Back-to-school at ICI for Students Learning about Disability

Mon Aug 15 2016
GRA/Certificate student Jillian Chmiel at work.

The Institute is getting ready to begin the 2016-17 school year, when it will present three sets of ongoing opportunities for students in a range of fields to learn about disability issues through an interdisciplinary lens. Seventeen graduate/postgraduate students and community members will shortly start their year-long appointments as LEND Fellows at ICI’s Minnesota Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Program (MN LEND). Graduate students and community professionals enrolled in the Certificate in Disability Policy and Services (a collaboration between ICI and the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development) will have access to an array of interdisciplinary courses on policies and services that affect the lives of individuals with disabilities. And this fall, 13 students return to ICI as Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs), working on the DIAMOND project, RTC/CL, RTC/OM, Minnesota DHS project, and Making a Map, among others.

“These opportunities bring together students and professionals from a tremendous variety of disciplines, and the benefits of these interdisciplinary environments cannot be overstated,” says Jillian Chmiel (pictured), a master’s student in Social Work who is a GRA in the Certificate program as well as a Certificate student. “It’s rare that we’re given the chance to learn alongside students outside of our own programs; we’ve become siloed. These learning opportunities give us the chance to break through those silo walls, to glimpse inside one another’s worlds, and to understand how we can work within our own professions while partnering across professions to best serve people with disabilities and the ones they hold dear.”