Pathways - Helping Students Find Success

Montage: Julian and his professor and podcast recording, Zack working and with his boss, Markus looking at paintings and poster.
JANUARY 2018 -The DORS Pathways program provides additional supports to college students on the autism spectrum by assisting students with: self-advocacy, communication and organization skills, and by helping them to identify campus resources. Pathways staff also provide education and support to college personnel regarding working with students on the autism spectrum.
Thirty-four students participated in Pathways in calendar year 2017: Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) Essex - 4; CCBC Catonsville - 6; Howard Community College - 4; Montgomery College Rockville - 20. Fifteen new students entered Pathways and 7 exited, completing their Associates degrees in 2017.
Pathways helps students find success during and after college. DORS recently sat down with some Pathways participants to learn a bit about how the program has helped them succeed.
Julian Johnson – is a student at CCBC, Catonsville where he is in his third semester and majoring in Mass Communication. To hone his mass comm skills, Julian has joined CCBC’s New Media Collective and begun Julian’s Rockin’ Radio Podcast where he’s been working on a heavy metal series, producing 5 podcasts during the 2017 school year.
"I've worked on this [podcast] series, the history of heavy takes several weeks of recording and editing just to do one, plus interviewing a guest." His professor, Beth Baunoch, says Julian understands what it takes to create a quality podcast: “Julian was very focused on what his piece would be... You have to do all the pre-work…and the editing and take out all the 'ums' because the audience won't forgive that. It has to be produced and sound professional.” Julian works with DORS Autism Services Specialist, Whitney Gray, and is grateful that she encouraged him to join the New Media Collective. In recommending Julian for this story, Whitney described him this way: "Julian Johnson is doing such awesome things at CCBC Catonsville!"
Markus McClellan - attends CCBC Catonsville and during the fall 2017 semester, he participated in the Art in the Round charity event hosted by The ARC of Baltimore. Artists entered their work in the show, and then the art works are auctioned off; the artists have a chance to win 60% of the proceeds (the remaining proceeds benefit The Arc). Whitney Gray encouraged Markus to enter some of his work and two of his paintings were accepted and included in the auction; both pieces sold, for a total of $300. Whitney: "I am sooo proud of [Markus], he not only went to the event, he also networked and made so many friends while he was there. He plans to participate in the event every year going forward!"
Zachary Rothfeld – is a May 2017 Montgomery College graduate, a former Pathways participant, and employed as a concierge at the Bender JCC of Greater Washington. While in Pathways, Zack worked with Pathways Facilitator, Janine Ross, who says that Zack was a model Pathways student. "He had been working really hard to seek employment hoping that he would have a job by the time he graduated. Not only did he get a job, he got the job that he really wanted less than one week after he earned his degree."
His Bender JCC supervisor, Jonathan Levine (Senior Director, Member & Guest Services), also has high praise for Zack: "He looked good on paper, the interview was great, [and] I knew before he left that day that he was the guy." Jonathan notes that Zack works on Sundays, the busiest and least staffed day at the JCC, but handles the front desk with ease. “Zack is very good at keeping his cool under pressure.”
Zack says Pathways helped him develop his social and workplace soft skills: “I learned to communicate more and open up more." And, of the hectic pace on Sundays, he says with a smile: “It’s just another work day.” Zack's efforts have been further rewarded with what he describes as a "mini promotion"; he will be working more hours and will have a Sunday through Thursday schedule. He is excited about the change: "It feels good...that's what the ultimate goal was for me to increase my hours and get towards 40... I am looking forward to it!"
NOTE: Pathways, and Julian and Zachary, are featured in DORS 2017 Annual Report.