Resources for Disabled Students

Winning Students

The following are winning nominations for the RDS Outstanding Effort Award for the category of student.

Student

Richard Spomer, Social Work major (1995) 

From Richard's arrival on campus, he has put great effort into making this campus a better place for students with disabilities. As he puts it, he has a mission of "educating the educated." His support of the office in numerous ways has also helped to promote the "quality" of the environment for students with disabilities. He has great plans as he accomplishes his mission and if only one-tenth of his ideas bear fruit, he will have made significant contributions to the environment on behalf of students with disabilities.

Renae (Bullock) Anderson, Social Work major (1996)

Renae has helped greatly with us trying to recruit volunteers. She is also a wonderful public relations spokesperson. She has a positive influence on everybody she comes in contact with. She is willing to help out in any way she can. (She also makes great food!) Renae is consistently willing to speak in classes and/or to other groups. She does this with positive energy that instills knowledge and promotes awareness about the lives of persons with disabilities. She also provides a resource for the staff of Resources for Disabled Students when it comes to information about how she has tackled a particular challenge in her educational career. She serves as an excellent role model for other persons who have limitations as the result of their disability.

Jody Kemp, Psychology major (1997)

Jody is currently the chair of the Committee for Disabled Student Accessibility, a member of the Disabled Student Advisory Committee and has willingly volunteered for panels and presentations related to his activities in sports and as a wheelchair user. He is also a teaching assistant for the class The Handicapped Individual in Society, contributing not only his time but his perspective to other students who are trying to better understand the issues that affect people with disabilities. Beyond his student activities, however, Jody is attempting to become a true advocate for people with disabilities. One of his goals this year has been one of personal growth and understanding of the issues that affect people with disabilities so that he can eventually devote his future to advocating from a knowledge base rather than from only one of experience. He has become a proponent to reduce the "oppression of kindness" of people with disabilities that permeates society, not only by explaining the existence of such oppression but also by publicly denouncing such oppression. While he has many years yet to significantly make an impact on society, he is starting here. His personal efforts to grow in his understanding of the issues beyond his own experience is to be commendable and is already bearing fruit in his efforts with the Committee for Disabled Student Accessibility and the Disabled Student Advisory Committee. It is clear that he has great potential to affect people with disabilities in the near future as he continues in his efforts.

Rebekah Tolin, Occupational Therapy major (1998)

Rebekah has become one of the more enthusiastic advocates of issues affecting students with disabilities. From her beginnings as a volunteer reader to her current position as chair of the Disabled Students Action Group and as a member of the Committee for Disabled Student Accessibility, she consistently speaks out passionately about the problems she sees that still need attention on campus. For example, when she became aware of the scarcity of accessible emergency phones, she took the time to canvas the campus and then to meet with the CSUPD to discuss this problem as a means to address the issue. She has truly taken on her role of an advocate seriously and energetically. Rebekah continues to show her support for disability issues not only in accessibility but in attitudes. She is currently part of a group that took on as a group project the promotion of Disability Awareness Days, including the organization of a specific program on depression. Rebekah has a great future ahead of her in working on behalf of people with disabilities. We are proud to be among the first to recognize the effort she has given and will give in the future.

Angela Sanchez, Wildlife Biology major (1999)

Although Angela formally graduated from CSU last semester, her efforts as a student have always been cause for appreciation. As a student, she helped to form a support network for all the deaf students around campus and was often considered a leader among that group. She also volunteered for various projects within the office with enthusiasm and a real spirit of cooperation. Her positive attitude and tenacity shines through in every activity she engages in. She has been a supporter of the issues concerning students who are deaf while also trying to understand the constraints that exist in providing the support necessary for students. Her attitude in working with the office has always been one of partnership and she has helped the office grow in understanding and working with deaf and hard of hearing students. As a role model, she represents what can be accomplished through persistance and hard work. Her approach has always been one that embraces life rather than running from those things that are not always to our liking or that are difficult. As a non-traditional, or adult, learner, she found a way to bridge the generation gap not only in her studies but also in her relationship with other students. She is truly a student that made her mark on not only on those she came in contact with but also those who will come after her.

