29 Sep 2010

Ball State Senior Patrick Mautner shares his thoughts about how access and inclusion at one of America’s top campuses is helping prepare him to enter the job market.

For those of us fortunate to call a college campus home, fall is a particularly special time of year. The possibilities of a new academic year seem endless.

As a senior at Ball State University, I am making plans to graduate. Like most seniors, I’m doing all I can to make myself marketable to future employers. As a student with a disability, I think I’ll be able to hold my own in this very competitive job market.

Why? Ball State’s accessible and inclusive environment is helping prepare me to make meaningful contributions to our economy.

One of the main reasons I chose Ball State was because of the Disabled Student Development program and Director Larry Markle. I met with him when I was narrowing down my choices, and I just thought he had the perfect attitude and philosophy toward students with disabilities. I knew he would be a good mentor to have during my time at the school.

I see the Americans with Disabilities Act at work nearly every day at BSU. I’ve found that it is one of the most accessible campuses for students with disabilities. It has become accessible to the point where it’s almost uncommon NOT to see a student with a disability every day. Along with that, I think the best part is the fact that everyone is OK with it. I don’t think I have ever seen a single incident where a student or professor singled out a person with a disability. I do make professors aware of my situation ahead of time and they work with me privately if needed, but aside from that it seems that I am treated just like everyone else on campus.

Technological advances – especially the internet and its capabilities – are essential in connecting people with disabilities to our communities. At BSU, we’re on the cutting edge of inclusive and accessible technologies. I personally have benefited from accessing lesson plans on my professors’ websites. Texting and email/internet access has greatly helped me, due to my hearing loss.

People with disabilities have to deal with countless challenges that crop up during the course of our daily lives. The ability to address those challenges and keep moving forward will serve me well in the workplace. Armed with my education from and experiences with Ball State, I’m up for the challenges and opportunities that the future holds.

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