Cathy Schelly, M.Ed., OTR/L, FAOTA
Assistant Professor
Director, Center for Community Partnerships (CCP)

Cathy is the director of the Center for Community Partnerships, a service, practice and outreach arm of the Department of Occupational Therapy. She coordinates the service, outreach, education and research activities of the Center, which provides:

  • Community and campus reintegration and compensatory skill development for incoming and enrolled CSU post-9/11 student veterans with TBI and/or other life altering injuries and disabilities, who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas around the globe.
  • Academic and life mentoring for CSU students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), brain injury, or other disabilities that impact the student’s ability to experience academic and life success.
  • Community-based educational support and mentoring, supported employment, independent living and community access support for individuals with disabilities, including ASD, brain injury, intellectual and/or developmental disability, mental illness, learning disability, and/or physical challenges. Referred individuals include community members, CSU students, transitioning youth, and injured veterans.
  • Fieldwork education for Level I and Level II occupational therapy students, as well as social work interns.

Cathy is the founder and director of the New Start for Student Veterans Program, being implemented through the Center for Community Partnerships. The New Start Program, funded through generous support from Mr. Dennis Repp, a private benefactor and CSU alumni, as well as sponsorship from multiple donors and referrals from the Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation office, provides campus and community-based supports, advocacy and skill acquisition interventions for post-9/11 student veterans who have sustained service-connected injuries that impact their successful transition from the military to civilian life and higher education. The New Start Program conducts applied research, tracking persistence, retention and graduation outcomes of student veterans with injuries as they pursue their college education and move on to successful careers.

Cathy is the Principal Investigator of the CHOICES Project (Creating Higher-education Opportunities for Individualized Career and Employment Success), funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education. Through CHOICES, enrolled students with autism spectrum disorder, brain injury, and other disabilities that impact their academic pursuits are receiving guidance and mentoring from CCP Opportunities for Postsecondary Success (OPS) staff and CSU occupational therapy student mentors. An Empowerment Course is available for transitioning youth with disabilities through a partnership with CHOICES and the CSU Division of Continuing Education. Empowerment students participate in career exploration as a part of this course, which culminates in internships at employment settings in the community and ultimately employment. Empowerment students also participate in CSU activities and events on and off campus while enrolled in the course. The CHOICES Project is a partnership between CSU Resources for Disabled Students, CSU Division of Student Affairs, Front Range Community College, the Poudre School District, Foothills Gateway, Inc., the CO Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and the City of Fort Collins Adaptive Recreation Opportunities Program.

Cathy’s personal interests include hiking, biking, fishing, playing tennis, playing piano and spoiling her grandchildren. She adores her grandkids and will take any and every opportunity to tell you how wonderful they are!


Cathy Schelly

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