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Tuesday, Oct. 26 • 6:00 – 7:15 pm ET.

Designing Your Own Path to the Future: Exploring the Options

For students with learning disabilities and/or mental health challenges, next steps can sometimes feel more daunting than exciting.

Young adulting. Independence. Personal responsibility.

The transition to young adulthood isn’t always the easiest. And choosing the next step — a college, a career, even a year off — can be frustrating even while it is exhilarating.

Some students may feel pressure to attend a four-year college. Others may be excited for the independence that going away to college implies.

Sometimes delaying college for a year or more may be beneficial. For others, community college, part-time or alternative-learning could be a better fit.

Other students may not want to attend college at all and focus instead on training for a specific career in a vocation and technical program. And some may want to explore their interests through a combination of courses, apprenticeships and work.

There is no single or guaranteed path to success — but with some planning and reflection you can design a path that works for you.

Our panelists will explore some of the ways students can combine different options to achieve their goals and make decisions about their future. Bring your questions!

You will have a chance to sign up for similar presentations and workshops when registration opens for Pt 2 of the inaugural Different Choices Fair. You can preregister for the spring event today. 

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What You'll Learn

  • Gain insights into options you may not know much about and hear how education and training are changing to better serve students’ needs.

  • How to put together a plan for the next few years that will get you to where you want to go.

  • How to reflect on your own college or career readiness and increase your changes for success.

  • Tips and techniques to help you learn to advocate for yourself, keep yourself on track and ask for help when you need it.


MODERATOR: Alexander Morris-Wood

Dean of Admissions, Transition Programs, and Strategic Outreach, Beacon College​

Ziven Drake

Training Coordinator: Recruiting and Retention
North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Fund

Syreeta Nolan

Research Intern and Advocate for Students with Disabilities

Sara Van Eerde

Social Justice Educator and Gap Year Instructor

Angelique McGrue

Special Education Coordinator at YouthBuild Charter School of California



Alexander Morris-Wood

Dean of Admissions, Transition Programs, and Strategic Outreach, Beacon College

Alexander Morris-Wood designed Navigator PREP, the country’s first virtual transition-to-college program for students and parents in an effort to proactively address the executive functioning, social, and emotional regulation deficits that impede on college success.

Alex has presented nationally and internationally on topics such as systemic barriers in higher education for students with learning disabilities, family systems theory, and strategies to improve transitional outcomes for at-risk students.

Recently, Alex was identified among the Top 100 Educational Leaders in America by the Global Forum for Education and Learning. He holds a master’s degree in mental health counseling where he focused on adjustment disorders for students with learning differences entering college environments.

Syreeta Nolan

Syreeta Nolan

Co-Founder and CEO of Disabled in Higher Ed and Disability Justice Advocate

Syreeta Nolan is a disability justice advocate. She serves as co-founder of Disabled in Higher Education on Twitter (@DisInHigherEd) and is the founder of JADE (Justice, Advocacy and Disability Education) as a holistic disabled justice platform focused on empowering disabled students, faculty, staff and alumni through community and support.

Her lived experience as a Black, Disabled, bisexual woman have informed her advocacy goals along with her career goals. As a board member of HealthAdvocateX, she hopes to expand the reach of health advocacy in partnership with her organization while bringing disability advocacy and health advocacy together.

Syreeta graduated with her Bachelor’s in Human Health Psychology from the University of California San Diego and hopes to continue to obtain a PhD in Health Policy or Prevention Science toward her goal to transform the mental health field through comprehensive preventive systems similar to what we have in our physical health system.


Ziven Drake

Training Coordinator: Recruiting and Retention North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Fund

Ziven Drake is the Technical Coordinator in Charge of Recruitment and Retention by the North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Fund.

She focuses on the recruiting and retention efforts within NASCTF by delivering informational sessions, as well as conducting interviews for potential apprenticeship candidates.

A member of Pile Drivers and Divers Local 56, Drake has been a member of Local 56’s Executive Board, as well as serving as a delegate to the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters.


Angelique McGrue

Special Education Coordinator at YouthBuild Charter School of California

Angelique McGrue hails from Pasadena, California. Through her educational journey, she found a passion for working with and serving others.

While receiving her masters, Angelique began working at College Bridge Academy – Compton and in this position she learned what it meant to foster youth with disabilities and be a supportive educator.

Since graduating, she decided to further her education in Special Education and is receiving a second Master of Education in teaching, option in Education Specialist with Mild/Moderate Disabilities.


Sara Van Eerde

Social Justice Educator at Global Kids

Sara Van Eerde is fully immersed in the field of activism, education, and social justice. In 2019, she was chosen as a scholar to teach about climate change and gender justice onboard the gap-year travel program Peace Boat.  

She is a passionate advocate of the gap-year experience and cultural diversity. Her wide range of global experiences have fostered a culturally inclusive perspective on how societies can work to achieve a more equitable world.

She currently works for Global Kids as a social justice educator and trains youth to become human rights activists and leaders.