Almost a month ago now, the Disability Services office hosted their annual awards ceremony. At this ceremony, our office honors students, faculty, and staff for all the hard work and dedication that they have to inclusion on campus. Not to mention a dedication to their academics, and to their own personal development.
The first award category that we want to recognize is that of Access Awards. Everyone on campus, not just the Disability Services office, is responsible for providing access and services for students with disabilities. When DS staff meet with students on pre-admission visits, the students are made aware that disability access is a priority here and that the faculty and staff members work diligently to accommodate students with disabilities. Each year DS staff present Access Awards to members of the Ball State community who go above and beyond in providing access.
Anna Arison is the Assistant Director of Purchasing Services and is a huge support for our office on all fronts, especially when it comes to purchasing accessible furniture for our campus. Additionally, Anna is keenly aware of issues related to disabilities and is an advocate for all. Through our great partnership with Anna, we can provide the best quality support for our students.
Alex Schull is a Purchasing Services Materials Handler Supervisor and is another huge support for our office. Like Anna, Alex is a helpful to our office in many ways, but especially regarding accessible furniture. He, too, is keenly aware of issues related to disability and is always ready to help. Our partnership with him and his office ensures the upmost support for our students.
Natah Hughes is the Hotel Desk Coordinator and is an invaluable resource for all things Student Center. For most, she is often the first stop for people coming into the Student Center (with or without a disability) who has a question. She goes above and beyond to help all people and answers all questions that they might have.
Betsy Kiel is a WGS Graduate Assistant as well as a DS Employee. She is fiercely passionate about all things disability and equality related and has been instrumental in the DS office, especially with our growth in student population. Not only does Betsy teach in WGS, but she often assists students with accommodations often.
Kyla Whitehair is an Assistant Lecturer of Mathematical Sciences. In this role she teaches MATH 125, a course that many (if not the majority) of Ball State students must enroll in. Because of this, she often interacts and teaches many students who receive accommodations—but she also goes above and beyond to refer students to our office and personally ensure that a connection is made. She also often consults with our office about accommodation issues that may arise.
Accessible Teacher Award
The next award we wanted to recognize is that of our Accessible Teacher Award. Disability Services solicits feedback from students each year about teachers who they believe have gone above and beyond to make their classes accessible. The faculty members who have won this award are some of Ball State’s best and toughest. They don’t make their classes easy for students; they make their classes accessible for students. Based on a nomination from Katie Witte, we have Ann Reichle, an Assistant Lecturer of Accounting. as the winner of this year’s Accessible Teacher award. Here is an excerpt from Katie’s nomination:
“I chose to nominate Ann Reichle because she goes above and beyond to accommodate students with a Disability Services letter. While all professors are required to accommodate students with letters, Ann never makes you jump through hoops to use your accommodations. She has never given me a reason to feel discriminated against or not feel welcome in her classroom. She is always helpful and remindful of due dates, test dates, and other important deadlines. Overall, she is a great professor and I recommend her to anybody and everybody.”
Here is what Ann Reichle had to say about her nomination: “I just want to thank you Katie, and the fact that this is a student nominated award means a tremendous amount to me. My mother taught students with disabilities for over 25 years, so this also means a great deal to my family. Also, I just want to thank Disability Services for their hard work and support for what we’re trying to do as professors. All the time, I get to hear from professors from other campuses about how far above we, at Ball State, stand in terms of our accessibility and enhancing our diversity as a student population. I am very proud to be a part of Ball State for that reason.”
Laura J. Kraska Awards
For our next award, our office once again has the honor of presenting the Laura K. Kraska awards. The Kraska family has provided a generous gift to Ball State in memory of Laura Kraska. Laura received her bachelor’s degree from Ball State in 1990 and her master’s degree in 1993 in Information & Communication Sciences. Laura had low vision and benefited greatly from the services provided by Disability Services. Each year students with visual impairments receive Kraska awards. Students who have done well in the classroom and who have been active members of the Ball State community are selected.
Taylor Christine Bowen is a freshman from Fishers, Indiana, with a 2.8 GPA. She is a Psychology major, as well as works within the Math Department here on campus. Taylor is most proud of her ability to move off campus and navigate Muncie while not being a driver.
Jack Faleczyk is a Junior from Elk Grove Village, Illinois. He has a 2.59 GPA and is a major in Information Systems and Operations Management / Computer Information Systems. Jack made the Dean’s List during his first semester at BSU and is proud that he survived remote learning.
Jasmine Bennett is a freshman from Granger, Indiana, with a 3.46 GPA. She is a double major in Criminal Justice and Criminology and Philosophy. Jasmine is also a part of the Honors College.
The Adrienne Paige Gilbert Scholarship is given annually by Jeff and Kay Gilbert in memory of their daughter Adrienne Paige. Adrienne was born with Osteogenesis Imperfect. In the four months she lived, her life touched all who knew her. The Gilberts offer the scholarship hoping that it will allow others with disabilities to further their education in honor of Adrienne. The winner for this award was James Nichols.
James is a freshman at Ball State from Crawfordsville, Indiana. He currently has a 4.0 GPA and is majoring in Social Work with a minor in Counseling. He also shared with us that he made the Dean’s List, and that he is most proud of the fact that he is learning to be more independent and a better advocate.
