The Other Side of Disabilities

The Office for Students with Disabilities Newsletter
Division of Student Affairs

Volume VI, Issue 1 Spring 2005 Editor: James Walborn



In January, 22 students with disabilities interviewed with a Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) Coordinator for summer internships. As a prerequisite for being interviewed, the OSD required students with disabilities to meet with a CDC Counselor or attend one preparatory workshop. One of the workshops students could attend was an innovative program entitled, “Interview Like a Pro,” involving mock interviews put together by OSD Coordinator Barbara Bazinsky and CDC Associate Director Gail Galbraith.
As the ‘interviewee,’ Barbara notes, “I wore inappropriate attire (a short skirt and excessive jewelry), demonstrated inappropriate actions (chewing gum and making poor eye contact), and gave inappropriate verbal responses (What are your goals? “To make more money and more friends”). The enthusiastic students were encouraged to pick out and discuss the unsuitable behavior and substitute the desirable responses. “The students were quite perceptive,” Gail acknowledges. “The exercise gave them the opportunity to think about questions interviewers may ask, such as ‘tell me about yourself’.”


The OSD and CDC on the Davie Campus will jointly conduct three workshops in March to help students improve their employability skills. The workshops, on “Resume Writing”, “Interview Skills”, and “Conducting an Effective Job Search”, will be presented March 16th, 24th, and 28th from 2 - 3 PM in MD G. All students are invited, although there will be special issues discussed for students with disabilities such as “When and how to disclose a disability to a prospective employer.” For more information please call (954) 236-1222.


In 2000 Renee Lynn Levinson received the Karen Aberson Memorial Scholarship, which was created by the Aberson family in memory of their daughter, Karen, an FAU student with a psychological disability who had died before achieving her dream of earning a Bachelors Degree. Renee graduated from FAU in May, 2001 but died a year later from natural causes. The Levinson family has established a scholarship in her name for a student with a psychological disability.
At the celebration of the grand opening of the new OSD office in October, 2004, Mr. And Mrs. Levinson and Mr. Aberson met and shared some tender moments for the first time. This past winter Mr. Levinson died. The Levinson family has asked that the scholarship be renamed the Renee Lynn Levinson and Philip Levinson Memorial Scholarship in order to honor both the daughter and father.
We, at the OSD, are very proud to be able to fulfill the wishes of the Levinson and Aberson families in honoring their loved ones in memoriam. Other families have established similar scholarships for students with disabilities as well, which help the students defray some of their financial burdens and reduce some of the stress in their lives.
In one instance, in lieu of congratulatory flowers, several well-wishers sent donations to the OSD Scholarship fund in the name of a local politician who won in the fall 2004 elections. They had read about the Scholarship Programs while attending the OSD Open House last October. If you, too, would like to assist in the perpetuity of any of the OSD scholarships while easing some of the financial weight of students with disabilities, please contact the OSD Director Nicole Rokos at (561) 297-3880 or email
Any student with a disability can start applying for OSD scholarships right now, in March. The student should investigate the specific scholarship requirements before applying.


By Lauren Rosenberg

As I walk into the Arts and Humanities building, I am filled with a deep excitement. It is here that my academic passions, English and Judaic studies collide. As beautiful as this building is, my face falls when I come face to face with the huge wooden doors that I must go to war with. These doors are my enemy. No matter how I position my walker to maneuver I can never get the doors open enough to get through. They are too heavy, and they stick. I get the door open an inch feeling as though it will knock me down at any moment. The doors are too heavy to get myself or the walker through.
“Why don't you ask for help, Lauren?” someone might ask. The answer is, that sometimes there is no one to ask. Classes are already in progress and there is no one roaming the halls. When someone does come along, and sees my raging battle with these double doors, they stop and help and I let out an exhausted “thank-you,” as I hurry to whatever class or meeting that I am already late for. I think that my war with the double doors could end if electronic door openers were placed on both sides of each set of doors making the building fully accessible to everyone.


Naomi Greelis is the new Coordinator of Diversity Services on the Jupiter Campus, which provides services for Students with Disabilities, International Student & Scholar Services, and Multicultural Affairs. Naomi graduated with her Masters Degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University, in Massachusetts, and has assisted a wide variety of students from divergent backgrounds.
“At my office I like to have an ‘open door’ policy for everyone. I hope that not only the students, but the faculty and staff as well, will feel free to come in and talk to me,” Naomi asserts. Likes? “I am REALLY enjoying swimming in a pool outside at night in the winter here in Florida. I also enjoy music very much and have learned a number of instruments: Clarinet, trumpet, and flute. I have had one performance already since moving down here and I’m looking for new avenues in which to perform.”
Any dislikes? “Closed mindedness. It upsets me when people are unwilling to take on different perspectives that other people are experiencing. Some people believe that there is only one cookie cutter way of life.” Anything unusual in the fridge? “You might find three boxes of ice cream. I like having different flavors and rotate them every few days.”


Michelle Shaw is the new OSD Coordinator of Notetaker Services. Many students are unable to take their own notes due to their disabilities. Most of the time volunteer notetakers are solicited from the students who are taking the same course. Students with disabilities may quickly fall behind in their classwork if there are problems with the notetakers or the quality of the notes. Michelle monitors this process throughout the semester while assisting with a variety of other office projects.
An English citizen, Michelle is married to an American. She is an FAU alumnus, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts (2002), Master’s Degree in Curriculum Instruction (2003), and is currently working towards her Specialist Degree in Higher Education. While a student she was very active in Student Government and has been employed by the Division of Student Affairs for the last several years. She also teaches “Art for Elementary Majors” in the College of Education.
Michelle loves to be busy and is involved in a variety of projects. She works with the Children’s Coalition in West Palm Beach, helping underprivileged and abused kids. She also provides them opportunities to experience art through workshops with the art galleries.
Likes? “We want to visit all of the State and National Parks. We enjoy canoeing, and snorkeling.” She loves working in a wide variety of art mediums (painting, sculpture, drawing) and has a house full of her work. “my husband gets so attached to them.”
Any dislikes? “I get offended by rude people, especially those on I-95 who do not use their turn signals.”
Anything unusual in the fridge? “A lot of English Chocolate.” Yummm!


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This newsletter is available in alternate format upon request from the Office for Students with Disabilities. Boca: SU 133; phone 561.297.3880, TTY 561.297.0358. Davie: MD I, Room 104; phone 954.236.1222, TTY 954.236.1146. Jupiter: SR 117; phone 561.799.8585, TTY 561.799.8565. Treasure Coast: JU 312; phone 772.873.3441.

FAU Campuses: Boca Raton/Davie/Dania Beach/Fort Lauderdale/Jupiter/Treasure Coast Boca Raton Campus Danie Beach Campus Davie Campus Fort Lauderdale Campus Harbor Branch Campus Jupiter Campus Treasure Campus
 Last Modified 8/27/15