National Disability Employment Awareness Summit

The Office of Diversity and Community Engagement strives to accomplish the fulfillment of the University's commitment to embrace, enhance and celebrate diversity at all levels of the University and our community through the efforts of faculty, staff, students, the executive leadership and corporate community partnerships. The Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, in partnership with the Office of Student AccessAbility, The Office of Institutional Equity & Compliance and our corporate partner Raytheon addressed the training needs and diversity challenges of college students with disabilities transitioning to the workforce.

University faculty, staff, students, caregivers and corporate community members were invited to attend the AccessAbility Summit. This seminar addressed a number of promising approaches that are available to support students’ preparation for the workplace demands of the new global economy. To maximize the effectiveness of these approaches, special focus was put on increasing rigor, relevance and engagement as it relates to students who have traditionally faced barriers to successful workforce transitions. The University’s goal is to broaden awareness of disability employment in order to create a strong partnership between students, faculty, staff and the corporate community in the North Dallas area.

America’s Workforce: Empowering All

The summit is devoted to providing information from the individual, advocate and provider perspectives on some of the communication challenges involved in seeking and delivering solutions for better transitioning from college to work.

Kristy Mandigo - Keynote Speaker (Raytheon Employee)

Kristy Mandigo was born and raised in upstate New York, (Pulaski). She was born with a perinatal brain injury, which resulted into Cerebral Palsy. In her early years, her learning disabilities were realized, and the "dumb” label was instituted. In the later teens, Epilepsy presented its arrival. Kristy currently has 26 disorders and counting. The disorders have provided both challenges and gifts, depending on how she is able to foster and develop the skills. Kristy struggled through childhood and young adult years physically, intellectually and emotionally. The struggle remains, but the story on how she became a successful engineering manager at Raytheon is inspiring.

Jane Thierfeld Brown - Keynote Speaker

Jane Thierfeld Brown is Director of College Autism Spectrum and former Director of Student Services at the University of Connecticut School of Law. She has worked in Disability Services for 37 years. She holds an Ed.D from Columbia University, Teachers College. Dr. Brown consults with many families, students, school districts and institutions of higher education. Dr. Brown has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS News, and NPR. She has co-authored “ Student with Asperger’s: A Guide for College Professionals,” (2009) translated and published in Japan 2017, “The Parent’s Guide to College for Students on the Autism Spectrum,” (2012) and “Behavior Management and Self-Regulation,” (2012) along with many textbook chapters and articles. Dr. Brown is married and has three children, the youngest being a 25 year old son with Autism.