If you’ve ever visited MSU’s campus on a beautiful spring day, you may have been lucky enough to wander past Beaumont Tower at just the right moment to hear the sound of the carillon being played. Nestled in the middle of North Campus, Beaumont Tower and its melodious bells have served as an MSU landmark since 1928. Over the years, the Tower has shadowed many historic events, serving as witness to everything from students demonstrating solidarity to sweethearts seeking sole devotion to one another.
On a campus known for accessibility innovation, Michigan State University’s College of Engineering is a longstanding partner with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD). Working together, RCPD and Engineering faculty facilitate projects that inform students of universal design and the life-changing role that well-designed technology plays in providing access.
Leah Ellis remembers exactly what inspired her. “As a single mother and returning student going back to school, I noticed that when taking all the information in, it was insane. How are all these kids sitting here and looking at all these notes? I couldn’t keep up. I had to figure out a way to separate these notes.” This moment is what influenced Leah to create the Futures Collections, the next generation of educational tools to suit all course needs.
The Bosco MSU-MRS Careers Collaborative is a program that supports MSU students with disabilities seeking high-quality internships and employment opportunities, career exploration through labor market analysis, resume development, interview readiness, professional etiquette, and the improvement of academic-life to work-life transitions.
The RCPD is launching a new signature program designed for students with psychiatric conditions in mind. An increase in students self-identifying with anxiety related conditions, depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental health conditions has highlighted the need for a program to help students navigating the academic environment with psychiatric conditions. The PEER (Promoting Education & Emotional Resilience) Program seeks to empower students to learn about their mental health, develop positive coping skills, and successfully maneuver barriers they face.
When MSU transitioned to online learning in the spring of 2020, the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) sought to create an experience to virtually build a supportive community for students with psychiatric disabilities. Shelby Gombosi and Lindsay Hill, RCPD’s Ability Access Specialists, answered the call and created the Community Groups program, an opportunity for students to connect with other RCPD-registered students and stimulate conversations regarding the prevailing issues affecting their daily lives.
Leadership is about more than just supervising others; it is about growth and elevation. Here at the RCPD, leadership means developing potential while helping students with disabilities reach their full goals. With this responsibility comes the accountability of analyzing, designing, developing, and delivering programs for organizational success, all of which Liz Fuller, the new Leadership Development Specialist, has and will continue to accomplish.
On a mild morning in May that is full of singing birds and blooming flowers, a student in the midst of musing over their final semester approaches Bessey Hall and takes a deep breath. Heading up the pathway to the back entrance, they stop to look at their surroundings, enchanted by the scenic changes. Instead of going inside, they step off the pathway into the round and spacious courtyard seating area beside the building. Their nose is filled with the scent of lavender as they choose a bench and pull out a copy of their commencement speech to pass the time. Behind them on the backrest is a braille plaque which reads, “RCPD, Maximizing Ability and Opportunity, Building Community, Growing Success." This space is the rebirth of opportunity. As they ponder graduation, and the start of a career, they reflect on all that MSU has become: home.
Michigan State University is an institution that strives for diversity and inclusion both at home and abroad.
With the help of the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities and an MSU Creating Inclusive Excellence Grant, one recent MSU graduate was able to contribute to these efforts by designing an improved method of teaching English to students with visual impairments. A recent MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) graduate and Columbian Fulbright scholar, Maritza Medina G. faced difficulties as a blind student when learning phonetics. She received a Tinker Field Research Grant from the MSU Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and wanted to conduct her thesis research on phonetics through assistive technology’s universal design.
With this year marking the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Alex’s Great State Race (AGSR), now celebrating the 7th annual event, is a tradition that continues to honor access and opportunity for people with disabilities. Every year, on the eve of the Michigan State University versus University of Michigan football game, Spartan and Wolverine Army ROTC cadets come together to run 64-miles in honor of Alex Powell, a heroic Spartan who sought his cancer treatment at the U-M Hospital.
2020 has been a year marked with uncertainty, however this wasn’t the first time the AGSR Planning Committee has faced challenges!
The Shamrock 5K Run-Walk-Roll is an annual event that takes place on St. Patrick’s Day Weekend. Facilitated by Tower Guard, the sophomore honor society that serves the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD), the Shamrock 5k has traditionally been the largest fundraising event the group holds for the RCPD each year.
Tradition is a foundation of Michigan State University. Despite all the uncertainty, cancelled events, and difficult times of the past few months, the MSU Homecoming tradition remains an important facet of the Spartan experience. For the past 70 years, having the opportunity to represent MSU as a member of the Homecoming Court has been considered one of the highest honors for graduating seniors. The members of the 2020-2021 Homecoming Court were carefully selected from a highly qualified group of candidates and we are excited to share three special individuals with the Spartan community – Jasmine J., Kellie W., and Jordan P.
Neman H. credits much of his success at MSU to the MSU/MRS Bosco Careers Collaborative. Neman had interest in taking the LSAT and eventually pursuing his law degree and was referred to the Careers Collaborative for assistance meeting his career goals. Neman worked with the MRS Counselor on resume writing, setting himself up for success, learning about resources available to him, assistance with the LSAT, career preparation and help with job prospects.
Every year, many MSU students look forward to spending their summer break attending an Education Abroad program, visiting exciting new countries, and learning about different cultures and languages. This year, however, the COVID-19 pandemic caused all education abroad trips to be canceled or postponed. One MSU student, Elaine P., however, did not allow her summer plans to be rearranged.
As RCPD Assistant Director for Assistive Technology Innovation, Leslie Johnson oversees an exciting opportunity to enhance the experiences of students, staff, and faculty on campus. Since taking on this role at the beginning of 2020, she has empowered new opportunities for MSU students and employees, using a wide range of technologies to maintain an accessible environment.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, universities across the nation have shifted to remote instruction. In order to ensure that students with disabilities retain equal access to the same content as their peers, it is vital that online environments remain just as accessible as the physical environments were.
For 48 years, the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) has been maximizing ability and opportunity for members of the Spartan community and beyond. In February 2020, RCPD was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, celebrating decades of creativity supporting community advancement and leadership in the area of diversity. This award was presented to RCPD Director Michael Hudson and staff during the MSU Excellence in Diversity Awards (EIDA) program sponsored by the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.
Every year for one week in June, Big Tech titan Apple Inc. hosts the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) showcasing new and innovative technologies for software developers of all skill levels. The event is a chance for attendees to gain early access to the future of iOS through diverse presentations delivered by Apple employees as well as hands-on experience with Apple engineers. One such engineer is Jordyn Castor, an MSU Alumna who began her career at Apple as an intern in 2015 shortly after receiving her undergraduate degree in Computer Science.