Brian Eckstein Receives the First Harris-Rose Outstanding Alumnus Award
For many years DSD has recognized a Ball State alumnus with a disability who has been successful in his or her post-BSU life to receive the Outstanding Alumnus Award. Three years ago, the award was renamed the Richard Harris Outstanding Alumnus Award in honor of the man who is most responsible for the reputation that BSU has in serving students with disabilities. This year, upon Richard Harris's request, a second name has been added to the award to honor Bruce Rose, an alumnus who had a significant impact on access at Ball State.
This year's recipient of the Harris-Rose Outstanding Alumnus Award was Brian Eckstein. Brian has been visu¬ally impaired since birth. He was born with bilateral cata¬racts and irreparable damage to the optic nerve. He has also experienced two kidney transplants, one of which was from his father in 1983 and the other from Lee Ann Mengelt (a family friend) in 2004. He is a recent cancer survivor who underwent chemotherapy this past fall.
He graduated from Ball State in 1995 with a BS in General Studies and a Minor in Music Theory. While a student at BSU, Brian was a winner of the BIC Products award. He got involved in WBST radio as a freshman where he started out as an unpaid announcer for four hours on Saturday nights and eventually worked his way up through many student positions. Brian is currently the Production Manager for Indiana Public Radio. He has won a number of awards for his production mate¬rial including several Associated Press broadcast awards as well as numerous ADDY awards. Since 1999 he has supervised students at IPR and has given on-campus jobs to nearly 50 Ball State students, many of whom have gone on to full time careers in radio or television.
Brian is a musician and a composer as well. In 2002 the Muncie Symphony Orchestra and the White River Youth Choir performed his work, Community Fan Fare. Brian has also been selected to compose the theme music for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Muncie & Delaware County. He is an active member of St. Francis Catholic Church where he is a piano player as well as a composer. After accepting the award, Brian said, "Richard, you are a visionary. You are the reason we are all hare. Ball State is a place where our success is determined by our ability, not the limits of our disabilities. That is why I am so proud to be here." Faculty and Staff Recognized for Ensuring Access
The entire campus is responsible for providing access for students with disabilities. The ACCESS Awards are given to five members of the Ball State community who go above and beyond in ensuring access for their students. Dr. John Emert
is the chairperson of the Department of Mathematical Sciences. He has been an ally for DSD in assisting students with disabilities in meeting their math requirement. John has helped find professors who best meet the learning styles of students with disabilities. He was also presented with a unique challenge this year in assisting a professor who is teaching a student who is blind. John served as a member of the campus review team last year that reviewed DSD's work and made sug¬gestions and recommendations to improve the office. Beck Hannaford
is the Accounts Receivable Collection Specialist from the Bursar's Office. Beck is a warm-hearted person who has gone well out of his way over the years to help students straighten out their financial situa¬tions. He has a strong student-centered approach and has been especially helpful for many students with disabilities and provides a helpful referral to DSD when needed. Carlos Taylor
is Ball State's Adaptive Computer Technology Specialist. Carlos, a Max Adamson award winner while a student at BSU, plays a vital role in the university's commitment to access in providing necessary technology for students and employees with disabilities. He oversees a computer lab that has hardware and soft¬ware designed specifically for students with disabilities. Carlos is an expert in assistive technology and always is aware of the latest and greatest technology. He goes above and beyond to make sure the students understand the equipment that is available to them. Sarah Waters
is an Assistant Director of Housing with oversight of the residence halls on the east side of campus including Noyer Complex where many students with dis¬abilities live. There are many issues involved in providing housing to students with disabilities and Sarah has been very aware of students' needs. She has been a strong ally for the office and a partner in ensuring accessibility in new residence halls built on campus. Sarah was also a member of the campus review team last year. Dr. Gina Zanardelli
is a Psychologist in Ball State's Counseling Center. Gina has offered her expertise in reading and understanding diagnostic reports relative to ADHD. Gina has also partnered with DSD in develop¬ing two support groups for students with disabilities - an ADHD group and a group for students with Asperger's Syndrome, which was created this year. Gina was the chairperson of the campus review team. B.I.C. Products Awards Given to Outstanding Students
This was the 22nd year of the BIC Products awards. Jake and Cheryl Guinn from BIC Products have been generous in recognizing students with disabilities. They have given nearly $50,000 over the years to fund these awards and the Max Adamson Award. The students that were selected to receive this award were students who have done well in the class¬room and who have furthered the cause of access and oppor¬tunity either through direct action or through their example. Nathan Ashworth
