10 Things to Know About Jonathan Corey
Meet Stonehill’s Newest Accessibility Advocate
Reflecting on his career thus far, Director of Accessibility Resources Jonathan Corey compares himself to Forrest Gump, one of Tom Hank’s most celebrated characters.
“Like him, I bumbled my way into a lot of things,” he said.
Prior to working in accessibility, Corey, who holds a degree in architecture, spent a few years designing kitchens. He later transitioned to teaching high school social studies. Throughout these experiences, something always felt a little off.
“I feel really fortunate to have gotten into disability and accessibility work,” he said. “Once I found this, I finally didn’t feel like a square peg in my career. Through the work I do now, I’ve found my people.”
As Corey helps students find their place at Stonehill, here are 10 things to know about him.
1. He is an advocate. Since he joined our community in January 2022, Corey has placed focus on ensuring that community members with disabilities are not excluded from full participation in the Stonehill experience because of physical, psychological or learning differences. He does this by helping to determine how the College can reasonably accommodate these folks and their needs. “In my office, we strive to make things simple enough so that a student feels like they can get what they need and it’s not burdensome to them,” he said. “We want to help them get what they need.”
2. He fosters a culture of inclusivity. Corey’s role is not limited to providing students access to resources. He is also responsible for nurturing a culture of inclusivity at Stonehill. “I like to think everyone is on the accessibility team,” he said. “Part of what I do is foster the sense that we’re in this together because it’s the right thing to do. Yes, laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act say you need to do certain things, but we don’t just want to meet the requirements of the law. We want to go beyond that in the spirit of accessibility and in a way that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion.”
3. He enjoys helping students flourish. If there is one thing that working in accessibility has taught Corey, it is that you should never discount anyone’s ability to achieve what they want in life. “That’s one of the joys of this line of work, facilitating that and helping someone who, a generation ago, might have had to drop out of school because of how our culture was. Now, they can stay and graduate and go on to do great things.”
4. He has a Mother Theresa personality. Like many people interested in learning more about themselves, Corey once took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The test revealed that he is an INFJ, which stands for Introversion, I(N)tuition, Feeling and Judging. Corey believes people with this personality type are well-suited to roles in accessibility, as they are sensitive to the needs of others. “They call it the Mother Theresa personality,” he said. “You want to help save the world and make things better.”
5. He empowers his colleagues. Prior to joining the Stonehill community, Corey spent several years working in accessibility at the University of Rhode Island (URI) and Brown University. Corey spearheaded the latter institution’s Accessibility Liaisons Initiative. This training series included four one-hour sessions designed to empower faculty and staff to work with students with disabilities. “The idea was to make faculty more aware so that if a peer came to them with a question, maybe most times the answer would be talk to the accessibility office about it, but in other instances, maybe they could help their colleague think through a question and know how to handle the situation.”
6. He is a peacemaker. During his time at URI, Corey became a certified nonviolence leader through that institution’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. The Center was founded by Bernard LaFayette, Jr., Ed.D., an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The program seeks to institutionalize nonviolence as a process in the hopes of fostering a just society. Becoming a nonviolence trainer and taking part in initiatives focused on creating mutual understanding between people has allowed Corey to collaborate with people from all over the world. “The nonviolence community is almost like its own congregation in a way,” he said. “Everyone wants to help and do something positive. To me, being nonviolent is the most effective way to make change.”
7. He lives in the Ocean State. Corey commutes to Stonehill every day from Providence, Rhode Island, where he has lived for the last few years. “It’s one of those ‘keep it weird’ kind of towns,” he said. “It’s an oddball place and that’s what makes it great.” Corey’s favorite spot in the city is The Ivy Tavern, located on Hope Street.
8. He feels The Force. The first thing you may notice when you walk into Corey’s office is a BB-8 figure displayed proudly on one of his shelves. The rotund robot serves as symbol of the Stonehill staffer’s endearing love for the Star Wars franchise. “Back in 1977, I saw the original Star Wars in the theaters as a kid,” Corey said. “I thought it was the most amazing thing ever.” Corey also counts himself a Trekkie, noting that he appreciates the way Star Trek depicts civilization’s hopes for a brighter tomorrow.
9. He is a multi-instrumentalist. Corey can play the guitar, the bass and the mandolin. He is also quite experienced with the drums, having played them in several bands. “I tell people it’s like riding a bike and swinging on swings at the same time,” he said. “The drums involve a lot of motion.”
10. He wants to expand his musical palette. Jack White, Drive-By Truckers and Death Cab for Cutie are among Corey’s favorite musical acts. Although he often relies on these tried-and-true picks while looking for something to listen to, he wants to keep expanding his musical palette. So, if you are meeting with him, feel free to tell him what is on your playlist. “I’m always open when students have recommendations,” he said. “I don’t want to be one of those people stuck in the 1970s or 1980s. I want to be open to new music and new sounds.”