AIM program helps improve student’s academic performance

Alison Ockasi photo: Sophomore Jeff Krull received help from the AIM program.Alison Ockasi photo: Sophomore Jeff Krull received help from the AIM program.

Some students choose a college based on academic preferences, athletic opportunities or social environment. Jeff Krull chose to come to Erie because of the support of the Asperger Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM).

The AIM Program helps students with autism-spectrum disorders and learning disabilities transition to college life. Krull, who has Asperger syndrome, credits the AIM program for helping him become a successful college student.

A sophomore graphic design major, Krull had been socially anxious, but through support from the AIM program, Krull joined the Theater Appreciation Club.

Director of Learning Differences Dianne Rogers and the rest of the AIM staff form a support group for students that caters to each student’s need. Students are supported through intensive one-on-one academic counseling, guidance and other accommodations.

“The support system at Mercyhurst is really good,” Krull said. He noted that Brad McGarry, coordinater of the AIM program, has helped him greatly.

“The school is smaller so the professors have time for their students,” said Krull. “And the housing situation is good, too. We have an entire building in the Mercy Suites.”

The AIM program at Mercyhurst has been like family to Krull, he said. His work was recently featured in the Mercyhurst Juried Art Show. Many AIM faculty and students attended the showcase in support despite social anxieties.

“That really meant a lot to me,” said Krull. “It’s nice to have someone who understands your problems.”

The AIM program is accepting applications for its Foundations Program, which takes place from July 12 to Aug. 2, 2014.

The Foundation Program is designed for students entering Mercyhurst who have conditions such as Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism.

The program costs $4,500 to enter and this covers things such as activity and application fees, board, room and three-credit course tuition.

Activities for the Foundation Program include tutorials on college life and skills and seminars on how to navigate around the community surrounding the campus.

To learn more about the AIM program, please contact Dianne Rogers at or Brad McGarry at