Andrew grew up in Woodbury where he spent most of his life up until 2012 when he enrolled in the College Experience and graduated in 2014.
Today Andrew is living in his own apartment in Albany NY. He currently has two jobs, Marshalls and Burlington Coat Factory. Andrew asserts, “Retail may be a challenging experience, but one way or another it is better to find a place to start with your real goals and pay off the bills.” What Andrew likes about his retail work is getting a lot of respect and being allowed to take on new duties. “You want to be with people who treat you with respect and do not talk about you behind your back because that can be a terrible experience.”
During his time at the College Experience, Andrew had his first internship at the Mary Jane Bookstore and his second internship at the U Albany Bookstore. Both of these internships were invaluable toward developing people skills as well as the confidence needed to speak in front of groups. Andrew is a seasoned public speaker who lectures about autism awareness as well as his beliefs about effective education. Before the pandemic, Andrew would participate in the training of incoming staff at Living Resources during the Orientation session about how to go above-and-beyond with providing the best support for the individuals they serve. Andrew looks forward to resuming these duties someday and recently filmed an instructional video with the Training Department.
Andrew’s social life has a combination of friends In the Albany area and downstate Hudson Valley. Andrew enjoys reading James Patterson books, but the one hobby that he intends to make a career out of is public speaking. He goes on to explain, “Public speaking is a challenging hobby for those who have a fear of public speaking, but If you practice carefully and know your audience you will have a successful speech.” In Andrew’s speeches, he talks about his life on the autism spectrum and the challenges of having an IEP diploma as well as working through the arrogance and ignorance in the minds of others.
One of the top skills he gained from the College Experience is obtaining more flexibility. He believes students should try the program because right now most colleges do not accept students with IEP diplomas. This particular program gives you the privilege of going to college with an IEP diploma. “If you think for one second that you have no options because of an IEP diploma, this program will give you that one option. Maybe you can do things you thought you would not be able to do.”