Will Carrasco is a graduate from rural Yerington High School. Will was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which has necessitated him using a wheelchair since birth. Even so, Will has never let his disability get in the way of what he wants to do, whether it is hunting, fishing or skiing. Will signed up for VR services with the goal of getting his degree in Computer Information Systems from the University of Nevada Reno (UNR). Will did exceptionally well in all his classes and was on track to graduate as planned. Over the course of his undergraduate career, it became apparent that a Bachelor’s in CIS would not be sufficient for him to participate in employment in his chosen field; mainly because he requires a wheelchair and assistive technology to function optimally, and the duties of entry level positions in CIS cannot be completed from a wheelchair (running cable, crawling through ductwork, etc.).
Through counseling and guidance, both with his VR counselor and his professors, it was determined that the best course of action would be for Will to continue through school to get his master’s degree. VR provided tuition assistance, as well as an updated wheelchair which supported his continuing education. As expected, Will excelled in his program, and obtained his master’s degree—all while running the university computer lab. He completed a paid internship with a financial management firm, where he used analytics he developed to chart investments. He was offered a permanent position but decided to use his skills to assist others with disabilities and apply his education to the medical field.
After graduating, Will began an IT position at the Disability Resource Office (DRO) at UNR. He also branched out and began assisting students directly, something for which he has developed a passion. Will is even considering returning to school and getting an advanced degree in Psychology or related field. Will is clear that he is not seeking VR assistance in this endeavor, as he believes that he is self-sufficient and wants to achieve this on his own. To that end, he ran for President of the Graduate Student Body, which he won! This is a paid position, which is in addition to his position in IT with the DRO.
Will has gone above and beyond in his achievements, and VR was instrumental in providing him with the support and services he needed to reach his (very high) level of selfsufficiency and professional satisfaction.