Carolyn Swalina

Photo of Lead Disability Specialist Carolyn Swalina

Contact Carolyn

Job title: 
Lead Disability Specialist & Supervisor

When I graduated from high school, I had no idea that I would eventually pursue a career working with college students. I arrived at Wilkes University as a first-generation college student pursuing a TV/Radio major, with the hope of becoming a radio DJ. Over the course of my studies, I found myself regularly developing new interests in topics I had not considered before, and I graduated with a double major in Communications and English and a minor in History.

A teaching assistantship allowed me to pursue graduate studies in English at the University of Maine, Orono, where I found that I enjoyed teaching and that I also enjoyed working with and advocating for the equal access of students with disabilities that impacted their writing process. These interests led me to enroll in the Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University, where my research focused on applying the principles of universal design of instruction to create inclusive college writing classrooms.

My drive to support the equal access of all students as they developed confidence in their scholarly identities and ownership over their space in the University led me to become a professional staff member at UC Berkeley in 2005, when I accepted the position of Writing Program Coordinator at the Student Learning Center. While serving in this role, I also served as liaison to the Disabled Students’ Program, where, in 2014, I began working as a Disability Specialist. In September 2015, I began serving as a College Adviser in the Letters and Science Office of Undergraduate Advising, and in September 2017, I returned to the Disabled Students’ Program, where I now serve as the Lead Disability Specialist.

In my current role, I enjoy applying my experience in supervision, advising, advocacy, student development, and campus culture to support the work of DSP’s Disability Specialist team and to support the equal access and participation of students with disabilities on Berkeley’s campus.




Trans 101 workshop, February 2014

UndocuAlly training, October 2015

Trans: A Gender Identity Inclusion Workshop, December 2015

UndocuAlly Training 2.0, April 2017