Austin Whitney grew up and attended high school in San Juan Capistrano. There, he was involved in student government, played sports, directed and acted in plays, and graduated in 2007 with a 4.0. One month after that, on July 21, 2007 he lost control of his car and struck a tree after drinking with some friends at a graduation party. He instantly severed his spinal cord, paralyzing him from the waist down, and almost killed himself and his best friend. After a painful and insightful recovery, Austin started attending college classes 10 days after being released from the hospital. He swore off drinking and dedicated his life to spreading the lessons he learned about drunk driving and the importance of attitude to high schoolers around California and beyond. Four years later, having lost no time to the accident, he was able to graduate from UC Berkeley with a Political Science/History double major in May 2011. His graduation made news across the globe as Austin stood up from his wheelchair onstage and walked to the Chancellor of the University to accept his diploma with the help of a mechanical exoskeleton developed in UC Berkeley's Human Engineering Laboratory under Professor Homayoon Kazerooni. Since graduation, he has continued working in this lab developing ways for paraplegics to walk again and is currently attending UC Berkeley School of Law, where he plans on graduating in 2015. He also is working on getting his scuba diving instructor certification and loves music festivals, social activism, wheelchair sports, the Swim With Mike Foundation, and raising money for the Wheelchair Foundation.