FIU - Education , Florida International University

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Project Panther LIFE

The primary goal of Project Panther LIFE is to provide a comprehensive postsecondary program and system of supports through partnerships to eligible students with ID through a well-planned, structured, and individualized curriculum and related program and community experiences focusing on academics and instruction, social activities, employment, and independent living.

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The principal objectives of Project Panther LIFE include:

  1. The recruitment, preparation, and retention of eighteen (18) students with ID that meet project eligibility criteria;

  2. Initial and ongoing advising, academic mentoring, peer coaching support, and job coaching;

  3. The development of self-determination and advocacy skills for students and families enrolled in the program;

  4. The development and generalization of independent living skills in the community;

  5. The ongoing evaluation of the program leading to revisions and modifications in program development and expansion, functioning, implementation, and requirements;

  6. The successful completion of students with ID from the program; and

  7. The successful and paid employability of students with ID from the program.




Delia C. Garcia
College of Education, FIU
ZEB 320


Diana Valle-Riestra
Assistant Professor of Special Education & Principal Investigator
Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education, FIU
ZEB 247B

Mandy Giust

Mandy Giust
FIU Program Coordinator
ZEB 245B


Jill Brookner
Transition Supervisor
Division of Special Education, M-DCPS


Rene Sierra
M-DCPS Project Coordinator, MMC


Isabel Garcia
Exectuive Director
Parent to Parent of Miami, Inc.


Nick Chang
Transition Specialist
Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Ana Laura dos Santos Lara

Ana Laura dos Santos Lara
Post-Secondary Education & Support Specialist
Parent to Parent of Miami, Inc.

Alex Acosta

Alex Acosta
M-DCPS Paraprofessional, MMC

Rosa Crawford

Rosa Crawford
M-DCPS Paraprofessional, BBC

Angela Obregon

Angela Obregon
M-DCPS Project Coordinator, BBC

Britney Cochran

Britney Cochran
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor