Quinn McSwiney will graduate from the University of Calgary having accomplished something no other Inclusive Post-Secondary Education (IPSE) student has done until now. He will leave having completed credit courses — partway to a degree.
The IPSE program gives students with disabilities an opportunity to take university-level classes. The program is extremely beneficial for its students, providing opportunities for educational growth and personal development. Students completing the program leave with more confidence, and often step into the workforce or take workforce training.
Students in the IPSE program typically audit courses, that is until McSwiney joined UCalgary. He completed seven credit courses over five years, in addition to the audit courses he took through the IPSE program.
Highlights for him include getting a high grade on an essay, taking classes that interested him, being able to volunteer with different organizations on campus and connecting with new people through his various volunteer roles.
“Through the IPSE program, I was able to learn and grow, and with all of my volunteering, I was able to connect with more people,” he says. “I really enjoyed my time within the IPSE program.”
McSwiney took on many challenges during the IPSE program. With much of his schooling taking place during the pandemic, he learned to deal with a lot of ups and downs as he adapted to both learning online and going back to in-person classes.
“It was challenging, like nothing I’ve ever experienced before,” he says. “Even though the pandemic derailed some of my time here, it meant I had to be flexible.”
Through the IPSE program, McSwiney learned many tips and techniques that helped him succeed. He learned how to study and how to take notes, and was able to work on his writing, editing and grammar skills. He then transferred those skills to credit courses he took outside of IPSE, which he says helped him immensely with his credit courses.
In addition to his schooling, McSwiney was very active in the university community. He was an orientation leader during fall orientation; he volunteered with CJSW, the campus radio station, and he took on leadership roles with the Students for Special Olympics SU club as vice-president, administration and vice-president, acting interim co-president. As busy as he is, McSwiney also continued to work a part-time job throughout his schooling.
In the future, McSwiney is interested in taking more credit courses. While he doesn’t have a specific career in mind, he sees himself working in a library or museum.
Best of luck, Quinn!
- Favourite class: Intro to Drama
- Typical schedule: 9 a.m.–3 p.m., with one hour of studying per day
- Commute: Drop-off by a parent (a.m.) and bus home (p.m.)
- Advice for new students: “Get involved with our campus. We have more than 300 clubs, and amazing programs and services. Don't be afraid, come and learn, and make new friends. Enjoy what campus has to offer!”