Interview by Taylor Smith | Photo by Bill Cardoni, cardoniphoto.com
The Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) at The College of New Jersey promotes an awareness of disability by providing learning, social, emotional, athletic, and residential accommodations for students, faculty, staff, and guests. Since her appointment as director of ARC, Meghan Sellet has continued to break down barriers and change definitions of what it means to be “different.” Rooted in social justice, Sellet’s work is at once uplifting and inclusive. All those who are interested can receive services and accommodations through ARC. In fact, Sellet details how the onset of COVID-19 and remote learning has only increased access to special services in a manner that is completely stigma-free and much less stressful.
Please describe what led you to your current work, including your academic background and your own higher education experience.
I accessed reasonable accommodations throughout my K-12 and college experiences. There were points during high school at which my guidance counselors gave me advice about “the best I could do with my future.” This advice didn’t exactly align with my own goals and vision. If I weren’t resilient, that advice would have unraveled me. Instead, I used others doubts as fuel to keep moving towards success. I went on to college to receive a B.S. in rehabilitation services from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Given the large population of students with disabilities at Wright State, I really was able to explore my identity as a disabled woman. For the first time in my life, I saw people like me on a daily basis. It felt so empowering. I played competitive sports at Wright State and was really involved on campus. Once I figured out how to balance my academic, social, and athletic obligations, I felt ready to take on an on-campus job in the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at Wright State, where I was a test proctor for other students with testing accommodations, such as extended time. It may sound silly to say that this job as a test proctor changed my life, but it truly did. From my sophomore year in undergrad to now, I can’t imagine working in a different field. My time at Wright State provided me with the confidence I needed to move on to my next chapter — grad school. When I think back on it, it is interesting how graduate school just fell into place for me.
During my junior year at Wright State, Teri Jordan, my future wheelchair track coach at Penn State, called my parents’ house in New Jersey looking for me. “She’s in Ohio,” my parents said. So, tenacious Teri tracked me down in Ohio, with the hopes that I would consider transferring to Penn State to participate in Penn State’s Ability Athletics program as a wheelchair track and field athlete. Penn State had just become a Paralympic high-performance training camp, and it was a great time to get in on that initiative at the ground level. As it turns out, I didn’t end up transferring to Penn State, but I did complete my undergraduate practicum with Teri in ability athletics. I got so comfortable at Penn State that I ended up staying there for grad school. It was tough and rewarding, and so snowy, but my time there was just amazingly memorable. more