Kerri Laman, Human Development and Family Studies major (2000)

Due to her unique experiences, Kerri is a valuable resource to the campus when she willingly shares her life with others. She is always more than willing to speak in classes as a method to raise awareness of the issues that affect people who are blind or visually impaired. Her unique needs have also challenged this environment to be more responsive to students with various levels of visual limitations and to respect those differences. She participates on the Committee for Disabled Student Accessibility and has consulted with both the Assistive Technology Resource Center and the library, always with the goal of increasing the accessibility of the campus for all students with disabilities. She has great potential to influence many more individuals as she pursues her career interest in human development and family studies. Her goal is to work with children and what better time to influence and educate about disabilities as a productive role model.

Sarah Gales, Animal Science major (2001)

Sarah has proven invaluable as an advocate for students with disabilities. She is always willing to participate in activities that promote the quality of life as it concerns people with disabilities. Among her outstanding efforts are her participation on the Committee for Disabled Students and as a participant on the CSU Web Access Committee. Not only has she made decisions to improve the accessibility of campus to all students, she has also spent many hours testing individual web pages to ensure their accessibility to screen readers. She has willing spoken in classes and in general is a very reliable person to call on when unique perspective as a person who is sight limited is needed. Once she graduates, she will be missed but the next community to be graced with her presense will surely be inheriting a gem of uncomparable worth.

Brian Amidon, Social Work major (2002)

From Brian's first days at CSU, he has been an active participant in campus life on behalf of students with disabilities. Acting as his own advocate, he has helped to educate not only faculty and administrators but staff, especially in Housing. His unique needs not only challenged the Housing system with renovations and design, his approach to working with those in power has helped to give a positive example of how accommodations are essential to a student's success. In addition, he has willingly contributed to panels discussing diversity, adding an element to the discussion not often noticed by the traditional approaches to this issue. He has helped to enhance the campus' level of accessibility by his participation with CDSA and was instrumental in the purchase of a new vehicle for the RDS transportation services. He is truly represents what any student with a disability is capable of achieving by working with the system rather than fighting against it.

Robert Gerk, Business major (2003)

Rob exemplifies what an outstanding student should be. As a freshman, he has become involved with activities that show he has great potential as a leader. The interpreters who work with him consider him a dream client. He is prompt to inform us when he will not attend class and always thanks the interpreters, some thing that is rare and gratifying for them. He also brings a certain wit and humor to his daily interactions, especially when he requests interpreters for other activities. He shares his sense of humor by adding funny comments to his requests that simply uplift those who read them. Included in Rob's many activities is the leadership role he's taken with the CSU Sign Club as president. His energies are focused on attending meetings, planning activities, and writing the Club's constitution so that the Club can gain official recognition with the university. He also spends time teaching those who are not deaf sign language so that they can become an active participant in the Deaf community. Most students spend at least a couple of years here before they venture outside of their own comfort zones. Rob's ability to jump right in and become an active participant of this campus community is not only outstanding. It is also a testament to the future and what he has the ability to accomplish. We can certainly expect great things from him.

Bev Hill, Speech Communications major (2004)

Beverly Hill is a senior in Speech Communication and is about to graduate. As a non-traditional student and grandmother, her story is unique enough. However, as a student with a disability she is truly a remarkable example of dedication and commitment. A student with a severe hearing loss, Beverly is also a survivor of cancer that required many surgeries as well as a time out from her studies. But she persevered and has even excelled. She is currently a member of the Committee for Disabled Student Accessibility but she is also a member of many other groups, including an honor society, that demonstrate her varied interests as well as her academic qualities. She is undaunted in her attempts to participate as an equal with all her peers and as she does so, she is also teaching others to adapt to her needs, not in an overpowering way, but in a natural manner. In other words, she is both student and teacher in her everyday life. While she may think she is merely being Beverly, she is, in fact, contributing to the accessibility of the environment through her example. As a role model, she demonstrates that having a disability is merely another human characteristic and need not be a barrier to achievement. As a student with a disability, she demonstrates, too, that simply being comfortable with one's limitations can be as effective as any other method in making an impact on others.

