Students with disabilities are fortunate to have another seasoned advocate in their corner with the addition of Cathleen Collins to the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) staff.
Cathleen joined SSD as a disability services coordinator in August after relocating from Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up just 20 miles outside of Boston in the coastal town of Cohasset. As the oldest of four, growing up by the ocean fostered her love for the beach. Despite the frigid water temperatures the northern seaboard is known for, she still enjoys swimming in the water.
“If I go to the beach I always have to get in the water,” she said.
A beach landscape and a sign that reads, “Keep Calm and Pretend You Are At The Beach” are prominently placed on her office walls. Although, she misses the beach and her family, she says she already likes everything about Austin. One of the main reasons she decided to relocate is because of the Austin music scene. Her boyfriend is a classically trained singer and performs locally.
While Cathleen settles into her new role, she brings 20 years of experience working with students with disabilities. Most recently, she served as disability coordinator and director of student services at Harvard Law School. In her current position she works one-on-one with students to provide accommodations and review their documentation.
SSD serves more than 1,800 students. Its nine person team includes three disability service coordinators, administrative support, and a testing coordinator. Cathleen’s caseload consists of primarily the psychological or cognitive disabilities, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, aspergers syndrome and autism spectrum disorders.
When Cathleen is not attending music performances, she enjoys viewing movies regularly at the Alamo Drafthouse, and reading. British crime fiction is her genre and Ruth Rendell her favorite author.
Cathleen holds a master’s degree in human development and psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.