Facebook Ad Pixel Adam Gerard Earns Dean’s List Recognition While Attending BRIDGES Hybrid Pathway


Adam Gerard Earns Dean’s List Recognition While Attending BRIDGES Hybrid Pathway

April 24, 2024

“If you can dream it, you can do it,” is a quote attributed to Walt Disney and a shared belief of SUNY Orange student Adam Gerard.

He was recently named to the College’s Fall 2023 Dean’s List with a 3.92 GPA and is working toward fulfilling his dreams.

“I want to be a writer and am exploring all the possibilities. My vision includes having my own production company, AZG Independent Media Company. The letters stand for Adam Zachary Gerard,” he said.

Asked how the current semester is progressing, he responded, "In my screenwriting class, I am learning more about bringing stories to life and delving into my emotions in my acting class.”

Pursuing a degree in New Media, Gerard, who is on the autism spectrum, graduated from Suffern High School and the SUNY Orange Traditional BRIDGES Pathway program-- a comprehensive three-year suite of noncredit workshops for members of the Intellectual Developmental Disability (IDD) population interested in learning and improving the basic skills of adulthood. During that time, he successfully audited several classes before joining the newly formed Hybrid Pathway.

The Hybrid Pathway is for students who have graduated high school or have their GED and are attending the BRIDGES program with a goal toward matriculation. They receive focused support, feel understood, independently learn procedures and policies and can pursue a degree.

“During a meeting where Adam, his mother, Professor Hanna Sawka, and myself were present, we discussed Adam's diligence in completing the BRIDGES program and his determination in his audit classes. Hanna and I saw his absolute potential and encouraged him to pursue a college degree. This was the start of creating a Hybrid program for students with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (ID/DD) who need another layer of support and a supportive environment in order to reach their academic goals,” shared BRIDGES Academic Coordinator, Sara Wilbur-Mesic.

Persistence. Resilience. Resourcefulness. Skills all college students would benefit from having while pursuing their higher education goals. Gerard not only commands these abilities, he wisely shares, “I can closely relate to Peter Parker (Spiderman’s alter ego) in that we do make mistakes and struggle with learning, but no matter how many times something slaps us down, we get back up.”

Sawka said, “I got to know Adam as a very talented, smart, and hard-working BRIDGES student in my New Media classes. There, I discovered that Adam is a born storyteller and a very creative person. When, however, he took a more writing and research-focused course with me, I realized that Adam had what it takes to matriculate and complete a degree. I encouraged him to explore a hybrid pathway. He was initially afraid and had self-doubt, but he overcame this. He has proven that the only thing standing in the way were those fears and he has left them far behind. I am so proud of the successful student he has become!”

Explaining where he finds inspiration for his creative stories, Gerard said, “I’m glad you asked that,” then added that they can be based on real-life experiences or sparked by the works of Lloyd Kaufman, Stan Lee, Alfred Hitchcock, or Japanese pop culture.

Finalizing the details for the fall is on Gerard’s to-do list. “I don’t care how long it takes to earn my degree. All students work at their own pace,” he said.

With the rigor and attentiveness Gerard seems to have in endless supply, he is proof that all students can excel at SUNY Orange.