Jeff Snell: 2009 Max Adamson Award Recipient
The Max Adamson Award is annually given to an outstanding student with a disability who excels academically, is involved on campus, and believes in creating access and opportunity for others among the Ball State community. This award is named in honor of Max Adamson, a Ball State student from 1976-1985. Max contributed in bringing Ball State up to the level of accessibility that it has reached today. Having passed away several years ago, Max is remembered warmheartedly by those who knew him.
Jeff Snell is this year's Max Adamson Award winner. Jeff is a senior Chemistry major with over a 3.6 GPA. He has been a student worker at the DSD office for the past three years. He plans on becoming a radiologist and will begin medical school in the fall. Upon receiving the Max Adamson Award, Jeff stated that "I am very honored to receive this award, especially having met some of the past recipients."
Jeff had been accepted into the Air Force Academy, but he was injured in an automobile accident just prior to graduating from high school. "That summer I didn't know what to expect. Am I going to be stuck living at home the rest of my life? Then I told myself I'm not going to let this hold me back, I'm going to go to Ball State. My experience in a wheelchair at Ball State has actually been very good. Ball State is one of the most accessible campuses I have ever been to."
In addition to being a strong student academically, Jeff has also been very involved in extracurricular activities. Jeff has taken on a leadership role in Thursday Night Recreation, a program that gives students with disabilities the opportunity to participate in adaptive sports. In fact, without Jeff's contributions, Thursday Night Recreation may no longer be in existence. Jeff is also very passionate about competitive body building and won the heavyweight division of the 2008 National Wheelchair Bodybuilding Championship, placing second overall. He has guest posed at the Mr. Ball State competition the last three years, and was named Mr. Ball State in 2009 in the wheelchair division. About being named Mr. Ball State, Jeff said, "It's been the most fun I've had. Just being up on stage posing in front of hundreds of my peers, I'll remember that forever."
Accessible Teacher Award
After reviewing several compelling nominations, Dr. Robert Sammelson from the Department of Chemistry was presented by Jeff Snell with the Accessible Teacher Award. In selecting the Accessible Teacher Award, feedback is gathered from students regarding teachers who have gone above and beyond in making their classes accessible. The faculty members who have previously won this award are known to be among Ball State's best and toughest. It is not about making classes easy for students but about making them accessible.
Prior to presenting Dr. Sammelson with the award Jeff explained his reasoning behind the nomination, "Organic Chemistry labs can be tricky and dangerous for anyone, let alone a wheelchair user. They are tight, involve hazardous chemicals, and my face is right at the level of those dangerous chemicals. Dr. Sammelson has always done his best to make the labs as accommodating as possible by letting me use the fume hood that was more open and out of the way, helping me get especially dangerous chemicals so I didn't have to carry them in my lap, helping me reach things, and always making sure I had what I needed and hadn't blown my face off."
After receiving the award, Dr. Sammelson acknowledged the Faculty Mentorship Program and attributes all success to the students. "In my mentorship case, Jeff Snell has been a very motivated and inquisitive student in chemistry and especially in the laboratory. This has really made it easy for me to do whatever possible to make everything accessible for him."
Disability Awareness Month Reflected "Disable the Label" Theme
Disabled Student Development and Disabled Students in Action (DSIA) partnered with other campus organizations at Ball State to provide a variety of events for Disability Awareness month of March. The theme, Disable the Label, came from the Indiana Governor's Council on Disability. The programmatic efforts reflected the theme to see people for who they are more so than what they do. Over 500 students, faculty, and staff participated in the events.
DSIA kicked-off the month by setting up an awareness table in the Atrium the first week in March. Former Max Adamson Award winner Carlos Taylor,presented Blind Vision. Carlos spoke to myths on blindness, how to interact with persons who are blind, and also responded to questions from the audience. Another former DSD award winner, Jeff Guilkey, provided a snapshot of deafness in his digital storytelling presentation entitled Deaf Culture 101.
The Indiana Rehabilitation Association (IRA) student chapter was also very involved in the month's activities, hosting a showing of Murderball, a disability etiquette presentation, and displaying disability related posters at the awareness table. Many also came out to the panel discussion on Fibromyalgia DSD's co-sponsored panel with Women's Week on Fibromyalgia as well as the annual awards program which is featured in this newsletter.
