Student Disability Services Alumni
Moving Forward, Achieving Success
Luke graduated from the College of Education, focusing his undergraduate degree in recreation and sports studies, as well as minoring in diverse learners. “From day one I was getting field experiences and learning opportunities that I never ever imagined getting so soon.” Luke recalled, “There were ample opportunities for hands-on learning and professors willing to help and empower me to be my best self. Looking back, I was able to hone my skills and narrow down my focus faster than I would have thought.” Luke experienced some adversity and health changes during his college years, and credits SDS for assisting him. “SDS was the place that helped navigate those changes and supported me with everything I went through…I was always provided with an ear to listen and support to learn and take steps forward… Thanks to SDS and Kathleen, I have grown into a person that feels good about themselves and feels confident they can do anything they want.”
Luke is pursuing a career in education, using his Butler education and experiences to explore the specialty career options available to him. He is also looking into graduate programs to further his education. “With the help of Butler, I was able to become an independent, knowledgeable person with the experience to walk into any workplace environment and feel capable and confident to succeed.”
Allan discovered his passion for research psychology while attending Butler University. “The breadth of courses available in my studies really helped me. Professors in the psych department are always trying to find ways to assist and expand our understanding.” As a registered student in SDS, Allan felt that “none of that would have been possible without SDS offices, who were always there to help and provide a comfortable and safe atmosphere for all students.” He credits SDS for providing another resource to seek assistance from staff that understand his unique circumstances.
Allan plans to attend graduate school, where he will pursue a masters of science in general experimental psychology.
As a student in the College of Education, Hannah feels that Butler prepared her for her career by providing individual support and plenty of opportunities to apply her learning to real world experiences. Hannah feels she “was able to successfully apply study techniques and was set up for success in each of [her] classes.” She also noted that SDS staff “made sure that [she] was doing ok each semester and had everything [she] needed, both at Butler and during my time abroad.”
Hannah will begin teaching in fall of 2022 as a middle school reading and writing resources teacher. She will also be married in summer of 2022.
Rachel experienced incredible professional and personal development as a student, crediting Butler for teaching her how to persevere, enjoy lifelong learning, overcome obstacles, and advocate for herself as a person with a disability. “Utilizing SDS during my time as a Butler student was imperative to my success.” Rachel recalled, “SDS supported me in getting the accommodations that I needed before I officially moved to campus with placement exams all the way to commencement, and everything in between. The accommodations provided by SDS made it possible for me to receive such an incredible undergraduate education. SDS staff were always eager and willing to help to find ways to accommodate my disability in classes that required additional planning and support.” Rachel also appreciated the disability community, stating, “SDS’s honors society, Delta Alpha Pi, provided a welcoming environment that helped me become more comfortable discussing my disability with others, especially explaining accommodation needs to professors.”
When thinking about the future, Rachel said, “No matter where life brings me post-graduation, I know that the knowledge and skills that I have acquired from my time at Butler will be instrumental in aiding in my success.”
Lindsay found her passions and purpose through her classes, clubs, and campus involvement while attending Butler University. As a member of SDS’s academic honor society for people with disabilities, Delta Alpha Pi (DAP), Lindsay “learned so much about the experience of disability, was able to share [her] own experiences with others, and really began to grow into [her] role as a disability advocate for acceptance.” This experience even inspired her senior thesis! Lindsay felt that SDS was a comforting place, supporting her learning and success, noting “Every staff member is welcoming, kind, and genuine.” She shared, “I have really grown in my personal confidence, as well as my own capabilities, throughout my undergraduate career and SDS’s support and resources have been so helpful for me in that process.”
Lindsay is pursuing her doctorate in Occupational Therapy in Boston with plans to become a Pediatric Occupational Therapist.
Experiencing Butler as a graduate student, Jenna feels that Butler prepared her “to be a professional, competent and compassionate healthcare provider in [her] career as a PA.” She credits the faculty and staff in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences who supported her growth and development, both professionally and personally. “Utilizing SDS during my graduate education has been a huge blessing. The environment they have created is extremely supportive and encouraging! I was able to be myself there and do my best work without feeling different or less-than.”
Jenna accepted a position as the first PA at a Christian clinic in Toledo, Ohio. She works in family medicine and women’s health, focusing on under-resourced communities.
Molly feels that the support that’s offered at Butler has had the most impact on her throughout her four years as a student. For Molly, that support came from a variety of sources: “The teachers, mentors, and friends I met throughout my four years challenged me to be the best I could be. Despite the challenging aspects of Butler, there was an immense amount of support. My professors reminded me that I was capable and more than just a letter grade. My mentors taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to and my friends picked me up when I was down while encouraging me to push forward. Butler gave me strength and confidence that I will take with me wherever I go next.”
At first, Molly was nervous about how to approach professors other university departments about the support she would need as a result of her diagnosis. Working with SDS helped to make these communications easier. “The letters SDS sends to our professors with our accommodations meant more to me than I can express and allowed for a more open environment.” Like many SDS students, Molly only needed to utilize the office occasionally, but she says “it was so helpful to know that the services and kind people were there for me if I ever did need it. SDS sort of felt like my guardian angel during college that I knew was there for me if I needed extra help.”
