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News release from IPFW:

IPFW Graduate Student Wins 2015 Purdue Focus Award

(March 19, 2015) — Kate Jones, a graduate student in education with a major in special education at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), has been awarded the prestigious 2015 Focus Award by Purdue University.

This award is given annually to individuals affiliated with Purdue who have made an outstanding contribution to the furthering of Purdue’s commitment to disability accessibility and disability diversity initiatives. Jones was selected to receive the student award for her efforts to improve campus accessibility and inclusion for those with disabilities at the IPFW campus.

Jones’ faculty thesis advisor Jeong-il Cho, assistant professor and program director in special education, believes that Jones deserves the award. “She is dedicated and hardworking,” she said, “in assisting other students with disabilities, raising awareness of the importance of appropriate services, and accommodating college students with disabilities to increase their success and graduation rates.”

“I came to IPFW with a passion for helping individuals with disabilities, and now through my graduate classes I have been able to research what has been an idea of mine for years,” said Jones. “I want college students with disabilities to have the resources and knowledge to have a successful college experience.”

The survey revealed that students with disabilities felt they struggled academically, and that starting their college career could be frustrating. Information from Jones’ paper was used to create a new handbook, The Survival Guide for College Students with Disabilities, The handbook covers self-advocacy, self-determination, laws related to college students with disabilities, and information about campus and community resources. It also includes an overview of the survey results to reassure students that they are not alone in their concerns. The goal is to give them information to assist them as they go through college and help them achieve their life goals.

Jones was honored at a ceremony on Tuesday, March 3, in the Purdue Memorial Union on the West Lafayette Campus.

 

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