The keynote speaker for the month was Jackie Pflug. Jackie was a survivor of the 1985 Egypt Air Flight 648. She was shot at pointblank range in the head and survived. Jackie was one of 50 of the original 96 passengers to survive and considers herself "blessed." As a result of the gunshot, Jackie was left with limited vision and various other effects from the traumatic brain injury.
She shared her story of forgiveness, achieving her dreams, as well as the other lessons learned throughout her recovery. She said her recovery taught her a lot about patience, remembering back to when she was a special education teacher and how frustrated she used to get with her students. Now she has a first hand perspective of what it is like living with a cognitive disability.
Jackie Pflug speaks to Ball State
Members of the Indiana Rehabilitation Association (IRA) student chapter had the opportunity to spend some down time with the inspirational Jackie Pflug. Having been through an unbelievable journey to heal both physically and mentally, Jackie was an influence on all the attendees who worked in some aspect of the rehabilitation field. The IRA student members were grateful for having the chance to learn from Jackie, who eagerly shared her remarkable story. She is a wonderful motivation for those hoping to work in rehabilitation as she expressed the importance of those that took part in her own rehabilitation process and assisted her in becoming successful. After Jackie's public speech at Pruis Hall, it was obvious that she not only affected those in the rehabilitation field but anyone who has heard her story.
First Ever Fehribach Awards Presented
This was the first year that the DSD office presented students with awards named in recognition of Ball State alum Greg Fehribach. Greg, a prominent Indianapolis attorney and national expert on accessibility issues, has been a long time supporter of DSD. While attending Ball State, he was elected the student body president. Greg also served Ball State as a Board of Trustee member.
The students selected to receive the Fehribach Award have done well in the classroom and have furthered the cause of access and opportunity either through direct action or through their example on campus. With Greg away on vacation, the awards were presented by his son, Daniel. Each student recognized received a $500 scholarship. The following students received the awards:
Everyone on campus, not just the DSD office, is responsible for providing access and services for students with disabilities. On pre-admissions visits, students are told that disability access is a priority at Ball State and that faculty and staff members work diligently to accommodate students with disabilities. Each year Access Awards are presented to members of the Ball State community who have gone above and beyond in making Ball State an accessible community.
Adrienne Paige Gilbert Award
The Adrienne Paige Gilbert Award and Scholarship was presented this year to Sifat Baig. This scholarship is given yearly to a deserving Ball State student with a disability, with a preference given to students with Osteogenesis Imperfecta. Sifat is the first student with Osteogenesis Imperfecta to receive the Adrienne Paige Gilbert Award in the four years it has been awarded to a student at Ball State.
Kay and Jeff Gilbert have endowed this scholarship in honor of their daughter Adrienne Paige Gilbert. Adrienne only lived for four months, but in that short time had a great impact on all who knew her. While their daughter did not get the chance to attend college, the Gilberts' hope is that the scholarship would allow others to go in her place.
Sifat is a freshman from Hanover Park, Illinois. In his first year at Ball State he has been actively involved with the Power Soccer team as team manager and the Williams Hall Council.
Linda Strunck: 2009 Outstanding Alumnus Award
The Harris-Rose Outstanding Alumnus Award recognizes a Ball State alumnus with a disability who has been successful after graduation and serves as a role model to current students. The Harris-Rose title began developing several years ago as it was named in honor of Richard Harris, who is most responsible for the good reputation that Ball State has in serving students with disabilities. Last year Richard requested that a second name be added to the award to honor Bruce Rose, an alumnus who had a significant impact on access at Ball State.
Richard presented the award to this year's recipient, Linda Strunck. Linda graduated from Ball State with a Masters Degree in Special Education/Early Childhood Education and began teaching at Ball State in spring 1999. She is currently an active mentor in the Faculty Mentorship Program as well. In her time at Ball State, Linda has had two corneal transplants, leaving her completely blind in both eyes.
Linda expressed feeling honored for receiving an award for doing something that she loves. She stated, "I love teaching and advising students." During her acceptance speech Linda provided some words of encouragement for students, "You have already met many challenges by being here at Ball State. You may have very specific hopes and dreams, but allow life to happen with you and allow opportunities to come to you." Linda concluded her speech with a poem which acknowledged Carlos Taylor for teaching her that it is okay to be blind.
DSD Office Relocates in May
DSD wants to remind everyone that we will be relocating to room 410 of the Arts and Communication building (connected to Emens Auditorium on the east side) in mid May. We expect to be in this temporary location through the fall 2009 semester and look forward to moving into our new office on the first floor of the Student Center in January 2010 after the renovation is complete.
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