Disability Services

Spring 2011

Natalie Russo: 2011 Max Adamson Award Recipient

Arriving at Ball State University in the fall of 2007, no one could have guessed the impact that Natalie Russo would have on Ball State University. As she prepares for commencement this May, she leaves the Ball State Power Soccer team with high hopes for the seasons to come. For her excellence both in and outside of the classroom, Russo was honored with the Max Adamson Award. Upon receiving the award, Natalie stated, “The support I have gotten from Larry, DSD, and the campus in general have been helpful. I feel like I have a family here at Ball State”.


This award is named in memory of a former student, Max Adamson, who attended Ball State from 1976-1985. Adamson was very involved in campus activities and worked diligently to ensure access and opportunities for students with disabilities on the Ball State campus. Having passed away several years ago, the Max Adamson Award has been distributed annually since 1990 to outstanding senior students with disabilities who have exceled academically,  are actively involved on campus, and promote access and opportunities for those in the Ball State community. Upon presenting this year’s award, DSD Director Larry Markle stated, “Natalie is very involved with many different things on campus and a great student. This was an easy award to present”.  

A senior majoring in Journalism with a concentration on Graphics, Natalie Russo will graduate with a 3.4 GPA. Last summer she completed an internship with Reader’s Digest in New York. A recipient of a Fehribach award in 2009, Natalie began the process of starting a club level power soccer team at Ball State three years ago.  Russo was able to carry the process through the various steps involved and remained patient when managing delays in the process.  Her hard work was rewarded when the team became official in the fall of 2008.  


Russo is the president and founder of the first university-sponsored power soccer team in the country.  This team has provided a new level of opportunity for students with disabilities on campus. Markle shared, “From talking with prospective students with disabilities, I know that a reason many consider coming to Ball State is the opportunity to play soccer.  Natalie is the person most responsible for the implementation and success of power soccer at Ball State”.


Natalie’s parents, Dominic and Karen Russo, were also recognized for their important roles in creating opportunities and accessibility for people with disabilities. They started the Indianapolis power soccer team where Karen is currently the president and Dominic a board member.  At the national level, Dominic is currently the President of the US Power Soccer Association and Karen is Executive Vice President.  Both have coached the power soccer team at Ball State and have come from Carmel on a weekly basis to do so.  The Russos will lead the Ball State team in the Premier Cup in Atlanta, Georgia on June 16-18.


Fehribach Awards 


The Fehribach Awards were presented this year by Greg Fehribach and his wife, Mary Beth. Greg and Mary Beth have been long time supporters of DSD both financially and in giving time to meet with students.  A 1988 Outstanding Alumnus recipient, Greg practices law and serves as a consultant for accessible design projects, ADA compliance, and investment in Indianapolis. Greg serves as a Distinguished Fellow with Ball State University’s Bowen Center where he researches and teaches Political Science classes. He also served on the Board of Trustees for the university. Given in recognition of academic achievement, campus involvement, and promoting access for students with disabilities, six students were honored this year. 


Scott Beesley, a senior with a 3.6 GPA, is a Health Education major at Ball State. He will receive his teaching license in Physical Education and will be student teaching at Hamilton Southeastern in the fall. In addition to being on the lacrosse team, Scott has been on the Dean’s list the last five semesters, a member of Eta Sigma Gamma, and a member of a case study team for the Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, a national organization. 


Brooke Bonnell, a graduate student studying Sociology, has maintained a 3.8 GPA and will graduate this May. Bonnell has been researching the parent-child bond and has completed a semester internship with the Academic Assessment and Institutional Research office on campus. This past year, she also did a research project regarding different disability services offices on Indiana campuses.


Dietrich Eherenman, a graduate student studying Information and Communication Sciences, has a 3.5 GPA and will graduate this summer. Eherenman also received his undergraduate degree from Ball State University. He has been a long time employee in the Adaptive Computer Technology lab, has been involved in the student group Disabled Students in Action, and is a two time winner of the Bush Scholarship from DSD. 


