Welcome, Savanna!

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Savanna Steed

Savanna Steed, a Masters student in the Speech Language Pathology department at USU, was hired at the beginning of the current school year as the Aggies Elevated MyCLIMB Coordinator. MyCLIMB is the acronym for the Aggies Elevated person-centered planning process, and stands for “My Career Ladder for Independence, Maturity, and Balance.”

In addition to meeting regularly with students to track their progress, Savanna is the first line of support for the mentors, who provide about 10 hours of support per week for Aggies Elevated students.

While Savanna is new to the position, she is no stranger to Aggies Elevated, having been a mentor for two years, as well as a volunteer tutor.

In her free time, Savanna loves to ride her horses, fish at her family’s cabin, and give horse riding and rodeo queen lessons to youth rodeo participants.

Welcome, Savanna!

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Aggies Elevated at Utah State University believes that all individuals, regardless of ability, have the right to meaningful employment, lifelong learning, self-determination and full community inclusion. Utilizing the MyCLIMB (My Career Ladder to Independence, Maturity & Balance) person-centered planning model, Aggies Elevated students, along with invited family members and/or other stakeholders, will chart their own paths toward independence within an individualized framework of supports that identifies challenges, builds on individual strengths and encourages personal responsibility.

Aggies Elevated welcomes new mentor!

By Lindsey Lombard

image of lindsey lombard
Lindsey Lombard

In the fall of 2014, I started my senior capstone project. I needed to pick an organization that was important to me and volunteer. I knew immediately that I wanted to work with the CPD. It was there that I heard about the Aggies Elevated program. I began holding study groups and planning social activities. As I planned activities, I thought a lot about my college experience and wanted all the students to have the same great memories that I did. We did bonfires up the canyon, participated in the Homecoming activities, and cheered on the Aggies in the Spectrum.

This semester I have the opportunity to be a mentor for two Aggies Elevated students. I feel very passionate about the Aggies Elevated program. In 2012, my younger brother was involved in an accident where he received a Traumatic Brain Injury. As he began going back to school and learning the skills he needed to be independent, I realized how much of a need there is for programs like Aggies Elevated. I always wished that there was someone other than our family who wanted to help him achieve his goals. As soon as I heard about Aggies Elevated, I knew wanted to be a part of it. I love setting goals with the students and watching them achieve each one. Sometimes the students don’t even realize the things that they are accomplishing all on their own. I know that this program is set up to help students who have a disability reach their full potential. I am so eager to see what the future holds the Aggies Elevated students.

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Aggies Elevated at Utah State University believes that all individuals, regardless of ability, have the right to meaningful employment, lifelong learning, self-determination and full community inclusion. Utilizing the MyCLIMB (My Career Ladder to Independence, Maturity & Balance) person-centered planning model, Aggies Elevated students, along with invited family members and/or other stakeholders, will chart their own paths toward independence within an individualized framework of supports that identifies challenges, builds on individual strengths and encourages personal responsibility.

Reach for your dreams

Jessica Tremea
Jessica Tremea

By Jessica Tremea, Aggies Elevated mentor

For so long, I have heard people tell students with disabilities what they cannot do, what they will not achieve, and what they should not dream for. I have always found this to be unacceptable. Everyone should have the chance to try and achieve what they wish to. Yes, sometimes we all fail and struggle, but we should always have the opportunity to try to reach our dreams.

One reason I decided to study education and become a teacher was because I love watching and helping students to discover what they are passionate about. I love watching students build dreams based off of those passions, and come up with a plan to fulfill those dreams. I knew that as an Aggies Elevated mentor, I would be in the position to help these students with discovering and fulfilling their dreams. That is what education is all about, and these students have just as much a right to fulfilling their dreams as any other.

I knew that the students coming in to this program would have dreams and I wanted the chance to be the person that could give them the supports they need to succeed here. I am a student myself, studying elementary education and special education, and I know what it takes to succeed as a college student. I wanted to share that knowledge with these students. I wanted to experience college with them and watch as they learned what living on their own, going to school, and becoming independent is all about. I wanted to be there to help them when times get rough or when some unexpected life lesson comes up.

I remember what it was like moving out for the first time, trying to take care of myself, and trying to figure out who I was. I wanted to be there for these students as they tried to do the same. I thought that this program was such a wonderful opportunity for these students. This program allowed for them to finally have the chance to chase their dreams. No one would be here to tell them no, they can’t or shouldn’t, but we would be here to tell them that yes, they can and should!

We are here to help them and show them what they were really capable of doing. I have watched them so far and all the progress they are making and it is so wonderful. They are realizing that the future is in their hands. I have seen them discover their passions and dreams are possible and it is the most amazing thing ever. I am so lucky to work with these students and to be a mentor in this program. These students are going places, and I am proud to be a part of that.

