TOPS Staff Spotlight: Meet Patty

I am from Pittsburgh and moved to Ohio when I was in high school.  I had worked with Jessie Green in Westerville City Schools and she reached out to me about a position working with TOPS.  I am a Disability Career Specialist and I am responsible for helping students find paid and unpaid internships at OSU and the community.  I do career exploration assessments with them to help determine their individual career goals.  I really enjoy getting to know the TOPS students and their families.  I also really enjoy networking with community partners and worksites to try and find the right fit for both the worksites and our students.  I enjoy riding my bike and kickboxing in my spare time.  


TOPS Staff Spotlight: Meet Mallory

Where are you from?

– Cincinnati, Ohio

What led you to getting involved with the TOPS program?

I actually started as a peer mentor with the program while I was getting my undergraduate degree at OSU! My majors had NOTHING to do with the disability field, but I had enjoyed working with some programs in Cincinnati during high school, so I thought it would be a nice extracurricular activity. Little did I know that I would be hooked. After a few semesters as a volunteer intern, I became a paid student assistant. After I graduated, I left and worked for the Association for the Developmentally Disabled for about eight months before I was called back to the TOPS program for my current position and I have been here for the past six years!

What is your job title with the TOPS program?

–  My official title is “Program Coordinator,” but my working titles are “Academic Advisor,” “Peer Mentor Supervisor,” and “Parent Liaison.” I wear a lot of hats.

What responsibilities do you have with your job?

I work with the students and their instructors to ensure that both parties have the best possible course audit experience during the semester. In addition, I recruit and train our peer mentors to ensure that they are the best supports for our students and that they have positive experiences engaging with our program. I also seek and disseminate feedback from parents to better our programming from year to year and teach the 1st Year Independent Living SLC.

What do you like best about working with TOPS?

I know this is going to sound cheesy, but the students! There is NEVER a dull day working with these super fun folks. If your student has mentioned some goofy or off-topic conversation that they have had with me it is probably because I am just as silly as they are – I love talking to them about their interests, goals, and ambitions. They truly make this job amazing and I look forward to coming to work every day.

What are some hobbies/interests that you have?

Ask the students! LOL – they know all too well that I am obsessed with houseplants (I have 300+) and cats. I also love reading, being outside, traveling, and exploring Columbus!

Any interesting facts about yourself

I will be graduating in August with my Masters of Social Work! I also currently have three jobs, although I am not sure if that is “interesting” per say.

Mallory with her parents!

TOPS Staff Spotlight: Meet Ashlee

Where are you from? – Lewis Center, OH

What led you to getting involved with the TOPS program? – I came across the job posting for a Disability Career Specialist with the Nisonger Center back in 2014 and thought it sounded similar to the role I had been doing as a Career Development Coordinator at Embracing Autism. What I loved about the position at OSU is that there is much more to it than just employment – it gives students with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to go to college and participate in so many facets of campus and community life while developing themselves personally and professionally.

What is your job title with the TOPS program? – Disability Career Specialist

What responsibilities do you have with your job? – Anything related to career development! I help students with exploring and determining career goals, interview and workplace readiness, and with learning and maintaining job tasks. I teach Independent Study to our 3rd and 4th year students and we focus on a variety of career development and independent living topics. I also get to learn about diversity and inclusion initiatives for various businesses and departments and create partnerships that allow our students to engage in inclusive career exploration and experiential learning opportunities, internships and employment.

What do you like best about working with TOPS? – Seeing the growth in our students and seeing their independence flourish throughout their time with us!

What are some hobbies/interests that you have? – I love to spend time with my family and friends, read, cook, spend time hiking and in nature, and travel and explore new places.

Any interesting facts about yourself – I studied Psychology at Ohio State, I met my *now*  husband when I was 18 years old, I have double jointed elbows, I have never broken a bone and I had a surgery as a baby that makes it to where I can’t throw up. 

Ashlee with her husband and daughter!