Meet Rachel Carter, Test Administrator Extraordinaire

On the third floor of SUB I you’ll find a small office crowded with desks, No. 2 pencils, and Funko Pops as far as the eye can see. In this office, you’ll also Rachel Carter, Test Administrator of the Disability Services Testing Center. The Testing Center is a low-distraction testing environment that is set up to accommodate students of all abilities. Rachel is a Mason alum, Marvel aficionado, and overall badass. She’s passionate about her work, promoting equal access and empowerment for all students. 

Anna Bertino (AB): How was your undergraduate experience at Mason?

Rachel Carter (RC): I transferred from NOVA (Northern Virginia Community College), so I was here for two years. I graduated in 2014 with a B.A. in English. I was in the Undergraduate English Society, and I was also on the board of Volition, which is a student-run literary magazine. Volition was a really fun experience; it was a small group that basically got together to have fun and write stories. I wish more people knew about it, it’s a really cool opportunity for students to get their creative work published. 

AB: What were some of the “hot topics” on campus when you were a student here?

RC: I feel like students who lived off-campus back in the day were looking for more involvement opportunities, and I feel like that has really gotten better. There are more ways to get involved. Parking was another big issue. But the number of students has grown since I went here, but the number of parking spaces hasn’t really. 

AB: So now you’re back at Mason as a full-time employee. How did you find Disability Services?

RC: Yeah, so I ended up at NOVA working in their testing center part-time for three years after I graduated. I liked the work, but I needed a full-time position, so I came here. 

AB: How is campus different now? RC: I go to more meetings now. I still go to campus events, but the balance has shifted. There’s not that much of a difference on campus in general. Don’t get me started about the JC though. That’s different — I want my Burger King and Taco Bell back! 

AB: Let’s talk about Disability Services at Mason. How has it changed over the years, and what is your approach?

RC: The testing center has improved drastically. We implemented a central location with a lot more structure, with proctors and fewer distractions. We’ve expanded our staff as well. For example, we now have a full-time staff member dedicated to blind and low-vision student needs. Personally, I try to create a calm atmosphere so students who show up for a test and are nervous feel more comfortable when they start. It’s helpful for me to remember students to personalize our conversations and build a genuine relationship. Humanizing the process makes it all less stressful. ]

AB: What is something you wish people knew about Disability Services? 

RC: I wish people didn’t create a stigma. We’re friendly, non-judgemental, and here to help. I also wish more people knew about our services so they could use us as a resource if they need us. 

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