Alumni Profile: Tommy O'Connor

Tommy O'Connor on an adaptive bike used by paralyzed bikers.JSC alumnus Tommy O'Connor completed his double major in outdoor education and psychology with a five-month internship with the Adaptive Sports Center (ASC) in Crested Butte, CO. A nonprofit organization providing year-round recreation activities for people with disabilities and their families, ASC helps empower those whose physical limitations might otherwise keep them from skiing, mountain biking, rafting, and more.

Tommy was initially drawn to Johnson State College because it enabled him to combine his interests in outdoor education (the Bristol, CT native is an avid runner) and psychology into a degree. And when it came time for him to complete an internship to finish his degree, ASC seemed the perfect place for him to work and learn.

Tommy's initial inquiry about doing an internship at ASC was met with enthusiasm, and he traveled there immediately after JSC graduation in May 2008. "I had a celebratory dinner with my family and then went out to Colorado," he laughs. "Within 12 hours of arriving at ASC, I was on a trip!" The ambitious pace was typical of his experience.

During his five months there, Tommy worked with a variety of people, from wounded veterans to burn victims, all of whom inspired Tommy with their resilience and positive attitudes in the face of great challenges. Now back in Vermont, he's working at Northern Lights Challenge and Leadership Institute in Essex Junction, where he continues to pursue adaptive sports education.

Behavioral Sciences