AIM continues to exceed expectations


Trang Nguyen

AIM Director Brad McGarry, above, and the rest of the AIM staff are working to match student mentors with their peers in the AIM program.

Phoebe Nguyen, Staff writer

The Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM) has made some positive changes for the year.

According to AIM Director Brad McGarry, there are 56 students enrolled in the program this year. With drastic growth over a short amount of time, the visibility of the program has increased across campus.

The program has been evolving since it began in 2009. The board has hired fifth and sixth positions for the program, including Holly Deitrick as the AIM Administrative Assistant and Marcia Anderson as the AIM Support Coordinator.

“Our biggest objective is to continue to offer an innovative, effective and world renowned program. We will continue to build collaborations to enhance access to vocational training and meaningful employment for AIM students,” McGarry said.

In addition, the AIM program has transitioned staff positions into a pillar structure, which assists the staff in serving students in their areas of expertise such as Career Path, Academic Support and AIM Housing Coordinators.

Not only does the AIM program hire new faculty, but they also actively recruit for the Peer Mentor Program.

Students from all majors are eligible to apply for a position, where they will help the students on the Autism Spectrum balance the social, emotional and academic struggles of college life.

Volunteering for the AIM program, which is one of the top programs in the country, brings credibility and opportunity to students’ resumes in any field.

“We need 45 to 60 mentors. We have already had our initial informational meeting, and as we identify mentors, we assign them to students,” McGarry said.

For more information about the AIM or PMP programs, visit the offices 301-307 in Egan Hall, or call the AIM office at 814-824-2319 and ask for an application and interview.