Donelle Henderlong, a junior majoring in English, is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and has a 3.6 GPA. She has attended two National Residence Hall Honorary conferences where she won “Most Spirited Delegate” and was selected one of the Top Program Presenters. Henderlong was voted Great Lakes Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls Regional Student of the Month and has worked as part of the desk staff for the Howick/Williams residence hall on campus.  


Kaleb Kelham, a junior majoring in Accounting, has maintained a 3.8 GPA throughout his undergraduate career. He has pledged for Beta Alpha Psi and recently received an invitation to be initiated into Beta Gamma Sigma. An active student on campus, Kelham is also a member of Ball State’s Accounting Club.


Grace Kreitl, a senior majoring in History with a 3.4 GPA, is very involved on campus. She is a member of the Philosophy Club, Feminists for Action, and plays wallyball and volleyball on a weekly basis with friends and in intramurals. Over her time here at Ball State, Kreitl has run in five half marathons and plans on participating in a triathlon over the summer.


Sadly Noted

Ian Myers: It is with sadness that we report the death of former Ball State student Ian Myers on March 10, 2011.  Ian attended Ball State in 2008-2009 and was an active member of the Power Soccer team.  Ian was a member of the 2009 team that finished fourth in both the U.S. Power Soccer Association National Championship and the Americas Championship Cup tournament.

Eric Dolch: Eric Dolch, who attended Ball State in the mid-1970s died in Colorado after a long battle with cancer. Eric was a noted figure on campus with his always ready smile, a quick quip, and willingness to help out others.

Disability Awareness Events

Approximately 400 people participated in Ball State’s celebration of Indiana’s annual Disability Awareness Month.  Every March, the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities celebrates disability, promotes awareness, and invites the community to get involved.

Disabled Student Development (DSD) and Disabled Students in Action (DSIA) partnered with members of the campus community to promote awareness and understanding.  A prelude to the month of events was a demonstration by Michael Naranjo, a sculptor who is blind. Brought to campus by the Department of Art and Freshmen Connections, Michael showed students and faculty how to feel his work, instead of simply looking at it.

The first event in March was a screening of Adam, a film about a young man with a form of autism. Our keynote speaker for Disability Awareness Month, Marcus Engel, presented to a large crowd at Pruis Hall on March 14. He spoke about the challenges he faced after a horrific car accident and living the life you want to live. Marcus also talked with several small groups of students on campus before his keynote address at Pruis Hall.

DSD also partnered with Adapted Physical Education and the Northwest YMCA to host a Wheelchair Tennis demonstration. Lucas Strohmenger, a wheelchair tennis player from Indianapolis, offered tips and played a few matches with students and members of the local Muncie Community. DSD and DSIA concluded the month by sponsoring two events for Women’s Week. The first was a film entitled Miya of the Quiet Strength, about a women’s and disability rights activist. The second was a talk from BSU Alumna Darcy Keith, who discussed her traumatic brain injury and tips for leading a successful life.

Access Awards

Everyone in the Ball State community is responsible for providing access, opportunity, and services for students with disabilities. The Office of Disabled Student Development has a number of faculty, staff, and students who ensure that accommodations are met for those who request services from the office. Each year the office presents Access Awards to members of the Ball State community who go above and beyond in providing access to students. DSD Director Larry Markle stated, “ It takes a whole campus committed to providing services to students with disabilities to make this work. These awards are designated to recognize people on campus who have been good partners and allies in making sure students with disabilities are given the appropriate levels of access”. This year DSD honored six individuals for their efforts.

Rachel Doran and Joshua Mitchell are Graduate Assistants in the Learning Center’s Test Administration Center. Funded through a grant for students with disabilities, Rachel and Joshua have invested time and effort into accessible test administration and tutor training initiatives that instruct tutors on a variety of learning style strategies when working with students with disabilities.

Willow King Locke is an Assistant Director of Ball State’s Career Center and serves as a liaison for Disabled Student Development. She meets individually with students with disabilities to discuss career planning and also facilitates the Workforce Recruitment Program—a job placement program for all students created by the federal government.

