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Professor with disability is interviewed about working

Employee Spotlight: Christopher, Dakota State University

December 01, 2016

It’s amazing the satisfying and rewarding work you can do when the settings and accommodations are just right. Employment is a right – so what are you passionate about?

Christopher, a professor at Dakota State University (DSU) in Madison, is a great example of a person with a disability who has taken his passion and driven it into a successful career as an educator.

His story

With a passion for interacting with and helping students both online and in-person, Christopher knew that he belonged in the classroom. As an assistant professor of computer information systems at DSU, he teaches freshman- to graduate-level coursework in web programming and mobile app development. But he was initially concerned that the modified typing technique necessitated by his disability would slow his process down and potentially bore his students.

His success

Christopher has found that the opposite is true. Once he gets in front of a classroom, he teaches as many as three classes per day with great success with his very dedicated students. Thanks to an accommodating schedule and office placement, Christopher is happy with his work situation at DSU and his students are garnering the needed skills to be successful at programming.

His words

As Christopher himself puts it, “I would encourage any business to hire somebody with a disability. Work is very fulfilling for me, so I give extra effort to ensure that I go above and beyond what is expected of me.” He adds, “It is rewarding to have students depend on me for part of their education. DSU has been a wonderful place to work, and I appreciate when my hard work is acknowledged and rewarded.”

The misconception

When faced with the notion that people with disabilities have “diminished intelligence,” Christopher is quick to point out that assistive technology and hardware has afforded many people to work in a variety of fields effectively and efficiently. “I’m reminded of Stephen Hawking,” he said. “He cannot move or speak without technology but is one of the most brilliant minds of our time.”

Christopher is proof that you can achieve with the right tools and the right support. If you need a head start in landing your ideal job, we’re here to help. 

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