After graduating from Butler in spring 2020, Molly will next be receiving a masters in Biomedical Sciences at Marian University in the 2020-2021 academic year. She plans to start medical school in the fall 2021 semester.
Lauren credits the Lacy School of Business’s requirement for two internships for preparing her for a fulfilling career in marketing. “My amazing professors went above and beyond what is expected to get me to feeling like I can handle being out in the world.” Outside of LSB, Lauren appreciated the way Butler’s liberal arts education allowed her to explore courses outside her major like ecology, music, and astronomy. “I feel ready to be in the world because I’ve been exposed to what is out there,” she says.
For Lauren, being registered with SDS provided her with peace of mind as she learned to navigate a brand-new medical diagnosis just before the start of her junior year. “The first semester back, I tried to handle everything on my own and it was not easy.” The next semester, Lauren decided to see how SDS might be able to help. “The simple act of them sending a letter to my professors explaining my disease better than I could helped us all have a little peace of mind. I knew I never had to worry about having to explain myself.”
In her final semester at Butler, Lauren had the opportunity to work an internship remotely, serving as a marketing intern at Council on Aging of Elkhart County. After graduation, she was able to extend that internship for an additional semester so she can continue to gain experience there while searching for a full-time position for early 2021.
Ellen credits SDS for helping her to “feel seen and validated.” As is the case for many college students with disabilities, Ellen expressed that “on the outside I appear to be extremely competent and high functioning and so my professors didn’t always understand why I needed extra time on exams, or additional help on papers. SDS helped me advocate for myself with those professors as well.”
After graduation, Ellen started a position with an Indiana-based nonprofit called Indiana Lifeline, where she manages cases of families at risk of being broken up by child protective services. She’ll head to graduate school in a few years, where she hopes to pursue a school psychology degree. Ultimately, Ellen says, “I want to help students identify and cope with disabilities like mine!”
Lauren credits The Butler Way as an overarching embodiment of how Butler prepared her for her future beyond campus. The Butler Way “demands commitment, denies selfishness, accepts reality, yet seeks improvement every day while putting the team above self.” Lauren feels Butler has taught her “the importance of being committed whole heartedly to classes, organizations, and friendships. This helped me learn how to organize and manage my time as a full-time college student while working and participating in internships.” She feels that the Butler community of care taught her from her very first days on campus that being part of the Bulldog family is about “continuing to give back and advocate for others.”
Lauren credits the SDS office for providing opportunities to do just that, first by serving as an SDS Student Council representative and later as a founding member of the honor society Delta Alpha Pi. In these roles, she worked with SDS to find new ways to put a spotlight on disability advocacy and reduce stigma. “My involvement with SDS has provided leadership development to help prepare me to be civically mind and lean into the conversations to become active participants in life.”
Lauren believes that Butler has provided an important perspective that she’ll take with her in life: “No matter where we go in life, we have a support system that grows and develops with us as me move through different stages. Even though my Butler collegiate experience is done, my Butler journey is just beginning. I can take these lessons I have learned and the Butler Way and make a difference in this world. If anyone can spark change it is a bulldog. Like always, go dawgs.”
After graduating from Butler in May 2019, Lauren secured a summer internship through her participation in the Workforce Recruitment program, a government-sponsored program that emphasizes hiring students and recent graduates with disabilities for federal government positions. In fall 2019, she started working on her Master’s in Public Health with a focus on law, policy, and services at Brown University.
Katey Kelleher credits Butler as the main reason for her success in graduate school. After graduating cum laude from Butler with her undergraduate degree in 2017, Katey entered a master’s program in Speech Pathology at Miami of Ohio University and graduated with her degree in May 2019.
Katey explained that the Butler environment in her undergraduate experience really helped prepare her for graduate school and beyond, explaining that “classwork and extracurriculars are the reason why I became so organized and passionate about the work I want to do! Butler fostered my love of volunteering and service.” Katey has continued to grow that love throughout her graduate experience, spending time teaching American Sign Language (ASL) to Miami students, as well as completing clinical rotations at a hospital in Chicago and a pediatric outpatient clinic in Cincinnati, and a school for the Deaf in Cincinnati.
She credits SDS for helping her feel accepted on campus, explaining that SDS “truly made me feel like a vital part of the Butler community. They helped me to advocate for my disability to professors and other students on campus.”
Katey recently accepted her dream job, a position as a Speech Language Pathologist at the Indiana School for the Deaf, where she is really grateful to have the opportunity to utilize her ASL skills to make a positive difference for kids in the Indianapolis community.
Catherine attended Butler for her undergraduate degree and stayed to complete her Master’s after she was accepted in the PA program. She feels that her undergrad program allowed her to grow through “real-life experiences, community involvement, student employment and research experience.” Later, as a graduate student, she had the opportunity for “hands-on and clinical experiences pertinent to my future career as a PA.” Catherine did not register with the SDS office until she was in her graduate program. “I often took several exams a week in the office which provided me a calm, safe and inviting spice in which to take them,” she says. “I saw an improvement in grades and academic performance as a result of my time in SDS for which I will always be grateful!”