- Leila Flores-Torres, Assistant Director, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
- Tonya Paulette, Director, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
- Length of Session: 1-hr
- Format: Lecture
- Expertise Level: Expert
- Type of session: General Conference
This presentation focuses on the contribution of student workers to the expansion of accessibility services and sense of belonging of students with disabilities. It highlights the experiences and perspectives of two types of university students: those who provide accessibility services, and those who are the beneficiaries of services and supports.
Students’ Perspectives: Leveraging Student Workers to Expand Services and Increase Sense of Belonging
Positive student and faculty interactions also highlights the importance of peer-to-peer interactions in the university community (Tinto, 1987; Freeman, Anderman & Jensen, 2007). Intrinsic motivation, and academic mastery have been associated with increased sense of belonging (Osterman, 2000; Tao, Iong & Wu, 2008). This is particularly important for students with disabilities receiving accessibility services. This study focuses on the contribution of student workers to the expansion of services and sense of belonging of students with disabilities. It highlights the experiences and perspectives of two types of university students: those who provide accessibility services, and those who are the beneficiaries of services and supports. Student workers provide a wide variety of key services to students with disabilities, including alternate format, outreach, case management, tutorials, a
- Leveraging student workers
- Enhancing accessibility services
- Sense of belonging
Leila Flores-Torres obtained a degree in clinical psychology from Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Monterrey, México, a Master’s degree in School Psychology from the University of Texas Pan-American, and a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Leila has worked in the fields of education and disabilities for over 20 years. She has also provided mental health counseling, and has conducted disability outreach and research. Leila currently works as the Assistant Director for UTRGV’s Student Accessibility Services Office, as is a part-time lecturer with the School of Rehabilitation. She has co-authored several research publications. Leila has presented her work nationally and internationally, in the United States, Mexico, India and Japan.
Tonya Paulette serves as the Director of Student Accessibility Services at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) in Edinburg, Texas. Ms. Paulette has spent more than 20 years working in the field of disabilities, with 6 years in higher education and 14 years in public school districts where her roles included Educational Diagnostician, Autism Services Coordinator, and Licensed Specialist in School Psychology. She holds a Master’s degree in Psychology and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She is also currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership at UTRGV.