More Than an Intern, Cherished Member of the Whitman Mailroom

Music and the Whitman mailroom; these are two staples in Bobby Pangborn’s ’20 life in which he takes great pride. Pangborn is a current senior in the InclusiveU program at Syracuse University. 

Karly Grifasi, the director of communications for InclusiveU explains, “Through the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, students with intellectual and developmental disabilities have had access to Syracuse University classes for over a decade. The formalization of InclusiveU in 2015 really helped to grow campus opportunities.”

Executive Director of the Taishoff Center, Beth Myers, states, “Whitman has been a fantastic partner to InclusiveU, and we are so thankful to have them as part of our university team.”

Where it All Began for Pangborn

Pangborn began the college InclusiveU program in 2016. He shares,“I have my mom to thank for it because she used to work at Syracuse University.” However, Pangborn explains that he actually began his experience with the University in 2014.

Grifasi states, “Bobby started InclusiveU as an “OnCampus” student, which is a partnership between Syracuse City School District and the University.”  The OnCampus program hosts students with developmental disabilities and assists them with the transition of leaving high school. Grifasi adds, “We were fortunate to have Bobby here for more than the traditional four InclusiveU years. To be able to watch him learn and grow has been a pleasure and we will miss him!”

“Pangborn describes his current schedule with InclusiveU, “During this crisis, my professors and my classmates meet on Zoom everyday from 9:00 to 9:45 a.m. We used to meet at Huntington Hall, the School of Education, every morning at 9a.m. and we did that again at 2p.m. after our internships ended.”

A Valued Member of the Whitman School

Pangborn has become a highly regarded member in the mailroom at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. “I help with sorting mail, copying papers like quizzes, syllabuses and tests,” he says.

A person taking a selfie in a mirror

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(Pangborn working at the Whitman mail center.)

Minet Schindehutte, associate professor of entrepreneurship, at the Whitman School, explains that Pangborn is a standout worker because of his attention to detail. Pangborn helped her with a research project and was regularly entrusted to help Schindehutte copy material. “Only Bobby could do perfect scanning of chapters from books—and I always have a lot of scan requests,” says Schindehutte. 

She adds, “If you want to get the job done right—no matter what the task entails, then Bobby is the one you go to. He is everything one can wish for in an assistant. He is highly organized, gives speedy execution, and is consistently effective.” 

Schindehutte notes that Pangborn accepts every task with a positive attitude. “Regardless of whether the task is big or small, simple, or complex, he tackles it with the same methodical vigor. The mailroom/copy room will not be the same without Bobby there next year.”

Learning Through his Internship Experience

Being part of InclusiveU has taught Pangborn many skills. Pangborn explains, “Brianna Shults is our internship coordinator and teacher. She teaches us about getting a job, flexibility and socializing.” 

Socializing is something that Pangborn admits he struggles with sometimes because he is shy. However, he still loves to make new friends.

Brianna Shults, internship and employment coordinator for InclusiveU at Syracuse University, says, “Bobby has been such an enjoyable addition to this year’s internship class. Bobby has demonstrated great growth and flexibility throughout this year, especially with our move to online learning. Bobby has shown himself to be a valuable employee in his attention to detail, strong work ethic, and his willingness to learn. Any employer would be lucky to have Bobby. It has been a great year watching Bobby’s growth professionally and I look forward to seeing where he ends up following graduation!”

Myers says, “Our students learn valuable business skills in their work and can apply those skills to a variety of opportunities once they graduate. In addition, the alumni network that Whitman offers is so strong, and to see their openness to the inclusion of students with disabilities shows true dedication to the Orange Spirit.”

A group of people posing for a photo

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(Pangborn with other InclusiveU student interns.)

Beyond the Classroom at Syracuse University

Pangborn enjoys university life beyond his internship. He and his classmates have become good friends. “We go to events like Orange After Dark. That is my favorite thing about Syracuse University. You go to places after midnight like the arcade, trampoline park and the basketball or football games,” says Pangborn.

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(Pangborn and his friends at an AU football game.)

Pangborn has also been able to merge other passions into his curriculum at Syracuse University. He is a big music fan. During his sophomore year, he took a Beatles Appreciation class and had the opportunity to meet John Lennon’s first girlfriend.

He also self describes as, “a bit of a mediocre drummer.” Pangborn would practice his skill every time he goes to the Guitar Center, which was every other Saturday. In addition, he enjoys watching YouTube videos to learn more about music and acting.

Many people are not aware that Pangborn is a seasoned actor. He explains, “When I was a kid, I liked movies, so my mom encouraged me to get into theater.” He had his debut during high school in Seussical the Musical where he played the role of a Who. 

Pangborn adds, “I mostly acted at The Red House. I did that every spring and fall. I was in their plays. In musicals, I was in the ensemble, but I was a Lost Boy in Peter Pan.”

A person standing in front of a curtain

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(Pangborn posing before a show at Syracuse Stage.)

Currently, Pangborn’s goal after graduation is to try to get a job ushering at a theater.

“I already volunteered at some of the theaters, the Red House and the Landmark Theater,” he says.

Pangborn is appreciative of his time in InclusiveU and will be graduating this spring.

He advises anyone thinking about InclusiveU to try the program. “It can help you get a better education. It helps to give you a better future. People have been nice in the program,” Pangborn says.

Learn more about the InclusiveU program at Syracuse University.

Maya Bingaman
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