I have autism. I also have a bachelor’s degree in English from Rutgers-Camden. I received my undergraduate degree summa cum laude and I am working toward a master’s degree in childhood studies at Rutgers-Camden. I currently work with parents and teachers to help them understand their autistic children and students. I have had my struggles, but I consider myself unbelievably fortunate to have a respected university such as Rutgers-Camden, which attracts students from all over the world, within commuting distance of my parents’ home. Because of my autism, I could never have been as successful academically as I have been if I had been forced to live in a dormitory. Thanks to Rutgers-Camden, I was able to get a high-quality college education while living at home.
I know that there are no guarantees and that I will face hurdles when I try to start a career. But my degrees from Rutgers-Camden, which has an international reputation, will be a counterbalance to any concerns an employer might have about my autism. I hope to see Rutgers-Camden flourishing years after I graduate, helping nontraditional students like me achieve their goals and realize their dreams.
Rutgers-Camden is already a strong research university in Southern New Jersey. Severing it from Rutgers University can only weaken it, jeopardizing the future for me and countless other Rutgers students with their own stories to tell.
About Rachel Johnson-Walsh
Hometown: Voorhees, NJ
Camden College of Arts and Sciences Graduation Date: 2009
Graduate Program: Childhood Studies
Expected Graduate School-Camden Graduation Date: 2013
Ms. Johnson-Walsh is a member of the Athenaeum Honor Society, Autism Network International, and Autism Self Advocacy Network.