Students excel thanks to inclusive education
By Justin Contenti, Student and Enrolment Services, University of Calgary
This week, five University of Calgary students celebrate completing their post-secondary studies, as they receive their certificates of completion from the Inclusive Post-Secondary Education (IPSE) program.
Since its establishment in 1992, the IPSE program has been ensuring that students with developmental disabilities receive an authentic university experience. These diverse learners attend classes, participate in clubs, and take part in all aspects of student life. Like the majority of their peers, IPSE students spend four to five years pursuing their academic goals, exploring new friendships, and celebrating their passions.
During her three years at the University of Calgary, Rubeen Gosal most enjoyed being part of the campus community, being able to choose her classes, and pursue subjects relating to her most pronounced interests.
“Everyone here is so friendly and it was great being in the same classroom as my friends, learning the same things they were,” says Gosal.
While attending university, Gosal was part of the Indian Students Association, the Western Animation Club, and Students for Literacy. She was also a junior leader with the Mini University Summer Camps, and was a preschool assistant at a local school.
Her love for working with children drove her to pursue a major in education, and she hopes to obtain her Level Two Certification in childcare now that she has completed school. Gosal completed her first two years of school at Mount Royal University, where she was enrolled in the Disability Studies Program.
Gosal’s best advice to new students joining the IPSE program next year would be to “have fun and enjoy your time at university, because it goes by very fast.”
Graduating with a specialization in psychology, Alexis Lo says university was both hard and fun at the same time.
In her five years at the University of Calgary, Lo took many different psychology and art classes, but particularly enjoyed learning about children with special needs. She was also passionate about her drawing classes with professor Eric Cameron.
Through participation in the Greek Club, Yoga Club and Swing Dance Club, Lo made a number of new friends. She also participated in various sports with Special Olympics, including swimming, skiing, track and field, golf, and floor hockey. Additionally, Lo volunteered at the University Childcare Centre on campus, and the UCalgaryStrong Festival.
Since finishing her courses, Lo has travelled to Hong Kong to visit family, and hopes to start working on her childcare certification. She says she would advise any new students to “work hard, try their best on their exams, and make lots of new friends.”
Kelsey McHarg discovered her passion for history while attending the University of Calgary for the past five years. She notes her love for learning about different cultures, including those of India and Ireland — and was even able to realize her dream of visiting Ireland near the end of her last school year.
McHarg made many new friends while attending university, but was also happy to be able to attend her university classes with many of her friends from high school, who are still close friends.
While at the University of Calgary, McHarg was part of the Improv Club, where she enjoyed acting exercises and improvisational games with her peers. After graduation, McHarg plans to continue to travel, and to further explore her love of cooking. Her best advice to new students: “Follow your dreams.”
While attending the University of Calgary, Adriane Churcher was an active contributor to her community. She spent several years helping out at the Women’s Resource Centre, where she says she learned a great deal while forming many new relationships. Churcher also volunteered with the International Children’s Festival, and participated in the Students for Literacy club.
In the classroom, Churcher took an interest in anthropology and archaeology. Her favourite course was Greek and Roman Studies 209, because she loved learning about the Greek gods and goddesses.
Churcher also worked as a gate attendant for the Dinos during the 2016/17 season, and pursued a number of her own sports-related interests, including swimming, curling, bowling, golf, softball, and track and field with Special Olympics.
After spending some time travelling this summer, Churcher plans to pursue a part-time job, and will continue to celebrate her love of sports through Special Olympics. Her advice to new students is that “while the campus is a really big place, it’s not so scary once you learn where everything is.”
Aswathi Sreenivasan says her overall experience at the University of Calgary was great. Her academic concentration in psychology allowed her to learn about interesting things relating to the brain and human behaviour in a friendly, supportive environment.
While attending the university, Sreenivasan was involved in the Indian Students Club, and was a volunteer at CJSW Radio.
Sreenivasan loves working with children thanks to her passion for helping others. After graduation, her plans include working at a daycare with children three years old or older, as she aspires to assist them in developing increased social skills through play. She also enjoys facilitating crafts and dancing with them.
Sreenivasan says that through the IPSE program, she has realized greater independence by learning to take the train — and that she has had fun going to school with her friends.
Her advice to new students is to “always have high hopes, study hard, get your homework done — and if you feel stressed, take a deep breath.”
Published online on June 7, 2017 at: https://ucalgary.ca/utoday/issue/2017-06-07/class-2017-students-excel-thanks-inclusive-education