August 17, 2017  

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Southern Miss IDS Community Education Director Elected to Regional Board

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Dr. Jerry R. Alliston, community education director at The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) Institute for Disability Studies (IDS), has been elected to the board of directors for the Southeastern Postsecondary Education Alliance (SEPSEA).    

Alliston, primary coordinator of IDS’ Transition to Adulthood Programs, began his term as the Mississippi Representative this month. SEPSEA promotes resources, collaboration, education, and access to quality postsecondary education opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. 

For the past three years, SEPSEA has hosted a regional postsecondary education capacity building institute, the first two years in Georgia and most recently in Tennessee.  

“I am have been blessed to develop and implement inclusive transition programs for youth and young adults with intellectual and other disabilities for the past several years,” said Alliston. “Serving on this board will help create opportunities for promoting the development of more postsecondary programs in Mississippi’s two- and four-year colleges and universities.” 

Currently, the Academics, Campus Life, Community Involvement, Employment Opportunities, Socialization and Self-Awareness (ACCESS) program at Mississippi State University is the only such program in the state. The ACCESS Program is a four-year program that provides individual support and services for the academic and social inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in academic courses, extracurricular activities, and other aspects of the institution of higher education’s regular postsecondary programming.

Alliston has been with IDS for more than 12 years and has served as coordinator and trainer for numerous projects. Currently, Alliston serves as the principal investigator for Project SEARCH Southern Miss, the TRIAD Service AmeriCorps Program and the Sports Opportunities for Adaptive Recreation (SOAR) Program. 

Alliston also serves as the staff liaison for the Starting Today Empowering Peers through Uniting and Participating (STEP UP) Leadership Council, a USM student organization. The STEP UP Advisory Council is composed of youth and young adults with and without disabilities and focuses on issues facing all young people including leadership, self-advocacy, transition, health care, education, employment, and recreation

IDS is Mississippi’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and has a mission to enhance the quality of life across the life span for citizens with disabilities and their families, regardless of culture, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background. IDS will celebrate 40 years of education, research and service to Mississippians with disabilities in 2015.

To learn more about the Institute for Disability Studies, call 601.266.5163 or visit http://www.usm.edu/disability-studies.  For more information on the ACCESS Program, visit http://www.sss.msstate.edu/access/