is a junior exercise science major and has earned a 3.4 GPA. He has been very involved on campus during his time here. One of Nathan's most notable accomplishments is that he was instrumental in starting the Ball State chapter of Students for Barack Obama. Nathan was also awarded the Abraham Lincoln Scholarship by the Kiwanis Club of Indianapolis. Brad Clark
is a senior telecommunications major. Brad has been highly involved in Ball State athletics during his time here. He attends almost every major sporting event and has been a producer for Cardinal Sports Live for the past three years. Brad has been helpful in being a go-to person for questions regarding access on campus. He was also featured in a promotional video for the DSD office. Michelle Moehring
is a junior education major. Michelle has earned a 3.8 GPA and was on the Dean's List for five consecutive semesters. Michelle participated in the Indiana School for the Deaf program last year and is also a member of the American Sign Language Club. She has done a lot of community service, including writing plays and creating craft projects for students at the Indiana School for the Deaf. She has also been a volunteer for the Special Olympics. Reanna Morrison
is a senior history major who has earned a 3.3 GPA. She has been very involved on cam¬pus and in her residence hall. Most recently Reanna has served as the administrative assistant for her residence hall director and trained student staff on front desk duties. She was also a member of her hall's opening committee, served as Homecoming Chairperson for her hall, and is currently co-president of her Hall Council. Jeff Snell
is a junior who is majoring in exercise science. Jeff has a 3.7 GPA and currently works as a student assis¬tant in the DSD office. He enjoys lifting weights and is a competitive body builder. Jeff recently won the heavyweight division of the 2008 National Wheelchair Body Building Championships and placed second overall in the competi¬tion. Additionally, Jeff is also one of the students featured on Ball State's new "Education Redefined" website. Shaetonna Jackson: Adrienne Paige Gilbert Award Winner
Kay and Jeff Gilbert endowed a scholarship that is given each year to a deserving Ball State student with a disability. The scholarship is given in honor of their daughter Adrienne Paige Gilbert who lived for only four months. Though their daughter did not get the chance to go to college it was Jeff and Kay's hope that this scholarship would allow another student to go in her place. Shaetonna Jackson was this year's recipient of the Adrienne Paige Gilbert Award.
Shaetonna is a sophomore social work major. She has earned a 3.3 GPA and has been on the Dean's List for two semesters. Shaetonna has been a member of Disabled Students in Action for two years and has served as DSIA's Student Government Association representative. Next year, she will be president of Disabled Students in Action. She is involved in the Muncie community as well: she volunteers at various organizations including A Better Way and Hillcroft. Whitney Collins: Max Adamson Award Winner
This award is given annually to a student with a disabil¬ity who excels academically, is involved on campus, and believes in creating access and opportunity for others. The award is named in honor of Max Adamson, a student here from 1976-1985. Max was a key figure in getting Ball State to the level of accessibility that it is at today. Although he passed away several years ago, his memory lives in those who knew him. Whitney Collins is this year's Max Adamson award winner
Whitney is a senior public relations major who has been involved in a variety of activities both on campus and in the community. Whitney has worked as a Mary Kay representa¬tive has also worked in her residence hall as a front desk staff member. She has received several awards and schol¬arships, including an Elks Club Scholarship, Rotary Club Scholarship, and she was an MDA Goodwill Ambassador. Whitney has also been a member of the Student Action Team and served as Hall Council president in her residence hall. She is a member of Campus Council for University Senate and is the Public Relations Team Coordinator for Ball Bearings. When accepting the award Whitney said, "When I first was looking at colleges, Ball State kept com¬ing up because of its great disability program. I started with Richard, and Larry and Aggie have continued to help me. I would just like to say thank you to everyone in the office." Judi Egbert and David Ulbrich: Accessible Teacher Award Winners
The recipient of the Accessible Teacher Award is select¬ed by feedback received from students about a teacher who has gone above and beyond in making his/her classes accessible. Accessible does not mean easy; in fact the faculty members who have won this award are among Ball State's best and toughest faculty members. This year two winners were chosen to receive this award. Judi Egbert
, Associate Professor of Social Work has long been a staunch advocate for students with disabilities on campus and in the community. Many students with dis¬abilities have stated that Judi was a mentor to them and very helpful to them while on campus and after gradua¬tion. This year she was nominated by Shaetonna Jackson. Shaetonna had this to say about Judi: "Judi always follows through with the accommodation outlined in my letters. She would ask if I needed anything enlarged and would write me emails to notify me of emergencies such as class¬room changes or special items we needed to print out for class. Overall she made sure that I got along adequately in her class, and she is a wonderful lady."
