Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Next Steps at Vanderbilt Students meet philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates

Updated on 11/12/2010 2:56:10 PM.

Source: Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Two students in the Next Steps at Vanderbilt postsecondary education program met philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates when the Gates visited Nashville’s Tennessee Technology Center (TTC) on November 4.

Joining the Gates on the visit were Alan Golston, their U.S. Program Director of the Gates Foundation, and other Foundation members.

In preparation for the Gates Foundation’s visit, Edward Nesbitt, Next Steps at Vanderbilt student, was assigned as an intern at the TTC receptionist’s desk.

“Edward proudly and proficiently performed his duties as a greeter,” said Tammy Day, Next Steps at Vanderbilt Program Director.

Hallie Bearden, another Next Steps at Vanderbilt student, was also interning with a TTC staff member in another part of the building where she, too, was able to meet the Gates.

“Both students were very excited about this amazing opportunity,” Day said. “For Next Steps at Vanderbilt, this was a momentous day, because it showed how much the Nashville Technology Center supports and values the vocational training of students with significant learning challenges.”

The Gates toured several programs on the TTC campus with TTC Director Mark Lenz and Assistant Director Arrita Summers, who have been instrumental in the collaboration between TTC and Next Steps at Vanderbilt.

After the TTC tour, the Gates were joined by John Morgan, Chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, and Dr. Rich Rhoda, Executive Director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, to discuss Tennessee higher education systems. The TTC tour was among other visits that the Gates made of Tennessee higher education institutions.

A program of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Next Steps at Vanderbilt is a 2-year, nonresidential, certificate program for students with intellectual disabilities. Students have individualized Programs of Study in the areas of education, social and independent living skills, and vocational training. Employment preparation includes internships at Vanderbilt University and, for some students, course work and/or internships at the Nashville Tennessee Technology Center.

Next Steps at Vanderbilt is supported in part by a grant from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities and the philanthropy of Linda Brooks and the LDB Foundation.

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