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Aggies Elevated at Utah State University believes that all individuals, regardless of ability, have the right to meaningful employment, lifelong learning, self-determination and full community inclusion. Utilizing the MyCLIMB (My Career Ladder to Independence, Maturity & Balance) person-centered planning model, Aggies Elevated students, along with invited family members and/or other stakeholders, will chart their own paths toward independence within an individualized framework of supports that identifies challenges, builds on individual strengths and encourages personal responsibility.

Aggies Elevated is pure awesomeness

By Shelby Foster

image of shelby foster
Shelby Foster

After hearing about Aggies Elevated, I was stoked that a program like this was coming to Utah State. USU is already an incredible University and Aggies Elevated has just added to its already pure awesomeness. I immediately knew this program was going to be life-changing for everyone involved and I wanted to be a part of it.

College is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had; it’s exciting, intimidating, challenging, and fun all at the same time. When I think about my last three years as an Aggie, I want nothing more than to help others have just as great of an experience. College is, of course, about deciding a major, walking up Old Main in zero degree weather to get to class, and studying until the wee hours of the night, but it’s also so much more than that. College is about learning how to get along with a bunch of people who come from completely different backgrounds, figuring how to do laundry without Mom there to remind you, and choosing who you want to become.

I’m not the perfect student. There’s still so much I don’t know for myself, but I’ve gone through homesickness, fighting the freshman 15, and endured the dating scene. I want to pass down my knowledge and experience to incoming Aggies. I want to be a friend and support they can rely on as they adjust to the biggest change they’ve had in their lives thus far. I hope through working as an Aggies Elevated mentor I can help my mentees uncover their passion and find that one thing, or several things, that drive them to be a better person. I hope I can be an advocate for these students and show our society that people with disabilities have more in common with us than differences, and just like any other freshman they are here to work hard and have fun as they experience life as an Aggie!

Shelby Foster is a peer mentor in the Aggies Elevated program.

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Aggies Elevated at Utah State University believes that all individuals, regardless of ability, have the right to meaningful employment, lifelong learning, self-determination and full community inclusion. Utilizing the MyCLIMB (My Career Ladder to Independence, Maturity & Balance) person-centered planning model, Aggies Elevated students, along with invited family members and/or other stakeholders, will chart their own paths toward independence within an individualized framework of supports that identifies challenges, builds on individual strengths and encourages personal responsibility.

Taking it to the Streets

By Justin Anderson, social media intern

Image of group of people next to street painting.
Most of our Aggies Elevated students participated in the street painting activity, with help from volunteer Lindsey and mentor Shelby.

As homecoming week started this week at USU with it’s slew of activities, students at Aggies Elevated had the opportunity to join in on the festivities as the annual street painting activity got under way.

On Tuesday, students from the program gathered on “Aggie Bullevard” to claim their square of asphalt to paint. With only white and blue paint to use, they painted a white square with blue letters proclaiming the name of the program: Aggies Elevated.

This being the first semester of the program, it isn’t very well known among the student body.

“People were walking by and were saying ‘what is Aggies Elevated,’ ‘I don’t know,’” Amity said.

The students enjoyed being able to leave their mark on campus and hoped that it might help people learn a little bit more about the organization.

Taylor is happy when people recognize her and know what she is accomplishing here at USU.

“It makes me happy inside,” Taylor said. “It makes me feel like I want to talk to them more.”

Riley was excited that he was able to paint the street and proudly showed the dried paint on the bottom of his shoes as proof that he had been there.

Not only have they made their mark on the street, but they have made a mark on the school.

Visit our Facebook page for more photos!

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Aggies Elevated at Utah State University believes that all individuals, regardless of ability, have the right to meaningful employment, lifelong learning, self-determination and full community inclusion. Utilizing the MyCLIMB (My Career Ladder to Independence, Maturity & Balance) person-centered planning model, Aggies Elevated students, along with invited family members and/or other stakeholders, will chart their own paths toward independence within an individualized framework of supports that identifies challenges, builds on individual strengths and encourages personal responsibility.

Meet Jessica, an Aggies Elevated mentor

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Aggies Elevated at Utah State University believes that all individuals, regardless of ability, have the right to meaningful employment, lifelong learning, self-determination and full community inclusion. Utilizing the MyCLIMB (My Career Ladder to Independence, Maturity & Balance) person-centered planning model, Aggies Elevated students, along with invited family members and/or other stakeholders, will chart their own paths toward independence within an individualized framework of supports that identifies challenges, builds on individual strengths and encourages personal responsibility.