In response to receiving an Accessible Teacher Award, Judi said, "I very much agree that it takes a village. As I look out over the collective of people here, there are many that I can name that ought to be up here holding onto this award with me. I want to thank them for giving me a new set of eyes, ears, and feet and in many ways for helping me to better understand how to see and experience the world." David Ulbrich
, Assistant Professor of History, also received an Accessible Teacher Award. David goes above and beyond in assisting students with disabilities. Each semester David informs DSD which sections he will teach. That way, if any student with a disability is look¬ing for a class, DSD is able to refer the student to a class with an accessible teacher. He is also part of the Faculty Mentorship Program in which he has volunteered his time over the past two years to mentor a new student with a disability. David was nominated for this award by Scott Beesley. In his nomination Scott said: "Every test I took in the Learning Center, Dr. Ulbrich would come in and ask if I had any questions and then he would sit outside the testing room and grade papers just in case I needed to ask him anything. He was also my favorite teacher because he made history fun. I looked forward to going to his class."
After accepting the award David said, "Ball State really does have the most holistic program out there between the Learning Center, the technology, and Larry and Richard's efforts. I think it is a privilege to be able to work with stu¬dents with all sorts of disabilities and I really appreciate the award." The Politics of Disability
On Monday, March 24, 2008, Indianapolis attorney and accessibility consultant Greg Fehribach spoke to Ball State University students, faculty, and staff on the topic of "The Politics of Disability" as a part of Disability Awareness Month.
Greg is a former Ball State student who has been prac¬ticing law in Indiana since 1986. He has been recognized numerous times for his outstanding service and work to promote inclusion and access for people with disabilities. Greg has consulted on large projects such as Conseco Fieldhouse, Lucas Oil Stadium, and the new midfield ter¬minal at the Indianapolis International Airport.
Greg first became interested in the political process while he was a student at Ball State. He was elected stu¬dent body president in 1979, marking the first time in the school's history a student with a disability served in that position. After leaving Ball State, he has continued to be actively involved politically. He was appointed chairman of the Indiana Governor's Planning Council for People with Disabilities from 1989-1992. For his work in leading the efforts to create a more accessible Indiana Governor's Residence, Greg was honored as a Sagamore of the Wabash. Additionally, Governor Kernan appointed Greg to be a member of the Ball State Board of Trustees.
Regarding his program, Greg said, "It's an honor to return to Ball State and talk to students about how important it is to be engaged and involved in the political process. The only way we can affect positive change for people with dis¬abilities and the people who care for them, is to understand that there is a role for us in the political process." Disability Awareness Month Events
March 2008 marked BSU's celebration of Disability Awareness Month. In conjunction with other campus departments, DSD sponsored several exciting events.
- Carlos Taylor kicked off disability awareness month programming with his presentation, "Blind Vision" on March 5, 2008. Carlos discussed myths about being blind and talked about some of the skills people who are blind use to navigate daily activities such as going to work, traveling, and cooking.
- Disabled Students in Action sponsored an information table in the foyer of Teachers' College during the week after spring break. DSIA members staffed the table during the lunch hour and spoke with pass¬ersby. Members handed out candy and awareness month giveaways and also encouraged people to take one of their disability quizzes.
- In conjunction with Women's History Month, DSD co-sponsored a presentation by Jennifer Woods, who is the Compliance Officer for the Family Social Services Administration in Indianapolis. Jennifer spoke about her journey as a woman with a disability and also the ser¬vices provided by agencies like Vocational Rehabilitation that exist to help people with disabilities find employment.
- Greg Fehribach presented "The Politics of Disability," a presentation about the role students with disabilities play in the political system and the political issues to which people with disabilities should pay particular attention.
- The last program of the month was a showing of the Academy Award nominated documentary "Sound and Fury". The movie follows the experiences of two families as they try to determine whether or not they should get cochlear implants for their children who are deaf.
Bruce Rose died on December 13, 2007 after a battle with cancer. Beginning in the fall of 1976, Bruce made great contributions to making Ball State University a place where a disability need not be a handicap. He improved the orientation for new students, coordinated the first accessible van and worked diligently with the physi¬cal plant to enhance access. He had won the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1992. The DSD Office has now added his name to that award. Our sympathies go out to his wife Diane, son Jordan, and daughter Jennifer