Students and Early Career Professionals: Expectations Matter
KATE FIALKOWSKI 0:02
Hi, this is Kate Fialkowski with the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. This is being recorded for the Dischange 20 symposium online. We're currently hearing from students and early career professionals on the topic, Expectations matters. I'm delighted to have Jonathan Atiencia with us. Jonathan is a disability advocate and the 2019 2020 Disability Resources Rep on the Temple University Student Government parliament. Jonathan, I can't thank you enough for being here with us today. Thank you so much.
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 0:39
You're very welcome. It's a pleasure to be here. And it's an honor to have this interview with you.
KATE FIALKOWSKI 0:45
I'm so excited about this. Now. I know a little bit about you, but our listeners do not know anything about you. So what would you like to share with them about yourself and about yourself as a student at Temple
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 1:01
So about myself is that I have a learning disability and I get support and services off campus that help me with my academics. So I have a support coordinator that helps me with my academics and also pay for my education to get the resources I need to help be more successful at Temple.
And I also work in Temple's student government, like I create projects, programs and policies for the students. Like for their voices like to be heard on campus. So like, I'm here like to discuss with the students and ask them what problems or situations they're having. And I can figure out ways on how to improve it or to fix the problems or if there are ways to could make connections with them or like to like to fix them. Like I'm a problem solver. So I like to fix things and solve student's problems.
I'm very good at it and very talented, like I have amazing ideas on projects and programs that could help with disability resources for students with disabilities.
KATE FIALKOWSKI 2:29
Thank you. Now you help students, what you just said about helping students and being a terrific problem solver. So how do you find out about the problems that students need to have fixed? How do you know what they are?
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 2:48
So I created a Google Form last year. And I sent out the Google Form to ask what problems they're having, what challenges they're having and I got 190 responses back from students,
KATE FIALKOWSKI 3:06
Wow, that's great
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 3:06
So that's a lot and the most concerning thing they are looking for is accessibility access on campus, in their environment.
To have tutors help take notes on campus. And they also want to have a training program for Professors. Like what is an accommodation is, what, how to respect a person with disability or how to communicate with a person with a disability. Students want the professor to be educated about intellectual and physical disabilities. So I'm working on another project for this program to have a educational training program for all professor to be educated and to learn. If they gonna hire a professor they need to know a level of background what it is so they can be prepare and ready for students who have an intellectual disability within their classes.
So by that I also mean to make any event on campus or online. So we are allowed to like get information, contact them, ask questions and see how they're doing on campus. Were there any problems with the professors, any assignments, or any classes? Or they difficult problems at home? So like, for me that I want to have like, have a get together community like to discuss as a group and just hear other people's stories. Like I want hear their stories. I want to like, to advocate for them and also I want their voices to be heard. like to work together as a team when students have problems.
KATE FIALKOWSKI 5:06
So that's awesome. I really appreciate all of the work that you do and I know that there is work to be done. So thank you for for working on behalf of all of the students and the faculty and staff on campus too. Thanks a lot.
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 5:23
Yeah, no problem
KATE FIALKOWSKI 5:25
Now, the topic that we have for this symposium is called combating implicit bias. And your specific topic of categories that people I have interviewing on this are really talking about "expectations matters". So can you tell me why is this topic of bias and employment and expectations? Why is this topic important to you?
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 5:55
The reason why it's important to me is because like employers need to understand that people have an intellectual or physical disability.
Like they need to get to know them, but not to judge them of who they are and what they were born with,like for me, I think it's important that every employer from every company, they need to get to know the person who is hiring or doing the interview process. They need to get to know them before juding them.
But if you judge person, like you don't know who they are, like, you don't know what they're capable of, like, you could be wrong about them. Mainly like, he could do this kind of job.
But you don't know it yet because in order to, like hire a person with an intellectual or physical disability, they like have the power like they are capable of doing the work but they have needs and like they need some learning needs to help them.
They will do different things to help us to get the work done. Like we get accommodation plan like that help us in the field. If they have a problem with using the stairway they could use the elevator or if they have a problem of opening the door there is an automatic door for them,
In the future like they can go request accommodation plans for the job, for their employees. And their employers are required to get the services they need for people with intellectual or physical disability. They are capable of doing the job or they are capable of handling the work.
KATE FIALKOWSKI 7:47
Hey,I.. I'm sorry. Sorry. Can I ask you a question?
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 7:56
KATE FIALKOWSKI 7:56
Hey, I I was just listening to what you were saying. And you're talking about, you know, hey people really are capable of doing the job and doing the work. Yeah. So, you know, so we should have expectations of people. What does that mean having expectations and why are people judging us and and how do we stop it? I know that's a lot of questions but really Jonathan, what are what are we to tell people to do here?
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 8:35
To have expectations that you need to believe, like to believe in yourself, right? You need to have the confidence in yourself you can get things done. By the people who are supporting you like friends and family. If someone doesn't understand you, like you need to educate them you need to let them know how you are feeling. You need to let them know. You are a human being with feelings.
Like they don't know that. You need to tell the community. You need to tell the people about what you are feeling right now. Because, they don't know. You need to, have courage, confidence that you could be brave and strong, right? Tell them like. I can do this job! right? You can't tell me what to do. Because this is the career I want to do. This is my dream job. I want to do it. Well, if I want to do something, I do it.
KATE FIALKOWSKI 9:38
Well, I mean, what happens though, like, I hear this all the time, I don't know if you do? But I hear all the time people being told, oh, well, this, this job isn't right for you.
