SOAR: About

soar students in front of arch

About SOAR

How It Works

Students On-Campus Achieving Results (SOAR) was founded by Marywood University and the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit (NEIU) in 2008. The first program of its kind, SOAR provides an age-appropriate environment in which high-school age students with Autism Spectrum Disorder can prepare for competitive employment and learn to live independently.

SOAR students spend half of their day at Marywood in classes taught by NEIU teachers. Instruction focuses on independent living, communication, life skills, and career education.

The rest of the day is spent in vocational placements that pair students with Marywood staff. SOAR students work in housekeeping, food services, maintenance, the library, information technology, grounds keeping, and the print shop.

Program Components

  • Real-World Job Training
  • Life Skills Education
  • Family Involvement & Collaboration
  • Marywood Student Involvement
    • A graduate assistant facilitates the program.
    • Undergraduate education students act as job coaches and mentors.
    • Graduate psychology and education students help SOAR students develop social skills.
  • Research
    • Graduate and doctoral students conduct research for their thesis and dissertation.
    • Faculty members utilize the program as a research on program evaluation, social skills, and integration of universal design principles

Real Life Experiences

SOAR provides students with autism "real life experiences" in an age-appropriate environment. The six enrolled students attend classes at Marywood, participate in a half-day of vocational activities in various offices and departments at the University, and participate in student activities. Meet the Students

Community Support

Marywood work-study and volunteer students act as job coaches and mentors for SOAR students. It's a transformational experience for all involved. 

Visit Marywood's Education Department Website

Collaboration with NEIU 19

SOAR is a collaborative program of Marywood University and the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit. The NEIU supports local school districts in educating students through collaboration and innovation. Classes for SOAR students are taught by NEIU instructors.

Bob McTiernan

Executive Director

Kelly Dickey

Director of Special Education

Kristen Samsell

Supervisor of Special Education

Visit NEIU 19's Website