World Campus student to speak on 'Disability in the Workplace' panel

October 11, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Stephen Verigood will never forget the time he was told by a disability employment expert that someone with his level of hearing loss would never amount to more than a dishwasher or a busboy.

“At that point I was one semester away from graduating,” Verigood recalled recently. “I’m thinking to myself, this guy is a so-called expert – and here I am almost done with a Big 10 college degree, with a 3.17 GPA.”

The memory motivated Verigood as he completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology through Penn State World Campus and then pursued a master’s degree in human resources and employment relations, also through World Campus. He expects to graduate in May.

Verigood will join four other panelists at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13 in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, for a discussion of “Disability in the Workplace: An Employment Perspective.”

The panel is aimed at informing students with disabilities about their employment rights and employment opportunities and providing information about new government initiatives to both students and employers. The other panelists are Taryn Williams of the federal Office of Disability Employment Policy, Bill Ritzman of Penn State’s Affirmative Action Office, Caitlin Rabold of the state Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Allison Fleming of the Penn State College of Education.

Terry Watson, a disability specialist for World Campus who helped organize the panel along with career counselor Karen Armstrong, said he hopes local employers who attend the panel will think about ways to be more accommodating to employees with disabilities.

The public event also will be live-streamed online for Penn State Commonwealth Campus and World Campus faculty and students and other remote attendees through MediaSite Live.

Verigood, who is 36, moved to State College from South Dakota in 2014. He is working as a training coordinator for Walmart while completing his master’s degree, with a focus on employment law and the Americans with Disabilities Act. His dream would be to work in higher education, he said.

Verigood’s message to students: Keep pushing and don’t give up.

To employers, he said: Look beyond the disability. “I want to be treated the same as everybody else.”

  • vertical poster with text only listing Disability in the Workplace time, date, location, panel participants, sponsors

    The "Disability in the Workplace" panel discussion takes place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, and live-streamed for attendees not at the University Park campus via MediaSite Live at

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 15, 2017