This year, we are highlighting all of the great work that our graduate assistants perform around our campus by featuring the nominees for the 2021 Graduate Assistant of the Year Award.  This award is coordinated by the Career Center, which works with the Graduate School to pick the winner of the award.  We were so impressed by all of the nominees that we are going to feature them on our blog.  Congratulations to all of the nominees!

Kaleb Marr, nominee for Ball State’s 2021 Graduate Assistant of the Year Award

For the 2020-2021 academic year, Kaleb served as a GA to support the Accessible Technology Lab (ACT), located in Robert Bell 168, where he converted educational course materials into accessible formats for students with disabilities.  He was nominated by Nick Baumgartner, the Manager of Accessible Technology in Unified Technology Support. Nicholas said this about Kaleb: “as a GA he performs above and beyond his stated job expectations, and takes his responsibility personally that he is a main player in providing students with disabilities an equitable experience at BSU by providing them with accessible course materials. Not only does he oversee our conversion projects and trains and supervises new undergraduate lab techs, but Kaleb also looks for opportunities to advance accessibility on campus as a whole. Currently, he is using his degree program in Digital Storytelling to tell captivating stories about accessibility in technology, and how important it is – especially for those with disabilities who rely on it to succeed in school. Our goal is to create authentic, meaningful disability perspectives to show the community at large and to help increase visibility and awareness of digital accessibility.”

 Here is a Q & A with Kaleb

Kaleb Marr

What was the most valuable part of your assistantship experience?

The most valuable thing I’ve come to realize during my experience working in the ACT Lab is that while others may be different than you, that doesn’t make them lesser than you. We are all equal. It has been an honor to work closely with the students using the ACT Lab’s resources and doing anything I can to make their lives a little bit easier.

 How do you think your GA assignment has helped you to grow as a professional and a student?

 As a professional, the ACT Lab has allowed me to learn about using adaptive technology, as well as build my digital portfolio. I have been given many opportunities to explore all sides of my industry (Digital Art/Video), all while working in the ACT Lab. It has also allowed me to understand how to better help students from all backgrounds. Helping others is a wonderful feeling.

 Is there anything else you would like to communicate about your experience as a GA?

My experience here has far exceeded my expectations, and I hope to be back in this position again next year! One thing I want to communicate is how great of a manager and person my boss, Nick Baumgartner, is. He’s an extremely diligent and hard-working guy that truly cares about all of his employees and students. I’ve truly never met anyone as kind and understanding as Nick.