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Austin Peay hosts unique career fair tailored for students with autism

By: Jennifer Lindahl March 5, 2024


Aaron Boles presents during the reverse career fair. | Photos by Madison Casey, APSU student

Austin Peay State University’s Full Spectrum Learning (FSL) program collaborated with Career Services and the Student Disability Resource Center to host the university’s first-ever Reverse Career Fair on Thursday, Feb. 29. On the first floor of the Woodward Library, 17 junior and senior FSL students participated in the inaugural fair.

Unlike most career fairs, the students set up tables with their resumes, business cards and portfolios. This allowed employers to walk around the room and come to them to discuss future job prospects in a more comfortable setting. For students with autism spectrum disorder, this setup works better because it is much less stimulating than traditional career fairs and networking events.

Along with practicing their communication skills, the students spent the past six weeks in class learning about resumes, cover letters, interviewing and portfolios.

“Our aim is to prepare them for life after college,” said FSL Learning Specialist Coordinator Colette Parrotte.

Aaron Boles, a junior animation and visual effects major, sat at Table 1 with his resume, a portfolio of his best work and his laptop filled with animation clips. His goal for the future is to work for Pixar or Disney.

“Preparing for it, they made it so easy,” Boles said. “Getting myself together has been a fun experience, and there has been a lot of support from my friends and staff members.”



About Full Spectrum Learning

The Full Spectrum Learning program, housed in the Eriksson College of Education at Austin Peay State University, helps students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder earn their college degrees and lead successful lives in the workforce.

The program offers a course that focuses on academic responsibility, interpersonal communication and professional development, among other topics.

Freshman and sophomore students are paired with fellow students who help them adjust to campus life, while juniors and seniors are paired with a faculty mentor to help with career transition. All FSL participants have access to trained tutors, study skills coaches, professional staff for case management and more.


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