The Other Side of Disabilities

The Office for Students with Disabilities Newsletter
Division of Student Affairs

Vol VIII, Issue 3, Summer 2007,   Editor:  James Walborn



The FAU LifeLong Learning Society first started providing the OSD students with the opportunity for a scholarship in 1994.  They are now generously providing four scholarships to each of the Colleges at FAU and to OSD students. The LLS scholarships for the OSD are specifically for students with disabilities who have demonstrated excellence in education and service to the University and community while at FAU.  OSD Students receiving the $1000 scholarships must demonstrate financial need and have a GPA of at least 3.0, as well as providing public service.  On behalf of our students, thank you for your philanthropy.


Former OSD student, Tamsyn Carey, is being promoted to the position of Director of Division of Engineering Student Services (DESS).  Tamsyn graduated with her MBA degree from FAU in 2002 and has been working for DESS since 2005.  A major task will be to encourage recruitment into the Engineering programs.  “Fewer U.S. students are choosing to major in Engineering, so we’re losing our edge by not developing enough engineers,” Tamsyn states. 
“At FAU we have rather extensive precollege programs in which high school students get credit for taking classes with our Engineering professors.  They get to learn about the various fields, and it really exposes them to Engineering.” 

“I think that it’s important that people don’t pigeonhole individuals with disabilities regarding what they can and cannot do.  It’s very important to be open-minded about all different capabilities because it is really amazing what people can accomplish when given the opportunity,” Tamsyn asserts.  “The people in the College of Engineering are one of the best groups that I’ve ever worked with.   They have really encouraged me to grow both personally and professionally.” 

“I am forever appreciative to the OSD.  If it had not been for the support that this office provided me throughout my education it would have been impossible for me to have earned my degrees.   Then I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I have now.  In turn, it has inspired me to help more students because of all the help that I’ve received along the way,” Tamsyn acknowledges.  She is currently pursuing her PhD at FAU.  Best of luck, and congratulations, Tamsyn!!!


We would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the Survey from the previous OSD Newsletter.  We use your suggestions to help generate articles in the future.  There were twice as many staff members as faculty members returning the survey.  Over half of the respondents have read all or most of the issues and 80% found the content informative or highly informative.  There is on-going curiosity about disabilities and professors continue to appreciate information which assists them in the classroom.  For those of you who prefer an electronic version, the Newsletter is on our website at and we plan to utilize other electronic means to distribute it as well in the future.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your suggestions to


We would like to encourage all FAU faculty to include a statement regarding students with disabilities on their syllabi.  For example:  "In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) students who require special accommodations due to a disability to properly execute coursework must register with the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) located on the Boca Campus, SU 133, (561) 297-3880, on the Davie Campus, MD I (954) 236-1222, on the Jupiter Campus, Office of Diversity Services,   SR 117, (561) 799-8585, or on the Treasure Coast Campus, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, JU 113, (772) 873-3305, and follow all OSD procedures."  We appreciate your co-operation in this matter. 


Carolina Auster is the new OSD Testing Facilitator.  Originally from Brazil, she has a background in family and juvenile law.  “I love working with people.”  She attended Northern Illinois University as an exchange student in 2001.  “I love it here in the U.S.  I was so amazed how people that didn’t know me at all were so helpful.” 

In 2003 Carolina returned to the U.S. for her sister’s wedding and met her future husband and has been working with him in his business prior to coming to FAU.  “I’m so happy to be here at FAU.  I think that it’s going to be very fulfilling for me to be doing something that is so meaningful.  I hope eventually that Brazil comes to this level for helping students with disabilities.” 

Likes: “My husband and I love to take walks in the parks and go to the beach.  I like to cook and to read and I love music.  I take pictures at family gatherings and make slide shows and add songs and make copies for everybody in the family.”

Dislikes: “People doing crazy things in traffic.” 

Anything unusual in the refrigerator: “Brazilian food such as guava paste, which I use in a lot of my recipes.” 


“I tend to get wrapped up in my studies, to the point that I forget what makes me passionate about my pursuits.  That’s one reason why I agreed to work with students with disabilities,” states Derek McGrath, who recently graduated from FAU in May, 2007.  Highly respected by everyone, he received the April 2007 MacAward, Unsung Hero Student Award after being nominated by about 25 students and staff.

“I needed to find activities outside of class in order to focus on something other than earning my degree.  Thankfully, Naomi Greelis at the Jupiter Campus was looking for a test scribe for a student’s final exam.  I decided I would step away from my essays and exams in order to devote some time for assisting students who needed help with their own finals.” 

“Although being a scribe and notetaker sometimes took me away from my assignments, the experiences prepared me for a career in education.  When I studied alone, I forgot the importance of interacting with others in order to make my ideas understandable.  As a test scribe I learned how to be a teacher by guiding the student through the writing process and the experiences are helping me understand my upcoming responsibilities in graduate school.”

“After 1½ years working with students with disabilities, learning from these lessons about listening and writing, I’m going to start an English PhD program at Stony Brook University. Even though this will be very time-consuming, I want to get involved with whatever disabled student programs are available.  I think that there are minutes available each day to do something productive outside my usual routine.”


By Derek McGrath

The first time I scribed for my student was physically painful.  I was writing by hand and scribbled notes across the page and margins in order to create a workable outline for the essay.  The blue exam book looked like typewriter vomit, a mess of letters that, thankfully, the student and I discerned well enough to make into her final exam essay.  Later, I used a computer, which was faster and less tactually painful.

Later, the student and I focused more extensively on the outlining process.  While she was speaking, I jotted notes and whatever ideas she was saying during her free-association discourse.  That way, I avoided frantically scrambling to write as fast as I could.  With this method, I had her ideas written down for reference when she would start organizing her essay.

The notes and outlines were helpful, but not for me to write the paper.  It was still up to the student, and I was simply writing her thoughts down so that she could review them and determine what her argument would be, as well as for me to understand what types of words or unfamiliar ideas she would say to me.  These lessons were important in order to finish scribing the student’s exam before the deadline, and the experiences are helping me understand my upcoming responsibilities in graduate school.  [Editor’s note: Thank you, Derek, for sharing your experiences with us]


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This newsletter is available in alternate format upon request from the Office for Students with Disabilities. Boca: SU 133; phone 561.297.3880, TTY 561.297.0358. Davie: MD I, Room 104; phone 954.236.1222, TTY 954.236.1146. Jupiter: SR 117; phone 561.799.8585, TTY 561.799.8565. Treasure Coast: JU 312; phone 772.873.3441.

FAU Campuses: Boca Raton/Davie/Dania Beach/Fort Lauderdale/Jupiter/Treasure Coast Boca Raton Campus Danie Beach Campus Davie Campus Fort Lauderdale Campus Harbor Branch Campus Jupiter Campus Treasure Campus
 Last Modified 8/27/15