Sullivan, Access Office Help Eliminate Barriers to Student Success
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
As manager of the Access office at St. Louis Community College-Meramec, Matt Sullivan, Ph.D., works to ensure that students with disabilities receive the support they need to succeed in college.
When Sullivan joined STLCC in 2019, he brought with him nearly 10 years of professional experience. While his path to this profession wasn’t a straight shot, he feels blessed to have the opportunity to work in this field.
“As an individual with invisible disabilities, one might think I naturally sought out opportunities in this field; however, the opposite was more accurate,” Sullivan said. “As a first-generation college student, I commonly struggled in navigating the institutions I attended, but there were always individuals who helped guide me along my journey.”
Those experiences had a profound impact on Sullivan and ultimately led him to pursue a career in this area.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in music education, Sullivan continued his educational journey at Saint Louis University, earning both a master’s degree in student personnel administration and a doctorate in higher education administration.
“As a graduate student, I had an amazing mentor who helped guide me through the field of disability,” Sullivan said. “She taught me the importance of disability studies and enlightened me on disability identity and the role it plays in self advocacy.”
One of the reasons Sullivan said he enjoys his job is because it allows for creativity within problem solving.
“The work we do in the Access office is grounded in equality,” he said. “The students I have the opportunity to work for and with challenge me to continuously think outside the box. Whether we’re designing accommodations to alleviate educational barriers for students or helping faculty navigate the implementation of accommodations, our goal is to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for those limited by societal and educational structures so they can reach their true potential.”
When asked what advice he would offer students as they pursue their education at STLCC and beyond, he referenced a quote from “Boy Meets World” -- one of his favorite ‘90s sitcoms.
“In the words of the great Mr. Feeny, ‘Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good,’” Sullivan said.
Outside of work, Sullivan enjoys traveling, running through Forest Park and playing with his dog, Boat.