2009 Focus Award Recipients

Faculty: Dr. William Jaffe

Dr. William Jaffe is an Associate Professor in Hospitality and Tourism Management. He has been an active member of the Advisory Council on Disability Issues (ACDI) for over 10 years and serves as the Chair of the Council. ACDI is a voluntary committee that serves in an advisory capacity to the Disability Resource Center. Dr. Jaffe and ACDI  have addressed accessibility concerns related to the location of the Disability Resource Center office on the Purdue-West Lafayette campus and are working to address access to job search and employment opportunities for students with disabilities. In the past, he has been involved in issues surrounding the distribution of the letters sent to instructors describing a student's accommodations. Dr. Jaffe has been an active voice for disability issues on the Purdue-West Lafayette campus, promoting important disability issues that impact stakeholders throughout the Purdue system, particularly students. He has contributed greatly to the Purdue campus through his advocacy for disability issues and his efforts to promote disability awareness. Dr. Jaffe has given of his personal time in order to give greater visibility to disability awareness and has helped advise and speak to important areas of need addressed by the Disability Resource Center.

Staff: Sherrie Kristin

Sherrie Kristin is Purdue Calumet's Library Systems Technical Assistant. She has worked closely with the Student Support Services office when there has been a need for accessibility to the campus and assistive technology in the library, computer labs, and other areas on campus. Ms. Kristin championed two initiatives to empower people, remove barriers, and disable labels. She supported the establishment of ACCESS (Adaptive Computer Center for Effective Special Services) by writing a grant that made available four computers, scanners, and assistive software for students with disabilities. She also supported collaboration with the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities in the Student Support Services office in order to resolve ADA concerns on campus. In addition to these initiatives, Ms. Kristin has served and continues to serve on several committees, giving her the opportunity to advocate for equal access for persons with disabilities at the Purdue Calumet campus. Some of these committees include the ADA Advisory Committee, Ambassador for New Hires, Academic Technology Operations Group, Barrier Free Website Team, and the Great Lakes User Group Meeting of which she serves as chair. Ms. Kristin regularly goes above and beyond her formal position in the Calumet Library System to advocate for greater accessibility for students with disabilities.

Student: Matt Bowers

Matt Bowers was a third year student in Actuarial Science within the Math Department when he received the Focus Award. There were many contributions that Mr. Bowers gave to assist the University's furtherance of its commitment to disability accessibility and diversity. Mr. Bowers had been willing to meet with incoming students and their families to share information and to discuss his experiences at Purdue. He offered his service and time as an employee at the Assistive Technology Center (ATC) by assisting students in learning the technology needed to access a variety of things at Purdue such as course materials, computer hardware and software, closed caption television training, and computer software training. He was also willing to teach others in the community about the technology available for students with visual impairments. Mr. Bowers offered his insight and feedback as a consultant to the Steering Committee for the Peer Mentor Program. The Peer Mentor program is designed to connect students with disabilities by pairing incoming freshman with an upper-class student. The program's intent is to help personalize the university experience, create connectedness for students with disabilities, and offer support for new students. His ideas were instrumental in the overall concept and development of the Peer Mentor program.

Organization: Purdue North Central American Sign Language Club

As one of the most active student organizations on the Purdue North Central (PNC) campus, the American Sign Language (ASL) Club is a student organization that is dedicated to the promotion of ASL among the PNC students, to foster a greater understanding of the deaf culture and to bring deaf and hearing people from the community together with events that are fun and educational. The ASL Club holds weekly silent lunches in the PNC cafeteria that bring students together. Each month the ASL Club also organizes silent dinners, game nights, and silent coffees in the community. The events on campus and in the community have traditionally been standing room only with some people traveling as many as three hours to attend. Events for children are particularly popular and attract deaf youngsters and their parents as well as hearing children who have deaf friends or relatives or whose parents want them to have a greater understanding of and an appreciation for the deaf culture. Local deaf clubs and service organizations have donated funds, services and supplies in support of the events organized by the ASL Club. The ASL Club also sponsors, "Let Your Stars Shine," a summer program for children both deaf and hearing. The children enjoy a day spent learning signs and rehearsing and acting out a skit. The ASL Club also offers an annual spring retreat at the Indiana School for the Deaf, presented by the Indiana Chapter of Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. Thanks to the ASL Club's activities, many PNC students have been made aware of sign language, deaf culture, as well as new career opportunities.