2019 Focus Award Recipients

Faculty - Dr. Mark Ward

Dr. Mark Ward is a Professor of Statistics and an Associate Director of Actuarial Science.  While Dr. Ward is a professor that has a great command of his subject matter, his broader vision lies in his ability to see beyond the surface of his students.  He creates opportunities for students to learn from each other and with each other.  He is committed to creating a unified community that respects each other embracing diversity.  Dr. Ward does not see limits; rather, he sees limitless possibilities in his students.

Dr. Ward has created a truly inclusive and universal learning environment for his students.  Dr. Ward has repeatedly shown his dedication to providing an equitable learning environment for the students with disabilities in his class.  He promotes inclusion by focusing on making all environments accessible.  Dr. Ward not only promotes inclusive and accessible environments on campus; he is also promoting them nationally and internationally.  He educates his colleagues near and far on the importance of inclusion.  Dr. Ward recognizes and embraces disability as an aspect of diversity.  His work is making a difference in the lives of students and professionals all over the world!

Dr. Ward continuously goes above and beyond to ensure that disabled students have an equitable experience as compared to their non-disabled peers.  He proactively encourages all of his students to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to them in college, even when this may require much more coordination on his part.  An example of this is his encouragement of a student who is deaf to participate in research opportunities locally, nationally and who is now looking forward to travelling internationally with Dr. Ward.

Dr. Ward personally lives out his commitment to inclusion and accessibility.  He decide that his limited ability to communicate with a deaf student was hindering his student’s opportunity to get the most from his class.  Therefore, he has learned some basic sign language and is actively seeking out ways to enhance his sign language skills to provide the most equitable learning environment possible.

Staff- Ms. Kelsey Jordan

Ms. Jordan serves as the Disability Resource Center (DRC) Testing Coordinator, West Lafayette Campus, overseeing the Accommodated Testing Center and its daily operations. In addition to her role as Testing Coordinator, she also serves as the Staff Advisor for the Student Advisory Committee (SAC-DRC).

As advisor to the DRC’s Student Advisory Committee, Ms. Jordan is actively involved in everything the committee does and participates more as a member of the committee than just an advisor.  She is the first to help and does so much more than her role as advisor or the members require of her. The club members state it is mind blowing how beyond her job description she goes to help people with whatever problem may arise.  Ms. Jordan is not just an asset to the Disability Resource Center, but to the Student Advisory Committee, her fellow staff, and the disability community.

Ms. Jordan has helped create the SAC-DRC, the photo-voice project, works with every test sent into the DRC, attends conferences for disabilities and so much more.  During final exam season, Ms. Jordan works extremely long hours and has been known to run across campus to get a final exam for a student.   Her contributions to the disability community is outstanding, but the way she cares about each individual is what really makes her special.  Ms. Jordan is there for students when help is needed, when school is overwhelming, when they have a bad day, or when they just aced an exam.  Ms. Jordan becomes a friend to anyone who walks through her door.

Ms. Jordan has made a significant contribution to the West Lafayette campus by improving and expanding the accommodated testing services provided by the Disability Resource Center, which is commendable.  Her efforts to found and advise the Student Advisory Committee for the DRC further illustrate her commitment to the promotion of an inclusive and accessible environment at Purdue.

Students- Mr. Jesse Fawbush, Mr. Braiden Linder, & Mr. Will Traub

Braiden Linder, Jesse Fawbush and Will Traub are student service employees with University Residence Capital Projects. 

Jesse Fawbush is a sophomore studying Social Studies History in the College of Education.  Jesse has worked with UR Capital projects since the summer 2016.  He started as an entry-level maintenance and installation employee and is currently a student coordinator.  Jesse is very plugged in with business plans for new projects and considering what issues may arise before projects proceed.

Braiden Linder is a junior studying Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts. Braiden has worked with UR Capital projects since the summer 2017.  He started as an entry-level maintenance and installation employee and is currently a student coordinator. 

Will Traub is a former Purdue student who is currently employed as an intern.  Will joined UR Capital projects in fall 2015 and has served as an entry-level maintenance and installation employee, student coordinator, and intern.

Jesse, Braiden, and Will are three employees who recognized the importance of good communication in their work culture and who began a process to improve those efforts during the summer of 2018.

Part of staff responsibility is to create weekly calendars and charts for employee work and task schedules.  These tools help the department to know what is coming up, who will be working and when they are scheduled.   A seemingly simple solution, the team created color-coded bands and boxes illustrating wither employee works days or task efforts.  It was later recognized that not all the colors and text insertions were visually clear to all parties.

To aid color-blindness, high contrast combinations are not included in their production efforts.  This reinforces an internal office thought process of performing their responsibilities with awareness and efforts that do not impede the progress of others. 

Organization - Purdue Autism Cluster

The Purdue Autism Cluster was established to develop an interdisciplinary and highly coordinated effort to understand, assess, and treat individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD); their effort spans basic biological and genetic to behavioral and applied approaches. Faculty associated with the Purdue Autism Cluster reside in a number of academic units across campus, including the Colleges of Health and Human Sciences, Science, Education, and Veterinary Medicine, and research interests include causes, diagnosis and treatment of autism. The Purdue Autism Cluster is deeply invested in the testing and delivery of newly discovered clinical interventions to children with ASD and in generating the basic research that makes these interventions possible. The Purdue Autism Cluster is poised to make significant progress in this area of critical societal need.

The Purdue Autism Cluster has been selected to receive the organization award for its commitment and dedication to accessibility and disability, specifically through advancing research, assessment, and treatment in Autism Spectrum Disorder and the creation of a holiday shopping guide for children dealing with ASD.

Faculty in the Purdue Autism Cluster include:

Dr. Edward Bartlett, Associate Professor, College of Science and College of Engineering.
Dr. Alexander Chubykin,
Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Dr. Ulrike Dydak, Associate Professor, School of Health Sciences

Dr. Uzay Emir, Assistant Professor, School of Health Sciences

Dr. Brandon Keehn, Assistant Professor, Departments of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences and Psychological Sciences

Dr. Rose Mason, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Studies

Dr. Carolyn McCormick, Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Dr. Maggie O’Haire, Assistant Professor, Center for the Human-Animal Bond, College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Mandy Rispoli, Associate Professor, Department of Educational Studies

Dr. A.J. Schwichtenberg, Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Emily Studebaker, M.S., CCC-SLP, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Bridgette Tonnsen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences