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Disability Studies Students and Alumni

Kristen Green

Shippensburg University Disability Studies minor has provided me with the necessary tools to be successful in the workplace. As a supports coordinator for Service Access Management (SAM), a supports coordination organization, I work with individuals that have intellectual disabilities. My responsibilities include locating, coordinating, and monitoring the services my consumers receive. I am their primary advocate speaking on their behalf for services they need and want, as well as meeting their personal goals.  My caseload consists of 40 consumers ranging in age from 14-100 years old with varying disabilities. The individuals I serve range in socio-economic status as well as family involvement.  They may reside in Community Living Arrangements to living with their families, and some have previously resided in state hospitals. The Disability Studies minor at SHIP focuses on a wide range of disabilities which has helped me in my current role as well as the work-related tasks of writing service notes to reflect services provided, and speaking in Person-First language. At SAM, staff are required to use person first language when interacting with consumers, team members, and writing notes. I was able to interact with my consumers effectively and appropriately quickly as I had prior knowledge using Person-First Language. My future career goals are to obtain a Masters in School Psychology with a certificate in Disability Studies to further enhance my passion of working with individuals with disabilities. I would highly recommend this minor to anyone who is passionate about working with individuals with disabilities, but also students who are interested in working in the health or social services fields. Shippensburg has an excellent Disability Studies minor program. 

Isaiah Banks

I picked Disability studies as a minor because I've always had a passion for human services. My major is psychology and I added the minor to get the full perspective of what comes along with having a disability. When I heard about the minor, I felt drawn to it. I have struggled with ADD and OCD my entire life. Learning and understanding why I ran into certain obstacles academically has taught me many things. For the most part, it put everything into perspective. I am now applying for a TSS position in Philadelphia, PA. I would one day like to become a guidance or school counselor. I'll never forget the lessons I've learned from my DS courses. It will forever impact the way I view the world. I strongly recommend all students to take a DS course, especially students who are interested in human services. It will broaden your perspective and change your life. 

Kristen Strohm

"Declaring Disability Studies as my minor was one of the best decisions I’ve made while at Shippensburg! It has enabled me to gain a more diverse education, and become aware of the little things I can do to treat everyone with respect. I am a member of People Involved Equally (P.I.E) on campus, and volunteer at Personal Energy Transportation (P.E.T) in Carlisle. (P.I.E is an organization that brings students and people with varying disabilities together to promote social interaction. P.E.T. in Carlisle is a volunteer organization that creates mobile transportation devices for people with disabilities.)  I plan to peruse a Masters of Social Work after graduation, and eventually work with children who have disabilities while implementing the use of service animals."

Rikki Sargent

I am currently a student in Syracuse University’s Social Psychology Ph.D. Program. At Syracuse University, I am taking graduate level courses, assisting in multiple research  labs on campus, and gaining vital teaching experience by serving as a Teaching Assistant. Shippensburg’s Disability Studies Minor introduced me to the study of a specific marginalized population, People with Disabilities, and fostered my passion for research pertaining to social injustice, ostracism, prejudice, and discrimination. The research experience that I gained through the minor, specifically focusing on accessibility issues, provided me with skills that were vital to my acceptance into a graduate program, and these skills will continue to benefit me as I continue my development as a researcher at Syracuse University. I am very thankful for the opportunities that Shippensburg University provided to me, and would like to specifically acknowledge the Disability Studies Minor for its important role in my undergraduate development.  

Gabrielle Wesby

"My name is Gabrielle Wesby and I chose to minor in disabilities because it is a huge minority group that society seems to ignore. I do not believe in any type of discrimination and if I see people being mistreated or unequal it bothers me to the point that I want to stand up and confront the conflict. If I can make an impact by helping an individual with a disability or educating someone who is not disabled, I will feel like I made a difference. My future plan is to work with veterans who suffer from substance abuse and/or mental disorders. Minoring in disabilities will expose me and educate me more or the population with whom I desire to work."

Kala Nelson

"I chose the disabilities studies minor because my future goal is to work for Guide Dogs For The Blind. I thought it could really help with working with people who are visually impaired. My mother is blind and she has always been my inspiration. I was very excited when hearing about the approval of the minor. It is a great opportunity for anyone who is interested in working with people who have disabilities."

Mariah Rutter

"My name is Mariah Rutter. I chose to minor in Disability Studies because I am a middle level education major. In a world in which inclusion is so prominent, I feel it is essential that new and upcoming teachers understand and familiarize themselves with disability. I feel the minor will benefit me in understanding the broad topic of disability. I think in order to teach students with disabilities effectively, I need to understand the wide array of stigma and difficulties that people with disabilities face each day as a result of our society's view of the term disability. My goal would be to eliminate that stigma within my classroom so that it becomes an equal opportunity for every student to explore the vast knowledge that surrounds us. I feel the minor will aid me in understanding how to accomplish that goal and make my classroom a rewarding place for every student."

Chrissy Connor

"Hello my name is Chrissy Connor. I am a college student with a learning disability. I started my journey with introduction to disabilities studies because I wanted to learn more about the history of disabilities and also about other people like me. Once I was in the class I started to realize I have a passion to work and to be involved with others who have disabilities. I have learned that people with disabilities were treated badly in the past due to things beyond their control. Our society has come a long away but we still have far to go. I hope in my life time I can make a change for the best, no matter how small that change is. People with disabilities are people and they deserve to be treated as an equal." 

Megan Bichard

Megan Bichard graduated Summa Cum Laude in December 2014. Megan graduated as a Psychology Major and Disability Studies Minor. She is currently working as a Mental Health Technician at Roxbury Treatment Center.

As a Mental Health Technician, Megan provides direct care to adolescents and adults with psychological disorders in the psychiatric ward of an inpatient rehabilitation and treatment hospital. Megan expresses that, “Being a psychology major with a disability studies minor has given [her] the background information necessary to do [her] job, as well as helping [her to] develop a better understanding and respect for people with various disabilities, including mental illness.

Contact the Disability Studies Minor Matthew J.C. Cella, PhD, Director, 102 Wright Hall, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257 Phone: 717-477-1193