Logan Faelber, Finance/Real Estate major (2005)

When I think about outstanding efforts on behalf of people with disabilities, I think of Logan Faelber, SLCE's Special Needs Swim Coordinator. Logan is not your traditional Human Services person. He has a background in Business and Finance, is currently a senior at Colorado State University and has worked primarily in the for-profit sector. Yet for the past three years Logan has been passionately committed to providing recreational opportunities for people with disabilities living in the Fort Collins area, while providing an educational opportunity for CSU students to learn about issues facing the special needs community. He has done so through his involvement as a volunteer with CSU's Special Needs Swim (SNS) program, and now in his role as the SNS Coordinator with the office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement. SNS is volunteer program where CSU students interact with community members - both children and adults with a variety of disabilities. Each week students and their partners spend an hour in the pool for exercise, games and friendship. These sessions are oriented towards developing relationships, improving body coordination and skills, and most importantly having fun in the water! Participants gain exercise, friendships and increased awareness of issues concerning people with disabilities. Volunteers also meet to discuss and reflect on their service. SNS specifically focuses on providing an educational immersion experience for CSU students so that they may become lifelong advocates for the rights of people with disabilities while working to reduce the stigma impacting this population. Logan carries out his role with passion and commitment. This year, Logan recruited approximately 47 CSU student applicants and selected 32 CSU volunteers to serve as partners with both youth and adults with a range of disabilities. Logan designed a training program for all of the SNS volunteers so that they could learn about the issues impacting the community in which the SNS volunteers would be serving. Logan's training program began with Pre-training on October 6th, and has continued for one hour weekly for the remainder of the year. Here's a glimpse of Logan's training:
• Guide Dogs for the Blind came in with over 25 volunteers and 10 puppies. The president of the club talked with SNS volunteers about the services and opportunities provided by the club.
• Logan facilitated discussions on articles that address accessibility issues at CSU and in Fort Collins. Volunteers had an in-depth discussion regarding the issues and the role they can play in addressing these issues as lifelong advocates.
• Skip Degraff, doctorate student at UNC visited with the group to discuss his life as a quadriplegic. His heartfelt talk helped the volunteers learn more about the stigma and the challenges that people with disabilities face.
• Logan facilitated a discussion on various types of disabilities so that the volunteers were more aware of the different needs and challenges that their partners face. He discussed signs, symptoms and descriptions of different disabilities such as Down Syndrome and CP.
• Long time SNS participant and Program Assistant Rick came in talked about his life experiences growing up with CP. Because Rick has limited verbal abilities, he uses a Delta Talker to communicate. He programmed a lecture into his talker for the CSU volunteers to learn about how people's reactions and interactions with him throughout his life impacted him. His presentation helped the CSU student volunteers learn more deeply about the emotional and personal side of living with a disability.
And much more!
Logan's dedication and commitment to educating this generation's future advocates is clear. In Logan's application for the SNS Coordinator position, he shared "(Volunteering) leads to overall fulfillment and greater understanding of others." He carries with him a strong belief that college is a time for personal growth, and that volunteering for programs like SNS is an important catalyst to begin the growth process. Logan continues to work towards reducing stigma impacting people with disabilities both through is work with SNS, his interactions with clients and caretakers in local group homes, and his support for additional programs at CSU including SLCE's Alternative Break trip to the Fowler Center in Michigan. He is a role model and resource for helping other students at CSU become lifelong advocates and agents of change, and has served a critical role in educating the CSU community on both the challenges and successes of the local special needs community. 


 

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