Disability Mentoring Day Helped Students And Veterans Prepare For Workforce

Keynote speaker Rohan Murphy, a wrestler and power lifter who lost his legs when he was 4, addresses students and veterans during Disability Mentoring Day at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation Oct. 19. (Photos by Ravenwood Photographic)

EAST HANOVER — Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NPC) hosted 50 high school students, college undergraduates, and veterans with disabilities on Oct. 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.

Amr Elsoabsky, an Army veteran who lives in Carteret, participated in the event.

He and two other recent military veterans 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.

Students and veterans, dressed in lab coats and protective glasses, watch members of the Research and Development team conduct experiments with household chemicals during Disability Mentoring Day at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation Oct. 19.

“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 can do anything in life, even with a disability. If you have a goal, go get it.”

Elsoabsky, 22, a special-operations solider in Iraq who spoke 27 dialects of Arabic on the job and sustained multiple war-time injuries, also enjoyed Disability Mentoring Day.

“It’s good that they talked about how to translate military skills into civilian life,” he said. “I want Human Resources representatives to understand that my skills are relevant to jobs in industry.”

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.


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