Going Above and Beyond for UConn Students

UConn Foundation
UConn Foundation

3 min read

Meet the staff members who are changing lives at the UConn Center for Students with Disabilities.

Christine Wenzel
Name: Christine Wenzel
Position: Associate Director

Students’ success is often measured by their GPA, however, we know that for many students, it is those things not directly measured by their GPA that retain them at the University.  Beyond Access works with students on creating strategies to help them navigate life in and out of the classroom. The individual growth I have seen from students doing the program cannot be quantified and have served them well beyond their time at UConn.

 

 

Sophie Rodenbush

Name: Sophie Rodenbush
Position: Strategy Instructor

“For me, the biggest impact I’ve seen working with students in BA is that it gives them the strategies to work toward their goals, based on their strengths. People are more likely to use strategies that work for them and play to their strengths, which is why I think the personalized aspect of BA is so important.”

 

Rachel Finlaw

Name: Rachel Finlaw
Position: Strategy Instructor
“Beyond Access allows students to grow and excel in a productive, nurturing, respectful environment on the Stamford Campus. The biggest impact I have experienced is watching my students become more confident in their skills and become better advocates for themselves. It has been a privilege to help guide students and give them the proper skillset needed to have success at UConn.”

 

Emily Sears

Name: Emily Sears
Position: Strategy Instructor
“Beyond Access acts as a holistic approach to encouraging student success not only through placing an emphasis on academic support systems but social-emotional ones as well. The transition from high school to college is one that students may find to be particularly difficult, as the increase in autonomy and workload can cause stress and anxiety levels to rise. Beyond Access looks at all identities of the student and I work with each student individually, highlighting and utilizing their natural strengths to help them both define their personalized idea of success, and help them reach their goals. Seeing the increases in self-confidence, self-determination and self-advocacy in my students from the beginning of the semester to the end further proves the benefits of the Beyond Access program through CSD.”

 

Benjamin Briskin

Name: Benjamin Briskin
Position: Strategy Instructor

What I have seen to be the biggest impact of the program: In my experience with the Beyond Access program, its impact has positively affected students in several ways. Students grow more comfortable being at UConn and feel supported through weekly meetings and the relationships built over the course of the semester(s). And students learn about themselves, in terms of the strategies that guide how they effectively study, complete work, and everything in between. The Beyond Access program helps students navigate through the challenges of any given semester, and equips them with resources for problem-solving for any situation that comes up.” 

 

Sundari Birdsall

Name: Sundari Birdsall
Position: Strategy Instructor

From my perspective, BA helps students get out of ineffective habits and helps them build better ones. Having a Strategy Instructor to thoroughly examine and critique how a student is planning, studying, and managing their time truly does help students waste less time and get better grades with less effort. For incoming freshmen, I have seen BA be especially helpful because it provides consistency; students can count on talking to someone who will listen and has knowledge of campus resources. Honestly, this kind of goal-focused consultation would have been helpful to me when I was in college!” 

 

You can impact the lives of students at UConn by supporting programs like Beyond Access.

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