The NC State University Career Development Center values the career development of every student. Students Moving Forward (SMF) is an independent career-focused program created by two NC State University staff members, and specifically designed for NC State students who identify as “autistic, ‘having’ Asperger’s, and/or being on the autism spectrum.” Each fall and spring semester, we engage our students in career readiness competencies and connect them with employers who value neurodiversity. Students do not need to have an official diagnosis of autism to join and may take part on an as-needed basis.
What We Do
The mission of SMF is to:
- Provide evidenced-based career guidance for students who are autistic/on the autism spectrum.
- Cultivate belongingness and a sense of community for students while strengthening their social and professional capital.
- Increase the rate of our students earning and successfully navigating degree-related (paid) internships and full-time post-graduate opportunities.
During the fall and spring semesters, students participate in a total of 10 group meetings (five per semester). Each meeting focuses on a specific topic and frequently hosts guest speakers from various industries and organizations actively supporting neurodiversity.
Students are also connected with the SMF Professional Advisory Board, a collaborative of local professionals who all identify as autistic and work in a wide range of professions including biotechnology, executive leadership, engineering, law, finance, social science research, and more.
SMF is a free program for all NC State University students and recent alumni.
**All SMF meetings for Fall 2021 will be virtual**
Registration for SMF and meeting dates/times for the Fall 2021 semester will be posted (on this webpage) in August.
Each meeting is 90-minutes in length and will cover a specific topic relevant to career readiness.
Topics include areas such as resumes, cover letters, mock interviews with employers, Q&A panels with employers, discussions on making the transition from student to professional, and more.
Students Moving Forward is fortunate to have established partnerships and support from organizations such as such as SAS, the UNC TEACCH® Autism Program, and the LiNC-IT internship program.
As a member of Students Moving Forward, our students will have direct contact and multiple interactions with recruiters and industry leaders from across NC. In addition, we welcome new partnerships and are always interested to speak with reputable organizations serious about creating workplaces and cultures that are true reflections of neurodiversity.
Professional Advisory Board
Students, like all of us, directly benefit from interactions and mentorship from people with shared identities and interests. Decoding the world of work can be confusing for all of us, and being neurodivergent does not make it any easier. For this reason, Students Moving Forward incorporates a Professional Advisory Board of local Autistic professionals from a range of careers and organizations to help advise and mentor students.
Save the Date!
This year’s summit will be virtual and will take place over two days, September 23rd & September 24th from 9:30am – 5:30pm.
The North Carolina Autistic Career Summit will connect students & professionals seeking degree-related (paid) internships and full-time opportunities with employers who are hiring & seeking to create (or maintain) work environments supporting neurodiversity. Speakers at the summit reflect the diversity of the autistic community and 85% or more of all speakers identify as “autistic, being on the autism spectrum, or as ‘having’ Asperger’s.”
North Carolina Excellence in Leadership Award
During the 2020 summit, a new tradition was started. Two North Carolina students (one at East Carolina University, and one at Forsyth Technical Community College) were presented with the inaugural North Carolina Excellence in Leadership Award. This award is presented to students who “demonstrate a drive and commitment to increasing access to quality employment opportunities for autistic students/professionals, educating local communities about autism to help increase autism acceptance, and/or working to establish an overall greater well-being for autistic students/people.”
Know a North Carolina student who demonstrates excellence in leadership? Nominate them for this award! (Nomination link will be attached and live in August.)
There will be two blocks, a “morning block” and an “afternoon block” with a two-hour break from 11:30am to 1:30pm between the blocks.
This year, we are introducing three tracks. There will be sessions for all tracks in addition to tailored sessions for each track. This year’s tracks are:
The Career Fair
The career fair portion of the summit will be in the second block, on both days of the summit, starting at 3:30pm and lasting until 5:30pm.
We will us the Career Fair+ platform and attendees in the Student/Professional track will be able to schedule 10-minute meetings with employer representatives to discuss degree-related (and paid) internships in addition to full-time opportunities.
In 2019 and 2020, the career portion of the summit included employers such as SAS, IBM, the State of North Carolina, GSK, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Ultranauts, EY, Credit Suisse, NetApp, Allscripts, Bank of America, and more!
Registration for all three tracks (including the career fair) will be live in August. Check back for updates!
Does your organization want to help but uncertain about how? We have several sponsorship opportunities ranging from speaker fees, awards, accessibility measures, and more.
For sponsorship or any other questions concerning the 2021 summit, please contact Wes Wade via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a student, staff/faculty, employer, or a parent with additional questions concerning Students Moving Forward, please contact Wesley Wade at email@example.com
A Note on Language
SMF predominantly uses identity-first language language in support of the neurodiversity paradigm—originally coined and conceptualize by Judy Singer in 1998—which promotes autonomy and social justice for all people who are neurodivergent. To understand more about identity-first language, please read this statement from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN).
SMF values and respects the preferred language of all students, staff/faculty, and those engaging with the program.