Meet the graduating students!
In May, Colorado will celebrate our first five students with intellectual/developmental disabilities to graduate from schools offering inclusive higher education pathways. One more will follow in December. Mia, Nick, and Ashley were in the first cohort of students receiving supports from the Office of Inclusive Services at University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), established under Senate Bill 196 in 2016; they will graduate in May. Kacie, Jazmine, and Vince will be the first cohort of students receiving services from Elevate at Arapahoe Community College (ACC) to graduate from ACC.
Ashley, studies Advocacy and Human Services at UCCS
Ashley’s commitment to making sure that people with disabilities have a strong voice in their life has led her to working an internship focused on the work of self advocates at The Arc in Colorado Springs. Ashley has worked to develop her own public speaking skills through many communications classes at UCCS. While Ashley’s career commitment will keep her working at The Arc, her outside interests in fashion and the theater give her a full life with many outside activities.
Click here to learn more about Ashley.
Jazmine, studies Nursing Assistance at ACC
White woman wearing nursing scrubs smiles at camera
Jazmine's dedication to caring for others has fueled her passion for the nursing field. She is currently interviewing for a job with Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. During her time at ACC, Jazmine joined the National Honors Society of Leadership and Success, furthering her leadership abilities. In her free time Jazmine can be found spending time with her family, friends, and boyfriend, going to movies and out to dinner. She also loves walking and caring for her dog, Sugar. Jazmine will graduate from Arapahoe Community College with a Nurse Aide Certificate and Comprehensive Higher Education Certificate.
Click here to learn more about Jazmine.
Kacie, studies Communication at ACC
Kacie's love of reading and learning drove her to enroll in college. At ACC, Kacie helped start the Elevate Club, dedicated to raising awareness of what it is like to be a student with a disability in college. She interned with a local coffee shop and now works in the college library. She has a special place in her heart for shelter animals. Upon graduating in May, she hopes to transfer to a university to obtain her Bachelor's degree. Kacie hopes to work as a librarian and inspire children to love learning.
Mia, studies American Sign Language and Education at UCCS
Mia has gone from avid coffee drinker at UCCS to barista! Mia is committed to making sure she takes advantage of all the opportunities college has to offer. Mia works two jobs on campus; one as a barista and another working for the Human Services office. Mia’s commitment to a career in sign language and education has led her to hold two different internships teaching young children to learn ASL. Mia has mastered all that it takes to live on campus! You will often find Mia taking Hip Hop classes at the Wellness Center or hanging out with friends and her boyfriend.
Nick, studies Photojournalism at UCCS
Nick’s commitment to inclusion and desire to go to college led him to be among the first students with Down syndrome to attend UCCS. Nick began taking classes at UCCS before inclusive services were established at UCCS. His dynamic personality and commitment to learning allowed Nick to create great relationships with professors and his fellow students, which paved the way for the creation of the Office of Inclusive Services at UCCS. In addition to being a full-time college student, Nick has two jobs. His job at a local car wash allows him to dive into his love of cars and machines and his work at PEAK Parent Center gives him the opportunity to support those engaged in disability advocacy and inclusion.
Vince, studies Music at ACC (graduating in December)
In high school, as Vince looked at different colleges, he made the decision that Elevate (the inclusive service office at ACC) may serve his needs best. Thus, he began his career as a college student. Throughout his time at ACC, Vince has continued to develop his passion for theater. Some of his favorite classes include Film and Choir. Vince has used his outgoing personality to give back to the campus community. He has held leadership positions with Student Government and the Elevate Club. Upon graduation, Vince plans to transfer to Red Rocks Community College and enroll in their theater department. His dream is to act, sing, and dance in musicals.
Note: In light of the pandemic, Vince has deferred his graduation to December. We will still be celebrating him as one of the first graduates.
Check out the below videos highlighting the graduates!
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Note: IN! does not provide any direct support to students. We are a non-profit that advocates for the establishment of inclusive supports on college campuses. Supports are provided by each university's staff and students graduate from their respective institute of higher education (i.e. Office of Inclusive Services at UCCS, Elevate at ACC, GOAL at UNC).