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OASIS celebrates program graduates

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

(l-r) Nicole Burdick, Lindsay Buccigrossi, Michael Pawlowski, Heriberto Aceves, Shiprece Beason and Megan Hullings.

Mercyhurst North East will celebrate the accomplishments of six students slated to graduate from the OASIS program at a commencement ceremony Thursday, June 26, at 6 p.m. in Alex Theatre.

OASIS is a one-year, proficiency-based certificate program for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities who have completed high school. This program enables students to participate in college-level courses related to cooking and baking or hospitality through non-credit certificate programs in culinary arts and hospitality.

Students in the program also attend tutorial sessions that include instruction on job-related skills such as "how to successfully complete an interview" and "expectations of employment." Following the academic portion of the program, OASIS students continue to develop their vocational skills during a 60-hour internship, poising them for meaningful employment in the community upon graduation.

Nearly 100 guests are anticipated to attend the ceremony to honor the six graduating OASIS students: Nicole Burdick, Lindsay Buccigrossi, Michael Pawlowski, Heriberto Aceves, Shiprece Beason and Megan Hullings. The ceremony will also recognize Jennifer Grisnik, Tracey Howland and Allie Joslin; the Mercyhurst student interns who assisted with the program during the last academic year.

“I am so excited to see another talented cohort graduate from the OASIS Program,” said Sara Kitchen, program director. “While graduation ceremonies are always bittersweet, I can’t wait to hear about all that these students accomplish as they transition into the workforce.”

OASIS began in 2008 as a collaboration with Erie Homes for Children and Adults (EHCA). The program was also supported by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). OASIS is now an outreach initiative of the Institute for Applied Behavioral Studies at Mercyhurst University.

Applications are currently being taken for this fall’s OASIS program. Enrollment is open to students ages 18 and older with documented intellectual or developmental disabilities. For more information, please contact Sara Kitchen at 814-725-6250 or skitchen@mercyhurst.edu.