International Neurodiversity Celebration Week March 2024

Monday, March 18 – Sunday, March 24, 2023

Dakota County Technical College is proud to support Neurodiversity Celebration Week, Monday, March 18, through Sunday, March 24, 2024. The celebratory week offers numerous opportunities to attend introductory webinars, panel discussions, and more—all aimed to expand awareness via education and sharing while inspiring more conversations about neurodiversity.

[See SCHEDULE below.]

Anna Voight, associate director of student life at DCTC, serves as chair of the college’s Neurodiverse Employee Resource Group (ERG). Anna reported that interest in and support of neurodiversity from members of the DCTC campus community has been truly exceptional over the past year and a half.

“When we formed the Neurodiverse ERG in November 2022, we started with just five members. As of February 2024, we’ve had thirty-nine employees join the group, and we continue to grow.”

Anna added that last year’s Neurodiversity Celebration Week activities played a key role in creating greater awareness and understanding of neurodiversity and how it impacts members of our campus community.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported efforts for neuro-inclusion at DCTC,” she said. “Special shout out to Nicole Meulemans, Laina Carlson, Erin Manthey, and Melissa Fletcher who have provided irreplaceable support to me as I have navigated my autism diagnosis journey, the accommodation process at work, and neuro-inclusion advocacy at DCTC and beyond.”

Neurodiversity Week at DCTC


NOTE: All scheduled events are virtual.

Learn more about neurodiversity at DCTC…

Click image below to read the Neurodiverse ERG flyer.

DCTC campus community perspectives

“The more I learn, the more I see the urgency of looking critically at what we do, so we create colleges where neurodiverse students and employees feel welcome and supported to do their best work.”

Michael Berndt
Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College

“As an executive sponsor of the Neurodiversity ERG, I believe celebrating neurodiversity in the workplace during Neurodiversity Celebration Week evokes emotions of pride, empowerment, gratitude, hope, and responsibility. By acknowledging and celebrating our differences, we reinforce the importance of and our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campus.  Embracing and celebrating the unique strengths and perspectives allows employees to come to work as their authentic selves. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to support and uplift neurodiverse voices on our campus.”

Laina Carlson
Human Resources Director
Executive Sponsor, Neurodiverse Employee Resource Group
Dakota County Technical College
Inver Hills Community College

“Our diverse perspectives enrich our college, and it is our collective responsibility to create an environment that not only acknowledges, but celebrates the richness that neurodiversity brings to our college community.”

Heather Aagesen-Huebner
Vice President of Finance & Operations
Executive Sponsor, Neurodiverse Employee Resource Group
Dakota County Technical College
Inver Hills Community College

“It is exciting to see the work the DCTC Neurodiverse ERG is doing to help us become aware of the neurodiverse community as well as increase our understanding. I believe it is important to learn about human differences, especially in the work we do in higher education helping others, whether it be students or employees. Hopefully, people will take time to attend one or more of the many sessions during Neurodiversity Celebration Week. Thank you to the Neurodiverse ERG for increasing our awareness and coordinating the events of the week.”

Anne Johnson
Vice President of Student Affairs
Dakota County Technical College

“Celebrating neurodiversity at work gives me freedom and courage. The freedom and support in disclosing my own neurodivergence to coworkers helped me have the courage to disclose to my students as well. Working in an atmosphere where neurological differences are not seen as something to ‘cure,’ but to celebrate allows all of us to prosper and shine!”

Adrienne Zarn
Medical Coding Faculty
Dakota County Technical College

“As an employee, I feel it’s been really great to find a supportive community where I can be myself. I’m seeing the efforts on campus, for instance, facilitating body doubling, and I love that inclusion for ND people is a benefit for the entire student body.”

Jamie Eschbach
Dakota County Technical College

“It’s nice to know I’m not alone in some of the struggles I face. Working in an administrative role can be really challenging when you struggle with executive function, being easily distracted, or being overstimulated. I think there’s a lot more neurodiverse people on our team than I initially thought, so it makes me feel among good company.”


“I feel like DCTC supports neurodivergent students really well. Makes them feel included at school and gives some help and support from teachers, which is amazing and which also makes them feel special. Neurodiversity is not a defect, it’s a beautiful variation of the human experience.”

