Forget your label, live your life
Kerry Magro, a Seton Hall University alum was completely nonverbal until he was two and a half years old. He had severe sensory integration difficulties for most of his adolescence and is on the autism spectrum. Two weeks ago, an article in The Setonian discussed how he thrived in college. So, what is Magro up to since graduating?
Magro is now the Social Media Coordinator at Autism Speaks, certified public speaker from the National Speakers Association, author of three books, film consultant and one of the only people with autism today to host their own cable TV show.
“I received my first full time job with Autism Speaks in 2013, working or their Digital Strategy team,” he said in an email interview. “It was a very huge transition for me, but I had supportive co-workers who took me under their wing which really helped me early on.”
Magro attributes some of the lessons he learned at SHU to helping his career. “I learned more than anything the importance of advocating for yourself and your needs,” Magro said. “In high school everything was set up for me and when I went to Seton Hall, I needed to learn to speak up and be proactive.”
However, Magro said he has also faced hardships in the workforce due to being on the spectrum. “Every now and then I still have a tough time when it comes to team projects and being able to understand others perspectives,” he said. “It’s made me focus on asking more questions whenever I feel uncertain about something going on.”
Magro also offered advice for students with disabilities, so they can be as successful once they graduate.
“Don’t be focused on your label. I’ve always said that autism can’t define me, but only I can define autism,” Magro said. “You need to have the confidence in yourself that you are capable of great things. Never forget who you are, what your strengths are and live the life you inspire to have every single day.”
Magro graduated from SHU in 2011 with a degree in sports management. He received his masters in 2013 with a degree in strategic communication and leadership. While at SHU, he was involved in the Leadership Development Honors Program for the Stillman School of Business, Alpha Phi Omega, National Residence Hall Honorary, Stillman Exchange and Village Liaisons.
Magro also started the Student Disability Awareness club, the first on campus to focus on spreading awareness for people with disabilities.
Rebecca White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.