Rob Thompson has autism and is a past Incight scholar. He talks about what living with autism is like and how Incight has helped him in the past several years. His mother talks about what being a mother of a child with autism is like, and how grateful she is that Incight has stepped into his life.
School: Portland State University
Age: 22 years old
Favorite Extracurricular Activity: Loves watching and attending the Seattle Mariners baseball games
It was a love of baseball that first sparked Steven Lynch’s interest in statistics. Realizing his gift of understanding numbers and mathematical processes, Steven decided to pursue a degree in accounting at Portland State University following graduation from Sherwood High School in 2008.
Growing up as a child with muscular dystrophy, Steven has encountered a wide variety of life experiences in his 22 years. A sucker for the limelight, Steven flourished in the extra attention he received in his wheelchair and looked forward to attending MDA camp every summer. His confident, easy-going demeanor helped him overcome judgment from peers who may have possessed pre-conceived notions or misconceptions regarding his disability. Living without regret, Steven is thankful to have a strong support system in his family and friends and believes that “everything happens for a reason.”
Steven navigated his independence during his college years by hiring full time caregivers to allow him flexibility in transportation, planning social events, and going to class. Though coordinating schedules with a number of people adds a level of complexity to otherwise simple tasks, with enough planning and organization, Steven is able to balance the availability of his assistants to accomplish what he needs.
Steven chose to attend PSU due to its close proximity to home and strong business program. He considers attending college one of his greatest successes to date. “I know it doesn’t sound like much but just the fact that I was able to graduate high school and attend college was a big deal for the situation I’m in.”
If he could give any advice to younger students with disabilities, Steven would recommend asking plenty of questions when you have uncertainties. In his earlier years at PSU, he was often hesitant to address his concerns with professors though he learned through experience that seeking clarification was the best way to achieve success in the classroom. Steven suggests that it is also important to start early when seeking accommodations from the Disability Resource Center, as he once waited to the last minute and had to begin the first day of class without a proper desk.
In addition to attending college, Steven has volunteered his free time working with the Muscular Dystrophy Association and was honored with the Courage Award for his tenure as the Goodwill Ambassador for the state of Oregon in 2005. “I always felt good when I gave back to a worthy cause.”
Following graduation, Steven would like to establish his career by starting his own business or joining an accounting firm, though his dream job would be to work for his favorite baseball team, the Seattle Mariners. Thanks to support from Nike, finding the financial resources to attend college is one less obstacle for Steven to face in pursuing his dreams. We are certain that graduating from Portland State University is just the first of many great successes to come in Steven’s future.
School: Oregon State University
Major: Graphic Design
Favorite College Class: Graphic Design Identities
Current Occupation: Freelance Graphic Designer
Margaret graduated from Oregon State University in June 2011. As a four year Incight scholar, Margaret has given back by contributing her graphic design services in her free time as well as participating as a spokesperson on the student panel at various Incight events.
During her four years at OSU, Margaret was a member of the Women’s Choir, Chamber Choir, Framework Design Lab, and the Accessibility Student Alliance, creating her own branch of the club focusing on off-campus student living. She found these extracurricular activities, as well as an open mind and friendly attitude were the best way to meet people at college, especially during her freshman year. Despite her expectations, Margaret found college was not as challenging as she was warned and had plenty of time to socialize as long as she kept on top of her work and did not get behind.
“Have fun and make the most of your college experience because once it is over, those are years you will never have back,” Margaret suggests to future college students. “I wish I had taken more classes that were of interest to me, outside of my major, even if I had to stay an additional year in order to graduate.”
Margaret chose Oregon State University for its strong graphic design program as well as its proximity to her home in Portland-far enough that she felt she was moving away from home but not so far that she would have to buy a plane ticket to come home for the holidays. Her favorite thing about OSU was the town itself, since Corvallis is a small, college town and everyone is connected through the university.
In addition to receiving the Incight scholarship, which she learned about from her high school counselor, Margaret also received funding from the LPA (Little People of America), CODA (Coalition of Dwarf Advocacy), Vocational Rehab, and a diversity scholarship from OSU to help defray her college expenses.
Today Margaret is living in Portland working part-time as a freelance graphic designer. Her ideal job would be to work on an advertising team for a larger corporation or to become a professional singer. Though it is not always easy to find a job right out of college, we at Incight know Margaret will certainly be successful in all she endeavors. Congratulations Margaret!
School: Western Oregon University
Major: English w/Writing Focus
Favorite College Class: Fiction Writing
Gus is a recent graduate from Western Oregon University and a four year Incight scholar! Now embarking on a new journey to find employment after college, Gus shared with us his reflections on his college experience.
Gus’s favorite thing about college was far and away the social aspect. He was able to meet a really fun group of friends and enjoyed how easy it was to meet people. He was even able to combine his love of writing with his fun with friends by writing a 30 page fantasy novella about their adventures. He hopes one day to turn this story into a full novel.
Several things in particular pleasantly surprised Gus about college. While he expected it to be a very intense learning atmosphere, he ended up appreciating how “laid back and friendly” the people there were. The talent in his theater department really impressed him, and he spent quite a bit of time filling different roles in their productions.
While at Western Oregon, Gus also became a peer advisor and really enjoyed having the chance to be a positive role model. This past summer, he completed his course load with an advanced fiction writing class and also did the tech work for a play on campus. Gus found that his biggest challenge was striking that balance between school work and his increasingly busy social life.
His advice for those about to enter college? It goes by fast. College will be the next 4 to 6 years of your life. Don’t look at it as a barrier to get through to the next step. Enjoy it. And don’t hold too close your first ideas about who you are and what you want. Be willing to re-evaluate. Take advantage of opportunities. If somewhere along the line you change, don’t be afraid of that.
