Congratulations to the class of 2024!

Think College Vermont held our Graduation in the Sugar Maple Ballroom in the Dudley H Davis Center, on Saturday, May 11. We celebrated these three amazing students who had the opportunity to attend Think College VT.

We were honored to have Jesse Suter the Director of (CDCI) and Katharine Shepherd the Dean of the College of Education and Social Services (CESS) speak at the ceremony. On behalf of Think College, we want to thank Dean Shepherd and Jesse Suter for supporting this amazing program at UVM.

Congratulations to this year’s graduating class: Caroline McNamara, Emma Tschaikowsky, and Eva Edwards-Stoll. We wish you all the best as you enter the next chapter of your lives. Being part of your journey here at Think College Vermont has been a pleasure. 

Heartfelt congratulations to these amazing students on earning their degrees and certificates with Think College at UVM! Emma, Eva, and Caroline have achieved so much; we are all so proud! And thanks so much to graduating peer mentor Willa Vish for all your excellent work and leadership as a Lead Peer Mentor. 

We want to recognize all of our peer mentors. Thank you for everything you have done for our program and thank you for supporting all of our wonderful students at Think College. We want to congratulate these nine amazing mentors. Peyton Applegate, Nayantara Dutta, Alison Fox, Maggie Haley, Katharyn Hassan, Nadia Huber, Nika Sibley, and Kat Subramanian. Good luck in your future and stay in touch. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.  

This semester we had two amazing mentors serving as Lead Mentors. Let’s thank Willa Vish and Charlotte Bigwood for their leadership as lead mentors. Thank you for everything you have done to ensure the success of our students in the program.  Congratulations to Willa Vish on graduating from UVM! We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.  

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Thad Reflects on his semester

Hi, my name is Thad Dutil. It has been a good first year at Think College. It was a rough start as I use Facilitated Communication. My classmates were not always kind, but my professor was wonderful and really supportive. The mentors I have been able to work with have been really great! 

It has been my dream since middle school to work with children with disabilities like me. So far, the classes I have taken have been around Special Education and Early Childhood Education with Professor Lori Myer. This summer and next fall I plan to add courses around both Special Education and Communication Disorders. 

Thanks to help from Professor Sarah Curran and Professor Lori Myer my path is clear, and I know what I want to do. It has been great being at UVM. It is my dream to be here, and I hope to continue my educational journey! Thanks to Professor Myer, Bryan Dague, and my mentors; Alison, Jordan, Maddie, Samantha, and Charlotte. Think College is a wonderful program. Go Cats Go!

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Katie Reflects on her semester

My name is Katie Comerford – Joyce and I am a second year student. I like taking dance classes. I like UVM because I like it more than my high school. Last week on Thursday I was on a panel with other Think College students talking about Think College and it is nice to share my experience with Think College. I love riding horses especially my quarter lease horse and his name is Blues and his show name Equinox Dress Blues. I have an Intellectual Disability that means that it will take me a long time to process what I want to type down. 

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Eva Reflects on her semester

My name is Eva Edwards-Stoll. I am graduating in a couple weeks. I studied psychology this semester. My favorite subject was personality disorders. My favorite class I did was sociology of disasters. I took the class my first semester. I have always been interested in disasters and what causes them and we talked a lot about this in the class and also how disasters affect different demographics. I will miss everyone at college and I will definitely visit when I have time. In the future I would love to work with animals. Last year I went to Baltemore and went to the aquarium and I found out that there are volunteer opportunities. I would love to eventually work there! 

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It’s Time to See Us

By Lindsay Arthurs

A Letter To: The University of Vermont Administration 

Some disabilities in theory should be easy to accommodate. If someone is in a wheelchair, build a ramp to the building. Others might need extra time on tests or a note-taker. However, some disabilities need accommodations that are not so obvious. How do you help someone join a group conversation? How do you accommodate a person who can’t handle the hustle and bustle of campus and just sitting in a college lecture can be overwhelming let alone trying to learn the material. 

Hi, my name is Lindsay. I am a senior at UVM. Despite being a senior, it will take me much more than a year to graduate. I am also a student at Think College (a program at UVM that supports students with intellectual and developmental disabilities)  and I am on the autism spectrum and have learning differences. Throughout my college experience I have noticed that, despite UVM, being overall a good school that tries to make accommodations and is open to people with differences, it still has its shortfalls. I am writing this in hopes of opening your eyes to things that people may not have noticed before.

Throughout my college experience, partially due to Covid, I have taken about a third of my classes online. Having online courses reduces the harsh sensory input I experience when entering a classroom. Such as bright lights, and the professor’s voice can hurt my head. I get visually overstimulated easily. I don’t always understand how to join a group conversation or how to get my point across. I have trouble navigating the campus at times and almost run into people without meaning to. I have a helpful service dog. However, I still experience sensory overload often at UVM. During online classes, I experience less sensory overload however, I also don’t get as much social interaction and I don’t have much of a college experience. I wish there was a way to make classes more sensory-friendly for all involved. 

