University of Calgary

Campus life a highlight for grad of Inclusive Post-Secondary Education

UToday HomeJune 11, 2013

By Melissa Lackey

Lesya Martin tells her fellow graduates, “Good luck for the future, keep your heads held high and don’t be discouraged if you can’t find a job right away, there will always be opportunity.”Lesya Martin tells her fellow graduates, “Good luck for the future, keep your heads held high and don’t be discouraged if you can’t find a job right away, there will always be opportunity.” Photo by Jacob QuinlanAfter five years in university, Lesya Martin will join our graduates this week as she receives her certificate of completion from the Inclusive Post-Secondary Education (IPSE) Program. Launched in 1992, IPSE provides individuals who have developmental disabilities with an authentic university experience.

Lesya’s journey

Martin came to the university because she wanted to learn and participate in an inclusive experience where she could interact with other students. Taking two to three courses each semester, her coursework has helped her develop a passion for sociology and women’s studies. “My favourite courses were women’s studies and the sociology of families,” says Martin. “It was interesting to learn about how women and society coincide together.”

The best part of her experience was being on campus. As Martin explains, “I enjoyed meeting people and participating in different groups and student clubs.” She goes on to state, “I wish other students on campus would participate more with the program. Saying hello or going for coffee and getting to know us in a social setting is a great opportunity to get involved.” Professors and classmates are an important part of a student’s overall experience and play a role in supporting class participation, group discussions and providing social connections.

Planning for the future

Participants in the IPSE program work or volunteer during the spring and summer months in a variety of industries to gain experience and exposure to career opportunities. Upon completing the program, support services are available to help graduates find employment opportunities that match their areas of interest, skills and personality.

Martin has experienced a variety of work opportunities. She currently volunteers to take seniors on bowling and shopping trips, and says, “the best part of working with seniors is hearing their stories.” Martin is currently trying to find permanent employment at a senior’s residence.

About Inclusive Post-Secondary Education

Connecting learners with their peers and promoting life-long learning helps to create a supportive and inclusive university community. Course planning, scheduling accommodations, course modifications and involvement in campus life are a few of the ways this program creates an authentic university experience.

“Our students have a wide range of abilities. We are looking for people who want to learn,” says Miceala Cummings, interim co-director of the IPSE program. “Any program can be modified and we’ve had students take classes in over 20 different departments. If a student can be independent and wants to be here, then we figure out how to make that happen.”

 

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