Skip to main content Skip to site utility navigation Skip to main site navigation Skip to site search Skip to footer
Blue and grey NSCC Foundation logo

NSCC accessibility supports ignites a student’s potential

From left to right, a photo of NSCC President Don Bureaux and NSCC alum Judy Lewis at NSCC Ivany Campus' spring convocation.
NSCC President, Don Bureaux, and NSCC alum Judy Lewis (Paralegal Services '23) at NSCC Ivany Campus' spring convocation.

Meet Judy Lewis

Judy Lewis worked in commercial health food and long-term care support for years until burnout and health problems prompted a job change. Judy, who self-identifies as neuro-diverse, knew making the change would require retraining to develop new skills and overcoming challenges associated with having learning barriers. After researching the best fit for her, she enrolled in the Paralegal Services program at NSCC Ivany Campus in the fall of 2019 with the support of Teamwork Co-op, ready to start a new path for herself.

Her lived experience navigating complex and often confusing systems to access resources inspired her to take the program. “I wanted to help people who faced similar barriers with these systems gain easier access to resources. When facing challenges you need support, and that can be difficult.”

Overcoming barriers and stigma

Judy needed accommodations from the College to support her learning. Technology was the biggest challenge, she says, “My experience with computers growing up was making crafts from the computer cards my older brother brought home from university while studying Computer Science.” But with help from NSCC, she overcame barriers and completed her studies, while being supported by the kindness of NSCC staff and faculty. To support her learning, Judy took a reduced course load, met with learning strategists and counsellors, and worked with tutors using the testing centre for a quiet space to complete her work.

"Stigma is one of the greatest barriers with mental health, but I did not experience any at the College,” she said. "There is something special about the culture of NSCC. It allowed me to just keep going and maintain the confidence to not second guess myself or feel like something was wrong with me."

“At NSCC, we take pride in being a place where anyone can learn and succeed by working together to remove any barriers students may face,” said Don Bureaux, President, NSCC. “We believe in our students and their potential, and Judy’s story is an example of the community support we embrace at the College for them to thrive.”

Motivated by student awards

Another motivation for Judy was being the recipient of seven awards at NSCC. The financial assistance supported her education, but it was the endorsements of receiving the awards based on her career goals, values, and community involvement that were most rewarding. "The validation was so encouraging," said Judy. "It helped me continue believing in my abilities to push forward and pursue my goals."

Creating her own student award

After graduating in spring 2023, Judy was inspired by the College’s wrap-around support that helped her get to graduation. Now that she’s an alum, she wants to give back and help students like her by creating the Recovery, Resilience, and Journey to Success Award in memory of her parents, celebrating their generosity, and providing financial assistance to future NSCC students who have experienced trauma. “It's our time in history to be helping each other, as I share my own gratitude to the College, my parents and to all those who give back,” she said.

Judy has a goal of raising $30,000 to endow the award so it can be awarded yearly to an eligible student. To reach this goal, Judy, who also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from NSCAD, plans to organize a series of events, including an art show to sell her art and donate the proceeds.

To support Judy in reaching her fundraising goals, online donations can be made to the NSCC Foundation at today.

Return to Winter 2023 Update