Inside Scoop – July 2010

Welcome Students

We hope that everyone had a fruitful spring semester. We look forward to working with you. Please email John Barbuto at if you would like to reply to this message.

Staff Changes at the DRC

Ashish Bhakta is a graduate rehabilitation counseling student at UALR who joined the DRC this summer to fulfill the practicum and internship requirements for his degree. Ashish will be with the DRC through the end of the fall 2010 semester. Please feel free to stop by and introduce yourself to him.

Stacy Willis Memorial Scholarship for 2010-2011 Awarded</h4

The winner of the 2010-2011 Stacy Memorial Willis Memorial Scholarship has been chosen. The purpose of the Stacy Willis Memorial Scholarship is to fund scholarships for students with disabilities at UALR. It is named for a remarkable young woman who attended UALR, and who made an impact on everyone she met. Learn more about this year’s recipient.

Featured Partner

The DRC regularly features a faculty or staff member who embraces diversity, disability and the concepts of universal design in their professional capacity on campus. This information can be found on the display board outside of our main office, as well as our website. If you know of someone who exemplifies these qualities, nominate by emailing Sharon Downs at We work best when we work together! Learn more about universal design.

Registration Confirmation

When students registered for classes in the past they were obligated to confirm their registration by placing a $100 deposit on their account. This deposit will no longer be required beginning July 19, 2010. After advising and registration is complete, students will have from July 19, 2010 through August 12, 2010 to confirm their registration for the fall 2010 semester. Confirmation can be completed by logging into BOSS. Once within BOSS, please click on the ‘Student Services’ tab and then the ‘Confirm Your Registration’ tab. All unconfirmed registrations will automatically be canceled after August 12, 2010. If you have any questions about this process, please call Student Accounts at 501.569.3450.

Scholarship Information

The DRC regularly gets asked about scholarship opportunities for students who live with disabilities. This website provides useful scholarship information. We have also compiled this list of other scholarships we know about. Although the scholarship information is not exhaustive, we hope it is helpful and usable.

Shifting Thoughts: Disability in the Media

by Melanie Thornton

I’ve been very interested in following the acting career of Michael Patrick Thornton–not because we share the same last name or the same initials (chuckle)–but because I think he is a great actor who, as he would say, “happens to use a wheelchair.” Michael Patrick Thornton is a regular on the ABC television series Private Practice where he plays a snarky geneticist. The character is complex and a bit dark at times pushing the limits as he applies what he is learning through his genetic research. His presence on the series offers a unique opportunity to reframe disability. The writers don’t always get it right but there have been some great topics covered. In one particularly memorable episode, Dr. Gabriel Fife, Thornton’s character, is in a power struggle with Naomi who is his boss. He raises his chair so that he is in a standing position. While it would be ideal if power and standing were not equated, it did challenge the typical perception of a person who uses a chair.

In the season finale, his colleagues struggle with a medical decision to risk losing their granddaughter or risk their daughter being paralyzed. As they weigh out the decision, Dr. Fife joins the discussion with the line, “A chair is not a death sentence,” a perspective that is shared way too seldom in the media. Not only is his character in a position to challenge the popular perceptions of disability, but Michael Patrick Thornton does so in interviews. In an interview with he says, “There needs to be some sort of game changer where a role needs to come along and the disability isn’t the story…it isn’t what I call [the] ‘what happen[ed] to Timmy story’ of triumph of human spirit over adversity, where it’s just another thing that’s there…like a mustache (laughs)..or the kind of car that the character drives.”

While we have a long way to go to challenge the “super human” and “pitiful” stereotypes that people have when it comes to disability, Thornton’s current role and his visibility moves us in the right direction.

Check out these blogs and links for more information:

Focus Group on Disability Policy

Anmol Bhatia will be participating in the National Disability Policy Summit 2010 held July 25-28, 2010 in Washington D.C. The theme of the Summit is “Living, Learning & Earning”. The purpose of the theme is to launch a national dialogue on disability policies and programs in the 21st century. Anmol would like to form a focus group of people with disabilities and professionals who work with students with disabilities to provide feedback on issues, concerns which are critical for them and contribute ideas to shape disability policy for the future. He will schedule the group to meet in the Donaghey Student Center at UALR the week of the 19th of July. If you would like to participate in the focus group contact Anmol at or call him at 870-245-8266.

Posted in: Inside Scoop, News

Comments are closed.