Student Disability Services

SDS Butler Alumni: Moving Forward, Achieving Success

Brendan Flanagan: Success on the Field and in the Classroom ~ Show Story

Shortly after graduating from Butler in 2007, Brendan was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Through the skills of an amazing team of doctors from New York University Medical Facility, and the support of his family and friends, Brendan made a full recovery from surgery and enrolled at Mount St. Mary's in Maryland to pursue his Masters in Elementary and Special Education while using his remaining athletic eligibility to play varsity lacrosse. Brendan says, "To me it was the best of both worlds. I finished my lacrosse career by making the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference playoff and All-Academic team. And I finished at the top of my class at the Mount."

Brendan further shares, "Butler prepared me very well for graduate level classes. I will admit after being part of the close knit environment of the School of Education at Butler it was hard at first to feel like I fit in at Mount St. Mary's. But since I have always been a student who does not hesitate to ask questions, staff and faculty eventually got to know me very well at the Mount too! "

After graduation, Brendan accepted a full time position teaching fourth grade at St. John Regional Catholic School in Frederick, Maryland specializing in science and reading. Brendan is also the head coach of a high school varsity lacrosse team. Brendan, whose own academic challenges are in reading and writing,  shares, " I take pride in the fact that not one of my students tested below grade level in reading in recent tests and that was not the case when the school year began. Being in the classroom is a natural for me. The students are comfortable with me and respect who I am and what I am there to do."

Brendan enjoys the accomplishment of running full marathons. Recently after completing the Disney World Marathon, Brendan asked his girlfriend, Jennifer (she is also a marathon runner) to marry him at the finish line. Brendan shares: "I am very happy to say she said yes."  "Butler was the right place for me to get my training to be a teacher. A New Yorker in Indiana, it worked for me."

Ashley Caveda: In Pursuit of Excellence ~ Show Story

Ashley Caveda, a May 2006 graduate of Butler, began her career by working for two years at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic in Indianapolis as a paralegal and Spanish interpreter/translator. In 2008, Ashley accepted a fellowship in the nonfiction genre in Ohio State University's MFA program. As a second-year student with an assistantship, Ashley is teaching English 110 (freshmen English) and this summer will teach Introduction to Nonfiction to undergrad English majors/minors. 

Travel includes an upcoming trip to Washington, D.C. for the Associated Writing Programs Conference and trips this past summer to NYC, Philly and Madison, WI. Ashley, a wheelchair user, shares, "I will spend the next year and a half working on my thesis, a memoir about my life, focusing on how my disability has affected me socially, physically, romantically, educationally, and spiritually." 

Ashley lives in an apartment on campus independently. Ashley tells us, "I plan to return to Indiana when I  graduate in May 2012 to look for a teaching or editing positions - unless of course I strike it big and become the next J.K. Rowling!"

Justin Ogden – A Commitment to Achievement and Service ~ Show Story

Justin Ogden is a native of Indiana. He received a dual bachelor's degree in political science and philosophy, with honors, from Butler University in 2004, and is expecting to complete his master's in public affairs (MPA) from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, with a certificate in Non-Profit Management. Since receiving his undergraduate degree, Justin continues to be gainfully employed as the Appellate Paralegal of the Criminal Division and a legal assistant for the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Justin is actively engaged within the Hoosier community and serves in various capacities to meet its needs as a volunteer. Justin's work in disabilities advocacy began as an individual born with a disability who recognized the ardent need to advocate for himself and others.  He served as a board member and President of Hear Indiana, a chapter of the Alexander Graham Bell Association from 2007 to 2010, and is involved with the Indy Rotary club as a committee member of the World Service Committee. In 2011, Justin is expected to graduate from the Partners in Policymaking class.

Justin and his wife, Maya, and dog Motown, live in Zionsville, Indiana.

Nicholas Goldsberry: A Higher Calling ~ Show Story

Nicholas Goldsberry, a May 2009 graduate of Butler, is currently studying at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. One of the largest seminaries in the world, it houses one of the largest theological libraries in the United States. Nicholas, with the assistance of Disability Services at Southern Baptist, is able to get nearly all his textbooks electronically from the publishers much as he did while at Butler. Nicholas, who is blind, uses screen reading software to read his electronic text books.

Nicholas is pursuing a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Church Ministries and plans on obtaining a Ph.D. in the areas of New Testament, Systematic Theology, and Christian Missions. His future goals include teaching at a seminary or a secular university, as well as becoming an ordained minister in the Christian church.

Tanis Miller: A Law Career in Big Sky Country ~ Show Story

Tanis Miller Holm graduated from Butler University in 2007 with hopes of pursing a Juris Doctorate degree.  Tanis says that the process of taking the LSAT, applying to law schools, and preparing for the transition to graduate school was a difficult one. Tanis shares, "With my greatest academic challenges being in reading and writing, I was worried about how I would fare in a law school environment." Tanis considers her decision to attend  the University of Montana Law School the perfect choice for her because it provided the individual attention she needed in a state where she could pursue her love for the outdoors.  

Tanis credits her  ability to succeed in law school to the help she received at Butler by working closely with Butler Student Disability Services. Tanis shares, "The staff at Butler helped me analyze my goals and capitalize on my strengths while helping me to develop tools to succeed and maximize my potential. "  Tanis confides, "Although I struggled in law school with reading and writing, I continued to seek help and accommodations, and I worked long hours to adapt to the difficulties I faced and the amount of work that law school required. I was determined to succeed in law school and to pursue a career that not only interested me, but one that would continue to challenge me." Tanis is currently an attorney with a law firm focused on the representation of businesses in employment and commercial law, with a concentration on discrimination litigation. Tanis takes pride in knowing that she did not choose an easy route because of her learning deficiencies.

Nick Luchtefeld: Going Beyond Your Limits ~ Show Story

Nick Luchtefeld sums up his life in the quote, "Know your limits only to break your limits." While at Butler, Nick faced many challenges, especially in areas involving reading and writing, so when he graduated with a degree in marketing in May 2009 he felt proud of his hard work paying off. The individual attention he received from Student Disability Services (SDS) played a large role in his success, but he also attributes his achievements to having the self-awareness to know when to communicate for assistance. In fact, Nick considers his communication and interpersonal skills to be one of his greatest strengths, which he now uses on a daily basis professionally.

After graduating, Nick accepted an internship at Indiana Higher Education Telecommunication Systems (IHETS) which quickly turned into a full-time job as an Account Manager. Now, as the Manager of Customer Service and IndianaNet at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce he loves helping others each day on the job. To continue lending a helping hand, Nick hopes to give back to Butler by serving as a resource for SDS students as they learn how to navigate the professional world with a learning disability, including sharing his personal experiences of disclosing his disability to employers.

Outside of work, Nick enjoys setting personal goals such as the completion of his first marathon in 2011. Always trying to go beyond his limits, he plans to continue running marathons in various cities around the country. It is the academic, professional, and personal goals Nick consistently sets that he attributes his success to, and he is always looking for his next "limit" to break!