East Hanover, New Jersey – (Oct. 27, 2011) – Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NPC) hosted 50 high school students, college undergraduates, and veterans with disabilities on October 19, National Disability Mentoring Day, for a hands-on career exploration event.
The purpose of the initiative at the Company’s East Hanover campus was to share insights with special-needs young adults about the career possibilities open to them, and to help build a diverse local future workforce.
Students from Orange High School, Bloomfield High School, Hanover Park High School, the College of St. Elizabeth and Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Teaneck campus participated. Also in attendance were veterans being aided by Boonton-based nonprofit Tip of the Arrow Foundation, whose mission is to help recent military veterans transition into civilian work life.
Attendees participated in interactive career sessions, and heard a keynote speech by Rohan Murphy, whose legs were amputated when he was 4. Despite this adversity, Murphy went on to become a successful high school and college wrestler, Paralympics power lifter and motivational speaker. A panel of Novartis employees who have disabilities also shared words about overcoming obstacles and their careers at the company.
“When I was a kid, people always told me what I could and could not do — especially what I couldn’t do — and I always wanted to prove them wrong,” Murphy said. “I knew I could do anything in life, even with a disability. If you have a goal, go get it.”
Michael Battista, a junior at Bloomfield High School who wants to be the first in his family to go to college, where he plans to study law and then join the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, said he was inspired by the event.
“I learned that it doesn’t matter if you have a disability or not,” he said. “If you put your mind to it, you can set a goal and go out and do it.”
Liz Burbano, a senior at Hanover Park High School who wants to work in genetic counseling, chemistry, biochemistry or research, also enjoyed the event.
“I like how Novartis is like a family,” she said. “Everyone is very warm and welcoming. It would be a cool environment to work in.”
National Disability Mentoring Day is sponsored by the American Association of People with Disabilities. In New Jersey, it was coordinated by Allies, Inc., an advocate for people with disabilities and their families.
For further information, please contact:
- Beth Incollingo: 609-351-5990; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Anna Fand: 973-275-6125; cell 973-201-1312; email@example.com