My experience with UVM has been mixed. I have difficulty joining conversations and have trouble with some social cues which makes joining difficult. There have been plenty of times when I’ve gone to events only to stand there the entire time and not sure how to get into a conversation. How do you accommodate somebody like this? Although the university isn’t responsible for this, I would say it’s up to the university to create an environment that promotes inclusivity which includes that to those with disabilities. 

I have tried doing events with the Outing Club only to have the waiting list fill up quickly. People with autism are automatically at a disadvantage when it comes to things like clubs because networking is harder for us. I don’t understand cliques or the point of them. I wish I had a good social life at UVM, but I honestly do not. I am part of the program off-campus called Mansfield Hall that supports college students with disabilities at UVM, Champlain College, CCV, and Saint Michael’s. However, programs like Mansfield Hall are very expensive and have a cost on top of the tuition for UVM. Mansfield Hall and Think College have made going to UVM  possible for me. 

If I did not have programs like this, I do not think I would have much of a social life at all.

Programs like Mansfield Hall and Think College are great, but I wish we didn’t need them. I wish I didn’t have to pay an extra $40,000 a year on top of tuition to be part of a program that helps me.

College is supposed to be accessible to everyone they admit. UVM often is known as a place that is inclusive towards those in the LGBTQ community. I wish UVM also celebrated those in the disabled community with the same triumph. I would love to see UVM  make more of an effort to include people with disabilities. I’d love to see a Unified Special Olympics team. I’d like to see such clubs such as the ski and snowboard club host sensory-friendly events and outings geared towards those with disabilities. I’d love to see the Outing Club be more inclusive to those with disabilities as well. Have a weekend that is geared towards those with neurodivergent or physical disabilities. Better train the Career Center to help students navigate disclosure in the workplace and how to find workplaces that are disability friendly. 

College can be hard for everyone. If you have a disability it adds complex layers to an already difficult time. You often have to think about whether you want to disclose and be seen as possibly less than or or hide part of who you are. I am a very literal person and in my courses, people often laugh at my statements and questions. I know they are probably not doing this to make fun of me, but at the same time, I don’t always understand why. The truth is there weren’t that many autistic students in college recently. Developmentally I am all over the map and it can be hard to meet the expectations that people have of those my age as my skills are either beyond them or below them.

I’d love to see more awareness on campus about different disabilities. I often see racial and sexual diversity mentioned, but rarely do I see people bring up disability. I feel like it’s the hidden “D” in diversity. I want UVM to recruit students with disabilities with the same enthusiasm they recruit other students. I’d love to see UVM come up with a residential program to help support students with disabilities as well similar to that of Mansfield Hall. 

That being said, there are some things UVM does well. I’ve had a good experience with their Student Accessibility Services. I have also heard of the UVM Disabled Student Union Club, which helps advocate for disabled students’ rights. These are a great start to improving campus culture around disability. Despite this, I often feel invisible at UVM and it’s time to see us.

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Think College Vermont Annual Valentine’s Day Party

Think College Vermont had our annual Valentine’s Day party in the Jost Foundation Room at the Dudley H Davis Center on Thursday, February 15th. Students, peer mentors, alumni, and staff attended the Valentine’s Day Party. We also had fun games, good food, and lots of fun. Everyone enjoyed mingling, socializing, and having fun at the photo booth. Thank you to everyone who attended the party.

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Happy New Year

Happy New Think College Vermont.
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Think College Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to the University of Vermont, as we start the Fall semester on August 28, 2023.  We are excited to have new students and new mentors joining Think College. Welcome to Think College Vermont.  Let’s have a fun filled semester!

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A Day in the Life of a former peer-mentor in Think College Vermont

Look at what a Typical Tuesday looked like for this former student who was also a Think College Vermont Peer-Mentor.

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Congratulations to this year’s graduating class

A group photo after graduation

Think College Vermont had our Graduation in the Livak Ballroom at the Dudley H Davis Center on Saturday, May 13. We celebrated these five dedicated students who were excited for the opportunity to attend Think College VT.

Katharine Shepherd the Dean of the College of Education and Social Services (CESS) was at the graduation ceremony along with Jesse Suter the Director of Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI). On behalf of Think College we want to extend a huge thank you to Dean Shepherd and Jesse Suter for supporting this great program at UVM.

Congratulations to this year’s graduating class: Silas Callison, Olivia LaMothe, Sara McNally, Daeton Orton, and Sophia Robins. We wish you all the best as you enter the next chapter of your lives. It has been a pleasure being part of your journey here at Think College Vermont. 

Have a great summer!!

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