Office Space: Julie Rasmuson, Director of Student Accessibility
Julie Rasmuson is the Director of Student Accessibility Services at York College. She began working at York College in January of 2022 and serves on several committees, including the Instructional Resource Committee, Safety Committee, and Instructional Technology Accessibility Committee. Her career has spanned over 20 years serving the disability community. She has worked to build and support DEI and accessibility programming at the local, state, and federal level with a focus on intersectionality, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and customized employment initiatives. When not at York College supporting accessibility and inclusion, Julie can be found volunteering in the local community as the president of the board for a local disability nonprofit, crafting, or traveling with her husband and two sons.
Manhattan Skyline Print by Stephen Wiltshire
“Stephen Wiltshire is an exceptional artist who created the Manhattan Skyline after spending 45 minutes in a helicopter over New York City,” she says. He created this remarkably detailed drawing entirely from memory in front of the Empire State Building Observatory visitors ??. The original still hangs there today for all to enjoy. Rasmuson explains that Stephen is an internationally renowned artist, person of color, and autistic. Diagnosed with autism at age three, his first word was “paper,” followed by “pen,” and he did not fully speak until the age of nine. She states, “This beautiful work is on display in my office to share how beautiful neurodiverse minds can be and showcase that we all have gifts to share.”
“Around Here Normal is Just a Dryer Setting” Sign
A good friend of Rasmuson’s bought her this sign when her son was diagnosed with Autism. It hung in her living room as she raised her children as a reminder that everyone’s journey is different and that theirs only needed to work for her family. She says it has spent the last several years hanging in her work spaces and now in her office at York College. “I often tell my students they get to own their journey, it does not need to look like anyone else’s.”
Pop Figure of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Rasmuson says she has a small obsession with the monumental work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Most know RBG’s legal work as a Supreme Court Justice and in the movement of gender equality. But, Rasmuson says, Ginsburg was also pivotal in passing the Olmstead Decision, the most important civil rights decision in our country’s history for individuals with disabilities. The Olmstead Decision (1999) made it law for individuals with disabilities to have the choice to live supported in their community as opposed to being forced into institutions.
Post-it Desk Confetti
Rasmuson’s desk is covered in colored Post-it notes. “I am a disabled adult. I have ADHD, am post-brain injury, have physical and learning differences. I have had to learn to self-advocate and accommodate in my everyday work as the Director of Student Accessibility here at York College.” Her Post-it note desk confetti (as the students and SAS office staff affectionately call it) keeps her organized. She says, “This is a colorful tool I utilize to do my best work. Individuals with disabilities are competent and able, they may just use tools and supports to get the task done in a different way.”
ABC’s of Life Plaque
“The ABC’s of Life is a small plaque that was in my father’s office and now sits on the shelf in mine.” Each letter of the alphabet delivers a word to embrace and be successful in life. She says, “He was the kindest, most caring person I ever knew. I keep it as my reminder of him and that KINDNESS MATTERS.”