In May of 2021, fifteen students with intellectual and developmental disabilities will graduate from college across University of Northern Colorado (UNC), Arapahoe Community College (ACC) and University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS).
Isabelle, studies Healthcare at UNC
Growing up, Isabelle knew she wanted to do something more with her education after graduating from high school. She chose UNC as it gave her the opportunity to live away from home and gain independence, but was still in Colorado. Isabelle studies Healthcare and hopes to be a life coach after graduating. "My focus is really on parents of kids with disabilities. There wasn’t really like a source like that for my mom when I was younger.” In her free time, Isabelle's favorite on-campus activities included club swimming and a religious group. She is taking classes fully online during the pandemic and misses being able to connect with others on campus, but has enjoyed the time with family.
Dylan, studies Exercise Science at ACC
Dylan's story is similar to many of this year's seniors. Upon graduating from high school, there was not an option to go to college. With the support of IN!, in 2016, three colleges opened their doors to students with IDD. It was then that Dylan had the opportunity to shift from a day program and enroll in college. Dylan is studying Exercise Science and has had a few work experiences that led to his ultimate career goal to be a group fitness instructor. "I worked with a personal trainer and I said this is something I want to do." Dylan has also co-led group fitness classes at a local gym and works at the on-campus fitness center. In his free time he is a competitive runner, having completed several marathons. Dylan's advice for high school students with disabilities thinking about college is: "Be patient. In time it will come around."
Ryan, studies Health Sciences at UCCS
Ryan decided to attend UCCS to learn more and make college aged friends. He is studying Health Sciences and hopes to work in a hospital setting. Going to college led Ryan to live in an apartment with roommates, something he hadn't realized was possible before college. Throughout his time at UCCS, he has successfully managed balancing a work schedule, school, and social life. One of his favorite classes was Oral Communication in the Workplace. He has been able to put what he learned in classes into practice through employment with the Ent Center for Performing Arts and an internship at UCHealth. "For high school students who are thinking about going to college, my advice is focus on yourself and go."
Dreams Do Come True
The college dreams of these UNC students are coming true in May! You can help open doors for even more students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.