COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Four students from Texas A&M's Aggie ACHIEVE became the program's first-ever graduating class for what was a historic moment in the university's history.
"Thanks to a lot of people from the Achieve program, I would be totally lost without the program here," Aggie ACHIEVE 2023 graduate, Thomas Matthew Carrizal said. "It has taught me so much and given me so many new skills that I wish I could, but now I can finally do it."
Aggie ACHIEVE is a first-of-its-kind program at TAMU and the rest of Lone Star State to introduce a certificate-based higher education initiative for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
"Our students learn a lot of life skills, as well as academic skills that they will take forward with them for the rest of their lives to pursue their life goals in whatever area they want to pursue," Educational Psychology Professor, Jeffrey Liew said.
The program aligns coursework, extracurricular activities, and, internship opportunities with each student's academic interests and employment goals.
"Aggie ACHIEVE is just limitless opportunities for students. inclusiveness being a part of something that every student should have an opportunity to be a part of," Aggie ACHIEVE Mom, Debra Carrizal said.
Created in 2019, the transition program allows students with disabilities who have left high school to fully participate in college life at Texas A&M University.
"We can spread awareness and let parents know and tell them that this is the best program ever," Matthew Carrizal said. "I want them to know that your son/ daughter belongs here and they'll call this place home immediately."