Staff Spotlights: Tori Whitaker

Tori Whitaker

Accommodated Testing Specialist – Disability Resource Center


 

Tori is an Accommodated Testing Specialist in the Disability Resource Center and has been in UGA Student Affairs for almost four years. Before joining the Division of Student Affairs, Tori was an undergraduate at the University of Georgia and majored in Sociology. Growing up in Lawrenceville, Tori says that she never really had much of a choice in becoming a Bulldog. “Both of my grandmothers used to work here and my parents went to school here ­— it was never in question that, if I got in, I would be going to school anywhere but here.” 

 

It's exciting to work together with them to find a solution that best supports them and their needs

 

Tori chose to major in Sociology because of her curiosity to learn more about “why” and discover the patterns that exist behind people and their behaviors. Such a curiosity has inspired her to find new ways to support students so they may be as successful throughout their time here at UGA. When asked what she loved most about her job she said, “I like being able to be there for students and find solutions to help them succeed in the classroom. Many of the students we see have barriers with things that some might take for granted, like taking an exam online. It's exciting to work together with them to find a solution that best supports them and their needs. Each day is different and in turn it helps me be a better professional.” When asked for an example, she said, “We have a student that recently showed us a web browser extension that helps students read questions that are shown in an online exam. Sometimes the platform that tests are in might not be compatible with our assistive technology software, but this new one helps students by allowing them to highlight the question and reading the question out to them. They might not be able to read a question for a variety of reasons, but this software can enable them to hear what the text on the screen says and answer the question accordingly; it’s great!”

 

Expressing that level of care and compassion for others comes naturally for Tori and was highlighted by her nominator:

Tori is a Disability Resource Center's Accommodated Testing Specialist and she is AMAZING. She is a role model to her student workers and she leads by example with her professionalism and customer service. Tori is well respected by faculty and students as she has the ability to adapt to their individualized testing needs without missing a beat.

 

Tori says that the food and music scene is her favorite part about living in Athens. “You can eat at a chain if you want to, but living here you get to try food that you might never try otherwise.” When asked what advice she had for new staff, she said it was important to find the time to get out and explore Athens. “It’s a town that can show you so much about other people and yourself. There’s so much to do and see; you just need to put yourself out there.”

 

Favorite Spot on Campus: Herty Field

“What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?”: 

"While studying abroad in undergrad, I spent some time backpacking in Austria and Germany. It was incredible. Not only because of what it taught me about other people and cultures but because of what it taught me about myself. I learned how to be self-reliant and appreciate my abilities. I've always been kind of curious about myself and others while also willing to try new things but this took it up to a new level!"

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