Greg and Mary Beth Fehribach Awards
This is the 14th year that we can recognize students with awards named in recognition of BSU alum Greg Fehribach & his wife Mary Beth. They are both longtime supporters of DS, both financially, and in giving time to students. Greg is a prominent Indianapolis attorney whose expertise is accessibility issues. He serves as a Distinguished Fellow in the Office of Inclusive Excellence and was a key stakeholder in starting the internship program at Eskenazi Health. In selecting students to receive the Fehribach awards, we look for students who have done well in the classroom and who have furthered the cause of access and opportunity either through direct action and/or through their example.
Emme Woodward is a junior from Indianapolis, Indiana. She has a 3.2 GPA and is a Criminal Justice and Criminology major, with a minor in American Sign Language. She is currently a part of the Alliance for Disability Awareness Executive board and works as a tutor for ASL. Emme is also a member of the National Society for Leadership & Success.
Katie L. Witte is a sophomore from Noblesville, Indiana, with a 3.0 GPA. She is a Business Analytics / Information Systems and Operations Management major. Katie is a part of the water polo team and is a member of several other student organizations on campus. Some of which include: the Student Government Association and Women in Business.
Catherine Shepard is a freshman from Jeffersonville, Indiana. She has a 3.85 GPA and is a Music Education major. In addition to that, she is also a bassoon enthusiast. Catherine currently serves as the student worker in the Disability Services office, as well as participates in wheelchair basketball every week. A fun fact about Catherine is that she is a triplet!
Dagon Katz is a sophomore from Bloomington, Indiana. He has a 3.84 GPA and is a Logistics and Supply Chain Management / Information Systems and Operations Management major. Dagon also has minors in Six Sigma and Computer Sciences. In addition to all of this, he has taken on leadership roles within the Logistics Club and has even lined up his summer employment already!
Ethan W. Atterson is a Junior from New Castle, Indiana. He has a 2.78 GPA and is a Music major. Ethan shared with us that he did an internship with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, as well as is a member of United Sound and the Marching Band. Additionally, he is even in a commercial that airs on behalf of Ball State due to his Marching Band experience!
This is the fourth year that we will present a student with an award named in recognition of BSU alum and former Disability Services Director, Larry Markle, along with his family—wife Shana and son Quentin. Larry is still a tremendous supporter of Disability Services. He is now the director of the Fehribach Center at Eskenazi Health which provides paid internships for college students with physical disabilities.
In selecting a student to receive the Markle award, we looked for a student who has done well in the classroom, supported access in the BSU community, and who has completed an internship through the IEEI program. The recipient of this award was Elizabeth Love.
Elizabeth Love is a junior from Carmel, Indiana, with a 3.8 GPA. She is Public Relations major with a minor in Communication Studies. Love was an intern with the Fehribach Center at Eskenazi, as well as a previous Alliance for Disability Awareness Executive Board member. Elizabeth Love is also a huge wheelchair basketball enthusiast and comes out to play each week with a smile on her face.
2022 Gilmer-Adamson Award Recipient
Each year, the top student award given is the Max Adamson Award. The award is named after Max Adamson, a student who attended Ball State from 1976-1985 who was key in helping Ball State achieve the level of accessibility it has today. Although he passed away years ago, his memory thrives in those who knew him. We are adding Dustin Gilmer’s name to this award, because, like Max Adamson, Dustin worked tirelessly for accessibility. And while Dustin was known by many, he was also loved by all.
The Max Adamson Award is given annually to a student with a disability who excels academically, is involved on campus, and believes in creating access and opportunity for others. This year’s award was presented to Katie Delawter, a senior from Mitchell, Indiana. She is a Theater major with a focus on Design and Technology.
Katie currently has a 3.79 GPA and has worked in hair and makeup for several campus shows. In addition to this, she has also been involved behind the scenes at Muncie Civic Theatre, participating in a practicum experience at the Box Office there. She is also a member of Ball State Backstage and has a unique list of skills on her resume such as old age makeup, latex, and wig curling.
Harris-Rose Outstanding Alumnus Recipient
For many years, Disability Services has had the honor to be able to recognize a Ball State alum with a disability who has been successful in their post Ball State endeavors by presenting them with the Outstanding Alumnus Award. The Harris-Rose award is named after Director Emeritus Richard Harris and former student Bruce Rose. This year’s winner of the Harris-Rose Outstanding Alumnus Award was Joe Hodge.
Joe graduated from Ball State University in 2009 with his Bachelor of Science, majoring in Communications. During his time here he worked as a computer lab assistant with Carlos Taylor, as well as was a member of the Radio Club. Joe was also a member of 4H for 10 years and received Indiana’s Young Hero Award in 2002.
Post-graduation, Joe has been busy. Joe Hodge worked with Future Choices, Inc., BOSMA Enterprises, and since 2017, has worked with American Printing House for the Blind. Hodge is currently working as the Technology Product Manager for Global Innovations, facilitating Zoom presentations to highlight APH products. He is always working with people with disabilities and is always striving to make tech more accessible for people with disabilities.
Ball State’s Top 100 Students
This year we also wanted to take a moment as The BSU Foundation solicited nominations from all over campus for students to be recognized in the Top 100. Several of the 100 are students with disabilities. Below are the names of those students. An asterisk (*) by their name denotes that they are in the Top 2.
- Mikaela Bradley
- Rin Steitz*
- Christian DuBois
- Lauren Szymczak
- Emma Laplante
- Mila Vernon
- Corynne Menard
- Madison R. Williams
- Sam Scoma