In this episode of MEP, Dan Pieroni, who is a substitute teacher at Scituate High School, tells us about his work giving speeches to local high school students with IEPs, in an effort to inspire them to successfully navigate college life, and succeed in post-secondary academia in spite of their handicaps.
Dan Pieroni obtained his Bachelors degree from Curry College in 2007. While there, he was heavily involved in radio broadcasting. During his senior year, he co-created and hosted a popular afternoon drive program that gained notoriety for being honest and unpredictable.
From Curry, he went on to the University of Rhode Island, where he received his Masters in Communication Studies in 2011. He also dabbled in education courses during his time there.
Dan is also an accomplished sports writer who has written for both his own blog and Bleacher Report.
While broadcasting and writing remain his true passions, he has spent the last 5 years as part of a traveling student panel that is comprised of Rhode Island area students who are disabled, and have successfully navigated college life. They travel all around the state giving speeches to local high school students with IEP’s, in an effort to inspire them to follow their example and succeed in post-secondary academia in spite of their handicaps.
From this work, he has been privileged enough to have served as the keynote speaker for the Rhode Island college forum for the past 2 years.
Dan strongly believes that anyone with a disability can succeed in college, and that there should be someone on a college campus who can help students achieve this goal, whether it be a disability service counselor, or an admissions counselor who deals directly with the disabled population.
In addition, Dan works as a substitute teacher in the town of Scituate for the past several years, and serves on both the Rhode Island Council for Assistive Technology and the state Rehabilitation Council.
(02:09) Dan’s background
(04:35) How did you get involved with the student panel? How do you provide your perspective to these kids in such a way that they understand where you’re coming from and how they can transcend their issues?
(05:10) Youth Leadership Forum
(12:50) Did you have a disability yourself? What’s your personal story?
(14:40) Dan: One of the things that you have to do in college is to advocate for yourself. We want the kids to be comfortable with advocating for themselves.
(15:45) In the issue of support that kids with disabilities need, do you believe there’s sufficient support at the high school and middle school and also primary school levels in Rhode Island? And also, do you believe that nationally there’s support? What do you think the future of that should be?
(19:50) Dan: I think there’s a need for an advocate to do an intervention to make sure that they (the students) are inspired enough and they really understand the importance of a college education to their future.
(38:28) If you could have dinner with one person you admire, past or present, who would it be and why?
Contact Dan through LinkedIn