Services for Students with Disabilities

Charlotte O'Connor

Charlotte O'Connor is the newest member to join the SSD staff. She takes over academic coaching duties from Virginia Grubaugh who after 15 years of service retired this summer. Here Charlotte shares with us what motivates her in her profession and in life.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?

I have lived in southeast Michigan my entire life. I grew up on a lake in Commerce Township when the area was still quite rural, well before Twelve Oaks Mall was built. I currently live in Dexter, which reminds me of my roots, yet is close enough to Ann Arbor and Detroit to take in all the good things that city life offers.

I’m the youngest of three children, and though painfully shy as a child and young adult, I bloomed into an extrovert after graduating from college. I love working with people -- they energize me!

What is your role in the SSD office?

As Academic Coach and Coordinator of Learning Services, I help students identify their strengths and create habits for success. Goals of coaching are greater self-advocacy, and improved time-management and organizational skills. I also coordinate the SSD Mentors program, which matches students with peer mentors.

What is your educational background?

I earned a Bachelor’s degree in French from U-M Ann Arbor and a Master of Education (Special Education) from U-M Dearborn. Most recently, I completed a graduate certificate in Postsecondary Reading and Learning from California State University - Fullerton. I’m a lifelong learner, so higher education is the perfect workplace for me.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I love to cook, spend time with my family, dogs, and friends, read nonfiction, and travel. I am fond of independent films and frequently attend concerts and live theatre. I enjoy attending sporting events -- especially Michigan football and Red Wings hockey games. Despite the fact that I possess absolutely no athletic talent, a current goal is to become proficient at golf. I’ve spent a significant amount of time on the driving range and have taken multiple lessons; now I simply need to get out there and play!  As I undertake this mission, my self-talk includes a piece of advice I frequently give to students: “practice makes better -- perfect need not be the primary goal.”  FORE! 

What is your favorite quote?

I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.

                                                                                                             Louisa May Alcott