So you know, what do people do in that situation when somebody is like oh, You know, this job isn't right for you?
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 10:03
But you need to like, prove them wrong that is right for you. Like, you have the skills. That you could get this job, right? You've been to the training program. You've been to an internship like you need to prove them wrong. I can definitely do this even if I can't like have confidence, because I've got skills that I need. I went to the school, the classes that I need for this job, for this career development. But like, I have the skills, but I will show you what I can do. I can prove you wrong. This is the right job for me. I got the skills, the school, the studying, and the education. I got, what was that, 'cause like to show them to show them I can do this kind of job and activity. To prove them wrong that they should hire me, and I'm good qualifier for this position.
KATE FIALKOWSKI 11:03
And then for employers, Jonathan, I mean how how can employers help? How can employers what can employers do to make things better?
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 11:20
To have a one on one conversation.
KATE FIALKOWSKI 11:23
A one on one conversation?
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 11:25
Yes, with that employer, what difficulties you're having and discuss how we can fix this problem.
And like to tell them like, how is there any other resources we can use like to improve this problem we're having? Or like to, discuss with them, to see what resources we can fix or cannot fix, like to make connections like to work as a team and say, "Hey, I have a person who specialize, with like with <?> or with assistive technology or anything that could help with your work. Like, we have these resources.
We have these companies that will give you the resources that you need and get the equipment that you need like for this problem you have and will give you that. You, I want you to tell us what problems you are having so we can help you so we can listen to you, and we could have a good communication between that person.
KATE FIALKOWSKI 12:41
Thank you. Thank you very much. I um you know, I happen to know that you are a big disability advocate. And you can certainly hear it in the passion that you're talking with today. So you know aside from from the topic we have of employment. I wonder if you have any general advice for students with disabilities or even students without disabilities? What advice do you have just life advice that you might have?
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 13:25
But I would tell them like you could like, meet your academic advisors or your support coordinators, or support coordinator from either the Disability Resources. Because they have the connection, you have the resources, you have to get a job interview, or how to write a resume or how to write a any like that. Because for like for me there's the few services that I use that are helping me right now with my support coordinator. I wouldn't be here without my support coordinator's help. I wouldn't be here at Temple. I'm very thankful and grateful for my support coordinator.
I want to be here because like you could like make connections. You can make friends who have connections with companies. Or like like who help you with online resources. Or to help you like to make connection like to like.. It's like the career center like yeah, they have good resources that help you like,
Say, "hello, I am a going to be graduating this May and need your help you to find a few that I'm working on my degree in." Like, "will you help me?"
Careers centers are a good choice to go because those are internships and job development like. And it will tell you, how much do you get paid for the position your in for full time and part time.
There resources will be helpful for the students to make connections. They need to know what it is and like where they should go each buildings.
KATE FIALKOWSKI 15:16
Thank you. You know, I think that's hard for people. I think it's hard for people to even know what resources are out there. So how do people even find out?
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 15:36
Temple could advertise for what resource their looking for. They can advertise it on social media, through email, through Facebook for everyone to let the student know. These are the resources we have like, Come to us! Come join us! And we could help you and They need to advertise more in the community at Temple to let the students know. Because I don't know, if Temple could advertise you have resources, that can would be helpful for people with intellectual disabilities, like that... That's a bad problem. Temple need to let the students know that we are here for them. We support them like we're here to guide you to your next four years at Temple. We are here to give you a good education. We're here to help you so you can have a better life in your life. Like you show them and be a guide. So they could be more successful with the classes. Temple needs to make more advertisements like that.
KATE FIALKOWSKI 16:45
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 16:45
like success center or Tuttlemen any other resources they need.
KATE FIALKOWSKI 16:53
Well, I just want to say for any students who's listening to this, Jonathan is the man who clearly knows all of the resources. So he's a good point of contact for you too. Jonathan, we're just about out of time. And I, I want to switch gears a little bit. I don't think we can ignore this time that we're in today things are just really unprecedented and uncertain and challenging. So do you have any advice for your fellow students to help them get through this challenging time
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 17:40
Like for them like to like their for their families to support them like. Right now is, is a big issue like to be quarantined in your own home and like now, the government they now won't let us out. And like, there's a family to support you like, you will be there for you like... If you have a problem, right? Contact Temple to email or like the like DRS available online awareness Resource Center to tournament center. Everything are online on zoom. Like there are resources that can help you get the services you're getting won't stop. You will keep getting the services but everything is on zoom. Like there are people who care about you and there are people who want to keep you safe and not the outside and get exposed. That's the most important to keep you safe like this. We like these are like big crisis right now. Like stay home is the best way to be safe like../
KATE FIALKOWSKI 18:54
Thank you. I, you clearly are the person to know. So I hope everybody else knows, gets to know you. We're putting a link up there also to your Temple article. Your temple news article so people can read a little bit about your background. And here's the final things I think you said. You said that, that, you know, people should not judge me. Get to know me. Be open to creative solutions, collaborate, connect with each other, and know that there are people who care about you and use your resources. Anything you want to add, Jonathan?
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 19:39
No, that was it
KATE FIALKOWSKI 19:41
Okay. Hey, I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much for doing this call today.
JONATHAN ATIENCIA 19:47
You're very welcome.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Jonathan Atiencia, 2019-20 Disability Resources and Services representative, Temple University Student Government's Parliament. More about Jonathan
For more information
Contact Kate Fialkowski, Director of Academic Programs