Personal Story

Feature Issue on Inclusive Higher Education for People with Intellectual, Developmental, and Other Disabilities

Living My Dream
Attending College through the UMatter Program


Logan Lavery is a first-year student in the UMatter Program at the University of South Florida- St. Petersburg. She told her story to author Jayme Joslyn.

A female college student wearing a green University of South Florida t-shirt and glasses makes the hand signal meaning “Go Bulls.”

Logan Lavery plans on competitive employment after college.

I am a daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin, and friend to many. I am outgoing, funny, caring and extremely hard working. One of my dreams has been to work with children. In order to achieve this, I need to attend college. Until the UMatter program came along, I thought my chances to go to college and focus on educating children didn’t exist.

When I first found out about the UMatter program, I was very surprised that the program was there to take students like me. The program has a lot of options as far as classes and careers. My immediate goals are to get good grades and graduate from the program. After that, I would really like a career working with children with disabilities like my own, possibly as a teacher’s assistant or a daycare worker. While attending the UMatter program, my courses are focused on my career path. The courses I have taken that will help me reach my goal are: Deaf Culture, Literacy/Literature/Social Studies, and Child Growth and Learning. These courses and future ones will help me learn more so I am ready for competitive employment.

The UMatter program has become my primary support system. The staff is always available to me when I need help and they are supporting me in trying to reach my goals and dreams. The mentors help me with my course work and help me navigate “adulting.” I have received helped from my mentors in areas such as cleaning, laundry, and using the college resources. In our weekly meetings, Dr. Joslyn helps me set goals, monitors my assignments, and teaches me various “adulting” strategies. In addition, the UMatter program has helped me become more confident. Opportunities such as being interviewed for a newspaper article, magazine article, and the news, all have helped to increase my self-determination and advocate for people with disabilities. In addition, I have had the chance to speak to the UMatter Advisory Board and families interested in the UMatter program. All of these moments are helping me to prepare for my future and career.

Going away to college for the first time wasn’t easy. I think the hardest part about going to college has been the homesickness that I initially felt; this is the first time I have ever been on my own. It has also been difficult for me to learn to manage my money wisely. I have now realized that daily trips to Starbucks are not realistic. My favorite part about college is making new friends and joining campus clubs and activities, including dancing with my All-Star Dance Club sisters. I look forward to seeing what my future will hold when I am an independent and successful adult, able to support myself.