Charlie Scofield is the Facilities Assignment Coordinator in the Student Center. He is responsible for arranging meeting space in the Student Center in addition to other locations on campus. When making arrangements on campus, Charlie ensures that all locations are accommodating and accessible.

Ross Walter is the Superintendent of Building Maintenance for Facilities Management & Planning. Over the years he has been committed to students with disabilities. He has been the contact person for barrier issues, including door openers and curb cuts, and is always proactive in providing access for students.

Sharon Woodruff is the Commencement Coordinator in the Registrar’s Office. When accessibility questions about commencement arise, Disabled Student Development refers them to Sharon. She arranges three commencements a year and takes the lead in ensuring commencement is as barrier-free as possible for students, families, and guests with disabilities.

Outstanding Alumni Winners Provide Advice for Current Students


Ball State University has served students with disabilities for a number of years, almost since its inception. With the establishment of the Office of Disabled Student Development (DSD) in 1973, the campus proudly offered additional services, and as a result, the student population with disabilities increased tremendously. Today, more than 600 students use DSD services. Our office and the students and alumni within have been witness to many success stories. In honor of some of our most accomplished students and alumni, we have comprised a list of many of our past Outstanding Alumni Award winners in hopes that their stories will continue to inspire current students. These award winners have both apparent and non-apparent disabilities and these individuals continue to excel in their fields. 


Please visit our website to see what our Outstanding Alumni Winners are doing in their career fields and to view their advice to current students. You may view this list on our website at www.bsu.edu/dsd and click the Outstanding Alumni link on the right.


Harris-Rose Outstanding Alumnus Award Presented to Don Stevens

Don Stevens, a 1997 graduate of Ball State University, is this year’s Harris-Rose Outstanding Alumnus Award winner. Disabled Student Development presents this award to one alumnus a year with a disability who has done well and is active in the disability community. This award is named in honor of DSD Director Emeritus Richard Harris, the person most responsible for Ball State’s good reputation in serving students with disabilities. It is also named in memory of 1992 Outstanding Alumnus Award winner Bruce Rose. Bruce was an alumnus who worked to create access on campus for students with disabilities.

During his time here at Ball State, Stevens was involved in a number of activities that promoted accessibility and advocacy. Don frequently spoke to classes on the topic of disability, was a member of Disabled Students in Action, and worked with the Adaptive Physical Education department and  the  Health Center to purchase 30 wheelchairs for Adaptive Physical Education courses.

Graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science, Stevens has worked diligently on accessibility issues in recreational facilities, housing construction, and businesses in the state of Illinois. Serving as an officer until 2007 for the non-profit organization Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities in Illinois, Stevens was able to fulfill the organizations goals of educating the disabled and non-disabled communities by creating a mentoring event at a local high school, working on public parking issues within the community, and presenting at local schools and organizations on the topic of disability. Don shared, “Our message was to promote awareness and inspire and motivate individuals toward their unlimited potential in their life, and in their community”. While working with the Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities, Don met his wife, Jo Anne, and they have been married for nine years.

He is currently in his 13th year as an Information Specialist at O’Hare Airport in Chicago. Upon receiving the award, Stevens added, “People with disabilities are just that.  We are people first.   We can lead active productive lives.  People with disabilities can be married, have families, jobs, cars, houses, own our own businesses, or anything else under the sun that anyone one else can have.  In fact, we have the right to have just as much debt as anyone else”.

Adrienne Paige Gilbert Award and Scholarship


The Adrienne Paige Gilbert Scholarship was presented this year to Sifat Baig and Dustin Gilmer. Kay and Jeff Gilbert have endowed this scholarship in memory of their daughter. Living only four months, Adrienne made an impact on all who knew her. In honor of Adrienne Paige Gilbert, a scholarship for Ball State students with disabilities is given yearly to commendable students, with preference for those with Osteogenesis Imperfecta. 

Disability Services
Student Center (SC), Room 116
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

Phone: 765-285-5293
Fax: 765-285-5295
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