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Paul McGowan

C O C President

Picture of Paul McGowanPaul McGowan, co-founder of Comrades Of Courage, is a senior at USA majoring in English with a minor in history. He is set to graduate in December of 2007.

Paul is the father of three boys, ages 10, 8, and 7. His children keep him pretty busy but he makes time for other interest when he can. Some of these interests include: flying, swimming, boating, biking, writing, reading, and the occasional movie. He is also currently evolved with Comrades Of Courage, Golden Key International, Alpha Chi, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Alpha Theta honor societies.

For Paul, Comrades Of Courage has always been an exercise in self-help-therapy through positive actions that achieve changes at South Alabama; it has been a labor of love. He believes everyone, no matter their sex, race, religion, orientation, or handicapped status deserves the same opportunities afforded to others. Removal of barriers in the classroom and on the campus of South Alabama has been his fervent goal for going-on five years.

He plans to attend graduate school after his undergraduate work at South Alabama is complete in December this year. He is considering the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and the University of West Florida in Pensacola for his graduate work. He tells us he will continue his studies in English Literature and says he plans to eventually go on to work towards receiving his doctorate. He is also interested in completing his bachelor degree in Early American History.

Paul is always happy to talk with people regarding issues at South Alabama, and in the Mobile community. If you would like Paul to speak to you about problems you see at South, or would like to request him to speak to your classroom regarding disability and the college experience please go to the Request Speaker page.

Paul McGowan

Staci Balsan

C O C Vice President

Picture of Staci BalsanI want to be the first to welcome you to our student organization.  This is my first year as Vice President of C O C and I hope to be able to live up to the standards of C O C.  I should let you know that I was the President of this fine organization for its first 3 years.

Currently, I am a senior aiming for a degree in Human Services.  I only have two semesters to go before I will have that much deserved degree in my hands.  It has been a long road paved with oodles of blood, sweat, and tears; nevertheless, it has been a road that I would not change for the world. 

It was through C O C that I first gained my voice—it’s where I learned that speaking out against something that is wrong can bring about positive change as wells as self-satisfaction.  This organization has given me the courage to speak up and see that changes get made.  It has given me the courage to fight for what I believe in and lend my voice to those that are afraid to speak up for change.

To that end, I have made changes in my own education and life goals that will enable me to assist people with disabilities.  Moving towards that goal I intentionally changed where I worked as a Student Worker at the SGA office to the Office of Special Student Services to work in my chosen field.  I have been happily employed at the Office of Special Student Services for two years.  I made this change because I believe it will prepare me for the next phase in my life which is to get a Master’s Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling. If you have any questions please stop by Student Center Room 270 and I will be happy to assist you in anyway possible.

We have seen many positive changes in our short time here at South Alabama, but that will not stop us from pushing forward for even more changes.  We are ready to move this University into the 21st century.  We as an organization can and will continue to make changes to move this University towards a Barrier-Free campus.

Staci Balsan

Pandy Kensler

COC Financial Director

Picture of Pandy KenslerPandy is a senior at the University of South Alabama majoring in Leisure Studies and Therapeutic Recreation and is scheduled to graduate on Dec 8, 2007. In addition to being the Financial Director of Comrades Of Courage, Pandy also holds membership positions in Golden Key International and Kappa Delta Pi( international Honor Society in Education).

In the future, she plans to become certified as a Recreational Therapist and pursue her master's degree in another therapy field. Pandy has a strong beliefs that people with disabilities should receive all assistance and support necessary to pursue their academic endeavors. Pandy Kensler stands ready to assistance anyone in anyway possible, so please feel free to contact her.

Pandy Kensler

Henry Melvin McKiven, Jr.

Academic Advisor

Image Of Henry Melvin McKivenHenry Melvin McKiven, Jr., known simply as Mel to his friends, serves as Comrades Of Courage current Academic Advisor and has served in this position for nearly two years.

Mel knows first-hand how very important having schools with no physical or academic barriers is to a student. His own son has Cerebral Palsy and uses a walker to ambulate the public school campus.  This experience has given Mel a keen insight to the problems right here on the South Alabama Campus. He was directly involved in having the USA Main Library doors automated and is active in the operations of Comrades Of Courage. His insight and knowledge in the fields of ADA law and the University workings is invaluable to this group.

Mel McKiven

Comrades Of Courage - Mobile Alabama 36688 (251) 533-8802
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