reform for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders. The bill had been in Petersen’s sights for more than three years. She organized events, garnered media coverage, and campaigned to get it passed. But she isn’t a congresswoman. She’s a volunteer coordinator for Autism Speaks and the former president of the Utah Autism Coalition.

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