We're just the kind of people who like to remain behind the scenes" claimed Mr. Carlson during arecent visit to the RCPD. Yet given their recent generous funding of a new endowment for accessible media, the Carlsons play a visible and valued role in RCPD student success. The endowment funds the Carlson Accessible Media Program (CAMP) and will contribute toward RCPD accessible media production and development.
The Carlsons' interest in supporting the RCPD stems from prior experiences with the office when their daughter was an MSU student. Initially unsure of identifying herself as a person with a disability, Margaret later discovered RCPD accessible media-in her case audio text- through the encouragement of a dorm friend. She graduated with a business degree from MSU and became a proactive, successful individual who asserted herself and encouraged others to accept her as she was. Michael Hudson, RCPD director, highlights the importance in linking students to technological resources in the center: "Margaret, through her personal and professional success, exemplifies what is possible when student talent combines with a strong work ethic and a little help from the RCPD."
For many, the concept ofaccessible media is foreign, but for others it represents a spectrum ofopportunities in audio, video, and digital format. RCPD students utilize technology that ranges from voice-operated computer systems to magnification software to a host of screen readers tailored to the needs of users with visual or learning disabilities. Tom Hwang, Media Access Specialist for the center,identifies how this ever-changing area of technology serves the MSU community."I appreciate that the Carlsons recognize the importance of this type of innovation.Through accessible media we are able to serve students who use all forms of alternative-format production such as e-text, Braille, and audio books." TheCAMP endowment will also energize future development in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) content. Formerly inaccessible to students,this should become a particularly bright point of opportunity.
Services such as these lay the groundwork for many students' success here at MSU, and remain a reason why financial contributions from families like the Carlsons remain vital. "We are delighted that the Carlsons chose to invest in students with disabilities by founding this endowment. CAMP promises to keep MSU at the forefront of accessibility in a myriad of new educational materials from textbooks to video and emerging online tools," says Michael Hudson. Kathleen and Richard Carlson echo this enthusiasm, and firmly believe that students should take advantage of the RCPD as a great resource: "Every student needs the chance to demonstrate his or her abilities; the RCPD helps to facilitate those abilities."