UI REACH reaches the 10 year milestone!

We’re now celebrating 10 years for UI REACH and so much has been accomplished in this relatively brief period. After a three year study, the program officially opened in 2008 with a class of 19 students. Since that time the program has made achievements like graduating nearly 150 students, an 80%+ employment rate post-graduation, gaining national prominence as a model post-secondary education program for persons with disabilities, and expanding diversity on the campus of the University of Iowa to fully include students of all abilities, which are all truly remarkable.

Other memorable landmarks for UI REACH include:

  • Since inception, the program has produced 168 graduates with the first graduating class – May 2010
  • Through the work of our dedicated Advisory Board and the University of Iowa Center for Advancement, nearly $1.3 M in scholarship funds have been awarded
  • UI REACH Named Best Colleges Online’s list of “20 Incredible Colleges for Special Needs Students

Special thanks to Sally Pederson who has served as the Chair on the UI REACH Advisory Board for the past 10 years and who was very instrumental in getting the program started. Sally will leave the board this year but does so with mixed emotions. “So many people have contributed to the success of the UI REACH over the past 10 years. I know that will continue in the program's second decade,” says Pederson. Many of the alumni from the first graduating class (2010) are still in touch and many UI REACH alumni are living their dreams of employment, independence and full lives. Congratulations, UI REACH! Thanks to all who have contributed to our success!

What’s next for UI REACH

A strategic plan was initiated for UI REACH in 2016. The staff and new Director, Bill Loyd, are looking to update and revise the plan and pursue a vibrant future for the program through the collective vision of multiple UI REACH Stakeholders. Getting input from stakeholders and updating the plan is a priority for the next 6-9 months. “Until the plan can be revised, there are a few focus areas of immediate importance that will be targeted” says Loyd. The areas of focus, some of which are tied to the current strategic plan, are listed below with several initiatives already underway.

  • Integration/Self Determination – furthering the work to have UI REACH students achieve optimum levels of choice and integration, as defined by them, on the UI campus (Student Success)
  • Retention- continued focus on staff recognition and development of career pathways as a means of attracting and retaining quality staff (Workplace of Choice)
  • Marketing/Recruitment/Admissions – focused efforts to attract and enroll students whose PSE needs are best addressed at UI REACH (Student Success)
  • Automation – centralized database to be used for generating solid data from which we can make sound business decisions (Critical Work Processes)
  • Accreditation – continued alignment with best practices
Current Student Spotlight

Danny Huyer is a second year student a UI REACH who’s hobby is making movies. In fact, Danny hopes to continue his education post UI REACH and work toward a job as a cameraman in the film and TV industry. To get experience in this area, Danny has an internship at PATV editing a radio show and filming 3 TV talk shows. To get a glimpse of Danny’s work, check out this video he did of the Annual UI REACH Kickball Game!

Danny Huyer at PATV Internship
Alumni Spotlight

Since graduating UI REACH in 2017, Evan Turner acquired his driver’s license and purchased a car. He’s been successfully employed by Marriott Hotel for a year and was celebrated as ‘Employee of the Month’. He wanted a social life near home so he and his mom created the Evolution Social Club celebrating his inaugural with a Meet & Greet on November 2, 2018. He still makes his yearly visit to the campus to hang with friends.

Evan Turner with his new car.

UI REACH tailgate
Creating New Traditions

Alumni, current students, families and friends have started a new tradition of tailgating at Hawkeyes home games! Liam and Mark Kirstein have been the gracious hosts for the tailgates and have supplied the space, food and beverages for the fun events.  We're looking forward to continuing the tradition on next year and will keep the UI REACH family updated on dates, locations, and times. Come out and join us for good food and good fun and then stay with us to cheer the Hawkeyes to victory!

RAYS of REACH - Sally Pederson UI REACH Scholarship Drive

Rays of REACH
UI REACH would not be possible without the leadership and generosity of philanthropic partners. We believe UI REACH’s best days are on the horizon and that progress will be accelerated through efforts to make the program more affordable for students and their families. To show their support for the program, the Rays of REACH student organization, which is comprised of UI REACH students and UI traditional students, pledged to raise $2,000 for the Sally Pederson UI REACH Scholarship Fund through a GOLDrush giving campaign. Great news: they have raised four times that amount, ending with a total of $8,074 in donations! Congratulations to the Rays of REACH on meeting and exceeding their goal to help other students through scholarship funds.

Other UI REACH NEWS

UI REACH has been selected for the 2018 Marc Gold Innovative Practices in Transition Award from the Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT). Deborah Larson accepted the national award at the 2018 DCDT International Conference in Cedar Rapids, in October.

The award, named after Marc Gold whose innovative “Try Another Way” approach opened the door to employment for many students with severe disabilities, was founded in 1981 to recognize and honor the achievements of individuals and organizations that have demonstrated innovation in transition services.

Read all about it! UI REACH and the new Director, Bill Loyd, are featured in the UI College of Education 2017-2018 Annual Report.

Other Important Changes and Dates

You may notice new voices when calling the UI REACH office! A huge thanks to our students workers (Jessica Freese, Abby Fleming and others) have been filling in and doing an excellent job at it. Mr. James (Jim) Verry has also been helping at the front desk in the interim.

  • Thanksgiving break begins November 16th. Classes resume on November 26
  • Third year admissions applications are due November 30
  • Annual Winter Party December 5th (7-8 pm)
  • Winter Break—students may leave after 5 pm on December 6 and must clear the residence halls by 7 pm on December 7

New and Improved Website!

Please visit our recently revamped website to see more info on UI REACH!

Mailing Address

UI REACH Program
S229 Lindquist Center
College of Education
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242

TTY: Relay Iowa, Dial 711 or 1-800-735-2942
Fax: 319-384-2167

Campus Mail Address

UI REACH Program
S229 LC