Ali Hassan
Exercise and Sports Science Major
Student Ambassador
Dakota County Technical College

“As a Medical Coding student, I am learning about the DSM, and the details of diagnoses in more detail. Neurodiversity week helped me better understand how some diagnoses more than others have stigma attached. Some avoid seeking a mental health diagnosis because of internalized and external ableism.

“Student ambassadors like myself are well supported, and for the first time I feel safe to ask questions and seek guidance about my own diagnoses and internal struggles. Finding trust with myself and with my healthcare providers is a lifelong journey, one that I feel can safely explore with my peers at DCTC’S Neurodiversity Week.”

Alexis Nordling
Medical Coding Major
Student Ambassador
Dakota County Technical College

“Some strength I see in neurodivergent individuals is that are they are very open, welcoming, very enthusiastic, and caring.”

Anonymous Student Leader

“I have an adult daughter whose neurodiversity throughout K12 was masked by her many other qualities, and she was not diagnosed until after college. As her mother, my heart still aches for her in that, by having that diagnosis earlier, I could have advocated for her in K12, and she would have had a set of strategies already in place for college.

“She persisted, despite her lack of a diagnosis/treatment, but it didn’t have to be so hard for her. If you are struggling, either as a student or an adult, I urge you to seek the help that you need to be successful in school and/or at work.”

Wendy Marson
Director of Institutional Effectiveness
Dakota County Technical College

“Neurodiversity is a framework that outlines how brains work across spectrum of difference. Much of what has been traditionally defined as ‘mainstream’ in terms of processing, focus, emotion, and even social interaction is a narrow one. The neurodiversity movement started in the 1990s with a focus on people who are autistic or have ADHD; in recent years it’s expanded to recognizing individual strengths, not deficits, and finding ways to create new supports that benefit everyone, e.g., captioning for all!

“Neurodiversity Celebration Week is just that—a celebration of honoring and learning. I’m deeply grateful to Anna Voight and the work of the Neurodiverse ERG in spearheading this time to learn. I hope everyone will take a moment to attend at least one session that resonates with them.”

Melissa Fletcher, MA
Educational Access and Disability Resources Director
Dakota County Technical College

“DCTC is doing an amazing job advocating for the neurodivergent community! DCTC continues to educate students and faculty about neurodiversity, so we can support ourselves and our peers!”

Bethany Mejia-Elias
Individualized Studies Major
Lead Student Ambassador
Student Senate Secretary

“DCTC supports neurodivergent students through special help for students and special resources to help each individual.”

Anonymous Student

“DCTC supports neurodivergent students by having workshops and resources to help people be more informed and giving support to those who need it. This makes DCTC an all-around better community and place to learn.”

Thomas Soriano Garcia
Automotive Technician Major
Student Ambassador
Dakota County Technical College

“A strength of neurodivergent people is that they are very creative!”

Student Ambassador
Dakota County Technical College

“It is important to me that all individuals I interact with feel encouraged and free to be their authentic selves. Understanding and supporting neurodiversity fosters an inclusive environment where unique talents thrive, driving innovation and productivity. Embracing diverse perspectives enriches our teams and strengthens our collective success.”

Kim Shaff
Foundation Executive Director
Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College

“As a director-level employee here at DCTC, I find it encouraging to observe the commitment and efforts that our college puts forth to ensure that every individual, including in our neurodiverse community, feels valued and empowered to thrive in their roles. It’s a testament to our shared goal of fostering a workplace where everyone can bring their authentic selves to work and contribute to our collective success.

“Recognizing that everyone’s journey is different, we understand the importance of providing support and opportunities for individuals to share their experiences on their terms. In building an inclusive community, our aim is to create an environment where everyone feels supported and empowered rather than judged or burdened by the fear of judgment. Together, we aspire to continue to make DCTC a place where diversity is not just acknowledged, but celebrated.”

Heath Baumgard
Director of Recruitment and Admissions
Dakota County Technical College

What is Neurodiversity Celebration Week?¹

Neurodiversity Celebration Week is a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. It aims to transform how neurodivergent individuals are perceived and supported by providing schools, universities, and organizations with the opportunity to recognize the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent, while creating more inclusive and equitable cultures that celebrate differences and empower every individual.


You can learn more about the Neurodiverse Employee Resource Group (ERG) at DCTC by contacting:

Anna Voight
ERG Chair
Associate Director of Student Life
Dakota County Technical College

Erin Manthey
ERG Vice Chair
Mathematics Faculty
Dakota County Technical College

¹ SOURCE: Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2023