Student Disability Services Alumni
Moving Forward, Achieving Success
Ryan Alsman - Finance, Management Information Systems (2014), & Master of Business Administration (2018)
Ryan is a two-time Butler graduate, having returned to complete his MBA after completing his undergraduate studies in business in 2014. He credits his Butler education for preparing him for life post-graduation, highlighting that Butler’s “emphasis on experiential learning, internships, and professional development has led me to be significantly more prepared for a full-time role than many of my peers.” Ryan feels that utilizing SDS during his time as a Butler student helped to simplify his conversations with professors about accommodations he needed in the classroom. Ryan is currently working as a Senior Financial Analyst at Salesforce.
Ryan Kelly - Majors in Finance and Risk Management & Insurance
Ryan correlates his time as a student at Butler with his confidence in who he is and who he wants to be: “Butler supplied the tools to allow me to get to where I wanted to be in the future…and had a strong focus on teaching students how to learn and how to apply the knowledge you gain to your everyday life.” Ryan feels that working with SDS for accommodations as a student further improved his ability to be a good student and “taught me how to have a balance in my life.” He met with a disability specialist freshman year who “went over my schedule step by step. This taught me how to be more effective with my time,” and he used those skills throughout his four years at Butler. After graduating in 2016, Ryan moved to Ferdinand, Indiana and worked briefly for the Supplemental Income Department at the Social Security Administration. He is now a Pricing and Promotions Supervisor with MasterBrand Cabinets, having received a promotion to that position after only one year with the company.
Katey Kelleher - Communication Sciences & Disorders, Special Education Mild Intervention Minor, 2017
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.
Meg McIlvenna - Actuarial Science Major with a minor in Business
Meg feels that Butler University prepared her for life after graduation in more ways than one. She attributes the education she received at Butler to her preparedness for both her professional life and adult personal life, but also to her confidence in and understanding of her passions. Because of this confidence, Meg felt prepared to step into a multitude of different career paths.
Meg credits her use of services at SDS for some of her success, stating “I know that utilizing SDS not only aided the GPA I feel proud of today, but made me feel confident in my abilities to conquer college. SDS gave me a comfortable and quiet space to take exams, ask questions, or receive extra help in certain situations. They have helped me feel comfortable asking for help.”
After graduation in 2018, Meg started her career as a Cyber Account Manager for an insurance wholesale brokerage firm in Chicago, but she feels that the Butler community is still with her no matter where she goes: “Butler truly cultivates a community of C.A.R.E on a worldwide scale…the Butler community reaches beyond the Butler campus, because you can always find a fellow dawg within any city to connect.” Meg is currently studying for her producer license to keep up her education within the insurance agency, and feels that her background in actuarial science has been a real benefit in aiding her team and acquiring new accounts. “I was full of pride to be a student at Butler in my time there, but more importantly, I am honored to be a lifetime Butler graduate.”
Melanie (Shrontz) Zegar - Health Science & a Master of Physician Assistant Studies, 2018
Melanie credits her time at Butler and the challenges she encountered as a student for preparing her to handle real-life challenging situations. Indeed, she feels that the Physician Assistant program truly prepared her well for taking her national board certification exam; she passed that exam on the first attempt after graduation. Melanie utilized SDS accommodations for all six years of her program at Butler, and feels that doing so really helped her perform to the best of her ability on exams. “SDS also helped teach me to advocate for myself as a person with a disability.” In instances where she needed some additional support, “SDS rose to the challenge and helped advocate for me to attain the resources I needed to be successful.” She fondly remembers her role as a founding member of the SDS Student Council (now morphed into the honor society Delta Alpha Pi), as one of her favorite SDS experiences. As a member of that council, Melanie had the opportunity to help decrease stigma around the idea of disability and raise awareness of SDS services at Butler. Melanie adds, “I feel so fortunate to have had the support of SDS since I was a freshman at Butler. They practically watched me grow up. I truly would not be where I am today without them.” After graduating with her Master’s in 2018, Melanie got married and moved to Cincinnati with her husband. She recently started a new job as a Hospitalist at Atrium Medical Center with the Premier Health Network.
Catherine Geanon - Psychology with minors in Chemistry & Spanish (2015), & Master of Physician Assistant Studies (2019)
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!”
Lauren Koester - Communication Sciences & Disorders Major with a Minor in Business Administration (2019)
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 fulltime 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.
Communication Sciences & Disorders Major with a Minor in Spanish, 2019
Cecilia Moore feels that her experiences at Butler prepared her to have the tools and knowledge that she’ll need to build upon in the future.
“The faculty at Butler were always willing to help me and showed a genuine interest in my learning and success,” Cecilia says. “Butler gave me opportunities to become a leader,” and she feels those experiences helped her learn valuable lessons she can use in the future.
Cecilia considers her time utilizing SDS at Butler a helpful factor in her academic achievements, stating, “It allowed me to flourish and continue to be a strong, successful student. Each semester, SDS helped work with me individually to get my textbooks on tape and allowed me to take exams in SDS, which helped tremendously.”
After graduating Cum Laude from Butler in May 2019, Cecilia plans to utilize the knowledge and tools Butler helped her to develop as she heads to Purdue University to pursue a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology.
Molly Beier – Psychology with Chemistry minor, Pre-Medicine track (2020)
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 Bogart – Marketing (2020)
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.
Sarah Braunstein - Multilingual Studies (Chinese focus) major with a Strategic Communication: PR & Advertising Minor (2020)
Sarah says the entire spectrum of Butler supports and opportunities helped to prepare her for her post-undergraduate life. She feels that many of her core classes were invaluable in terms of how they taught her to think and interact with her peers. The extra-curricular opportunities she participated in helped spark “a passion for leadership” and gave her an “outlet to affect positive change.” Lastly, Sarah believes that “Butler taught me what it means to be a part of community and how learning comes from everywhere, not just your professors, but also your peers.”
Sarah believes that connecting with SDS for accommodations was, in her words, “absolutely influential in my success as a Butler student.” She believes that SDS helped her to adapt to her college course load and be more successful taking exams. “SDS gave me a quiet place and offered me an environment where I could succeed academically despite my disability. Additionally, the work that SDS does to educate about disabilities helped me to feel more confident in sharing my experiences and understanding that just because I learn differently than others doesn't mean I can't succeed,” Sarah explained.
After graduation in spring 2020, Sarah headed off to graduate school at IU Bloomington, where she is pursuing an M.S. Ed in Higher Education and Student Affairs.
Alli Marshall – Biology (2020)
Alli appreciates the breadth of education she received from Butler. Her course load ranged from her core biology classes to elective classes like anthropology, what she calls “a highly diverse set of classes.” Being registered with SDS for academic accommodations helped support Alli in her undergraduate studies, particularly on exams. “It gave me time to think through problems and answer them clearly and precisely. Having extended time on my exams made a world of difference in my academic life.”
Shortly after graduation in spring 2020, Alli got married in June 2020. She is taking a year off from school to apply to graduate schools. For her next venture, Alli hopes to obtain a doctorate of physical therapy.
Ellen Rispoli – Psychology & Elementary Education double major (2020)
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!”