This has been an amazing summer for Incight. We received over 1,700 applications for our scholarship and it has been an extremely difficult task to narrow it down to only 100 individuals that will receive the award. We recruited leaders in the disability community to help us a review and rate the applications. Our review committee all agreed that that there are far more qualified applicants than there are scholarships to grant.
Here are the 2009/2010 Incight Scholars
|Alexenia AldapeEric Allen|
Omer Faruk Demirer
Emily LangMark Larik
Unfortunately Incight cannot support every person that applied for our scholarship but Incight is a resource for every person with a disability. In addition to the scholarships that Incight grants we also have many other programs (employment, independence and networking) to support people with disabilities. You can find more about our programs at incight.org and learn how you can stay connected and benefit from Incight.
We wish all of our applicants the best of luck in the coming year and we hope to stay connected to all of you all!!!
Dear Incight Scholarship Applicant,
The Incight Staff wants to thank everyone who submitted an application for our Scholarship Award. This year we have received 1,636 applications for this coming academic year scholarship.
We are currently in the process of reading each of one of them and selecting which ones to award. Due to the record breaking amount of applications, it is taking us longer than we originally anticipated. Notification of our decisions will be sent out around the beginning of July. We are continually astonished when reading through the applications. Every application is a reflection of amazing self-determination, strength and creativity. It is very difficult to be able to award only to a limited number of applicants. This year’s number of $750 awards will be 100. I hope that you will be among them.
There are approximately 56,000,000 disabled Americans. Only about 18% earn a college degree. The number of full-time gainfully employed disabled is only a little more than 20%.
You and the rest of the 1,573 applicants are on your way to being among the top 18% and 20% respectively, whether or not you receive one of our scholarships. We at Incight offer our congratulations that you are already on your way. If you aren’t sure about what we are suggesting, then please reread your own application: revisit your already demonstrated strengths.
Incight would like to recommend to you that you do all you can to receive as much support as you can from your schools Office for Students with Disabilities and other agencies in your community that exist to serve people with disabilities. This country and especially other people with disabilities can benefit from you succeeding in your own personal career path. As you take care of yourself and as you get service agencies to serve you, then you are helping make our social systems work better. Anyone of us can contribute to making our world a better place.
Incight exists to do our best to help you achieve in your education and in your world of work. Call on us as you will.
The Incight Team
Suite 530 Incight Oregon
Portland, OR 97204 Incight California
73754 Highway 111
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Year: Graduated Spring 2009
School: University of Portland
Major: BA in History and Political Science
Current Occupation: Freelance Writer
Favorite Class: History
Wes first learned about Incight through his counselor at Lake Oswego High School while looking for scholarships to help with tuition. He received his first scholarship in 2005 as a freshman at the University of Portland. Incight renewed the scholarship each succeeding year until his graduation May of 2009 with a BA in History and Political science.
Incight does not stop with just monetary support; Wes was matched with a mentor who assisted him during his search for summer internships in his field of study. During the summer of 2007 Wes had a remarkable internship as staff associate with the office of Mayor Sam Adams when he was City Commissioner.
In the summer of 2008 Wes was chosen for a position on the Student Advisory Council with the United States Business Leadership Network, an organization that works with and supports companies that employ people with disabilities. Wes participated in the 2008 USBLN Annual Conference when it was hosted in Portland, OR and he is looking forward to traveling to Washington D.C. to participate in this years USBLN Annual Conference.
Wes continues to use Incight for support as he is actively seeking for employment after graduating. Wes now acts as an ambassador for Incight, using his success story to encourage others to move beyond their boundaries.
Attention all Incight Scholars!! If you will be graduating this spring or have graduated during the school year, we want to do something special for you. On June 5th we will be gathering at Hotlips Pizza 721 NW 9th Ave # 150, Portland, OR. Please contact Rob for more details.
School: Portland State University
Major: Community Development with a Minor in Business
Estimated Graduation Date: Spring 2008
Favorite Class: GIS + Asset Mapping
Incight Scholar Year: Two
Internship Experience: 2 month Internship at Portland General Electric, 1WTC, in Human Resources- Communications Department.
What accommodations for students with disabilities have you found in colleges that are different from in high school?
One difference between High School and Colleges as far as accommodations; is the amount of lead time necessary. When I was in High School, and a last minute i.e. lunch meeting took place, all I had to do was go to the Deaf Resource Room and inform them that I needed an ASL interpreter, in my junior and senior year of high school, this rule changed. Here at PSU, they prefer a week’s advance notice. And sometimes, a week just isn’t possible; it’s one of the frustrating things about life.
What accommodations do you use and were they the same ones you used in high school?
In high school I had sign language interpreters, also had a class using Typewell, now in college I use CART (Real Time Captioning) due to emphasis on vocabulary, for the less important classes i.e. P.E, or for group meetings I use an interpreter.
What do you wish someone would have told you when transitioning to college?
Something I wish I had done, is gone to Community College first, I think my mother was right, if I had the choice, I would have liked to go to Community College first, in order to do better academically at PSU. But because I won a scholarship, my family jumped the gun, and I immediately went to PSU, skipping the idea of going to community college and then transferring. I wouldn’t re-do it for anything in the world, the friends I’ve made, the experiences I’ve had since coming here, regardless of academic difficulties from time to time, I don’t regret the choice.
What has been your favorite part of college?
My favorite part of college has to be the friends I’ve made, the stuff I’ve learned, the experiences I’ve had and that includes my current situations. I’m president of a student group on campus where I volunteer to teach ASL to those who want to learn. It’s not a huge group, attendance could be better; I do know that demand is there. Overall, PSU and these last 3-4 years have been awesome, but I can’t wait to be done.
Junior at San Diego State University. Majoring in music performance.