PROGRAM GRADUATION HIGHLIGHTS SPRING 2022
Susie Schainost, VP Education
“At the beginning of the program, I had some doubts about what I would get from the program because I’ve been in other programs that weren’t helpful for me. This program changed my mind and gave me great information. People don’t know where to go and it gives you a focus place, a place to learn about how to really prepare for getting a job.”— Student J.W. at the April 7, 2022, graduation.
Speaking as a representative of students at the 2021-2022 commencement, another student’s impassioned speech struck a chord with students, mentors, instructors, and the CUNY LEADS faculty from the eight CUNY colleges participating in this year’s program.
“Our story is always evolving. I’m a seasoned student. I didn’t know the elements that went into a 30 Second Pitch, or about my own transferable skills. There is no reason to limit ourselves,” V.W. said.
The ceremony began with Program Coordinator Elaine Rogers welcoming attendees and presenting IMPACTability President Pam Judd and the Board of Directors. Our program embodies IMPACTability’s mission to fight for equal access to employment opportunities for college students with disabilities.
Mentors and advisors play an important role as people who guide students to be successful in school and life. Susie Schainost, IMPACTability ‘s VP of Education and Mentor Coordinator, expressed thanks and appreciation for CUNY LEADS Advisors, the 14 2021-2022 mentors, guest speakers and instructors, and IMPACTability’s Education Committee for their time, energy, and efforts that contributed to a successful year.
After the recognition of mentors, guest instructors, and CUNY LEADS Advisors, attendees enjoyed testimonials from speakers reflecting on the impact of the program. Speakers included CUNY LEADS Marcus Griffith, Disability Accommodation Secialist at CUNY Guttman, and long-time Mentor Charnette Lewis, IMPACTability ‘s Treasurer. Charnette eloquently put into perspective how the mentor’s role focuses not only on the preparation for entering the career world but also in the development of confidence for student mentees.
“The program helped me to prepare for getting a job, face my interviewing nerves, and be an advocate for my future,” said C.N., a graduating student.
Thirteen Certificates of 2021-2022 Program Completion were presented, five students received a $500 scholarship, and two students earned a $500 Recognition of Excellence award.
After the awarding of certificates and scholarships, the ceremony culminated in a Networking Mixer introducing corporate volunteers from Gladstone Place Partners to the program. Students, Mentors, IMPACTability Board members and CUNY LEADS Advisors met in break-out rooms with Gladstone Place’s team members, who shared that the firm consists of individuals with a broad range of backgrounds, including highly regarded business leaders, communications professionals, finance professionals and former senior journalists.
They help companies and organizations to navigate complex matters involving financial communications, strategic positioning issues, crisis situations and corporate governance communications.
Students introduced themselves with their personal 30-Second Pitch and asked for tips for interning, interviewing, and building relationships through networking.
Gladstone Place Partners shared interviewing tips with the students:
· Talk to as many people as you can in the field you’re interested in. Be proactive. Networking is important.
· Ask about the path the individual took to get to their job position.
· Research the company. Prepare your questions ahead of the interview.
· Say, "I have learned as much doing what I don’t like to do as doing what I enjoy doing."
· Be open-minded. We have ideas of what we should be doing; be open to new career areas and opportunities.
April 7, 2022, marked the end of one important journey and the beginning of a new chapter in each of the students’ lives, a group of students full of aspiration, career-readiness skills, who were eager to learn about what the future might hold for them.
“The program teaches the steps for finding a career job by learning all the topics from how to dress, what to say, how to present yourself, and how I can use my transferable skills that can help me to become what I really am in my future. The program helped me to provide my career plan and long-term goals to prepare for my future,” C.N.
When asked how it felt to have the program end, student A.A. said,
“This class has gone too fast, and I don’t want it to end. I will miss everyone because it was a great pleasure for me to interact with others and listen to their ideas and thoughts.”
Summarizing the program another student, A.R., expressed the thoughts shared among the students, mentors, instructors, and attendees,
“It was an honor to spend time in such an optimistic environment,” A.R. said.
ATTENDEES AT GRADUATION
Scholarship Recipients — 5 Students
Recognition of Excellence Recipients: 2 Students
Pam Judd *
Prashant Arora *
Charnette Lewis *
Susie Schainost *
Craig Weitzel *
* Also a Mentor
Gladstone Place Partners