In a sit-down interview with Cambridge Who's Who, Briarcliffe College's Jacqueline Naughton discusses her work implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Ability to Benefit Program.
To Jacqueline D. Naughton, higher education should be the right of anyone with a desire to progress, not a privilege accorded to a few. This conviction drives her work as director of the Academic Student Learning Center at Briarcliffe College. In charge of operations at the Bethpage and Patchogue campuses, she recruits and trains tutors, monitors the development of at-risk students, and oversees the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Ability to Benefit, a program that enables students without high school diplomas to earn their GEDs through college credits.
Lack of means should never be a hindrance to self-improvement, Naughton believes. Too often, financial issues affect whether or not a student can complete his education, and limit what options are available to him even if he does graduate. "My plan is to create programs that will encourage students to remain in school and help them fund their education," she states. She spends a considerable amount of time assisting disabled and at-risk students, and encouraging the rest of the school to participate in various community service programs that she has initiated.
At 30, Naughton has become an invaluable resource for colleagues even twice her age. Because of the wide-reaching nature of her work, she fields an assortment of inquiries from the academic and advisement departments as well as the registrar's and bursar's offices - even the front desk forwards calls to her so that she can answer general queries. Naughton attributes her versatility to the diversity of her academic background; she earned a master's degree in counseling in 2004 from C.W. Post Campus, Long Island University and a bachelor's degree in psychology in 2001 from Hofstra University.
Naughton promotes community service off school grounds as well. She is actively involved with the American Cancer Society, where she serves as team captain of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and as part of the Relay For Life team of Bethpage, of which Briarcliffe College is a sponsor. For the last three years, Naughton has also been an indispensable contributor to Alexander's Angels, Long Island's leading Down syndrome organization. It aids in research that aims to help students with Down syndrome, focusing on such issues as medical assistance and education. She does her part by assisting in the organization and advertisement of fundraisers, and is presently overseeing members of the Briarcliffe College Design Club as they redesign the organization's logo. Naughton derives satisfaction from facilitating learning for people who face an obstacle to personal advancement - be it a physical disability or a shortage of funds. She says, "[The most rewarding aspect of my job is] that every day, [I] actually have the opportunity to change someone's life."
Organizations with which Naughton is affiliated include the American College Counseling Association, the American Counseling Association, and the National Association for Developmental Education. Most recently, she was named "Professional of the Year in Educational Programming Services" by Cambridge Who's Who.
Jacqueline D. Naughton may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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