Our Mission 

STARS helps students with autism successfully complete college and develop the necessary tools to thrive in life and career. 

Our Work 

STARS accomplishes this mission by providing:

  • A safe, supportive space in an inclusive environment. 
    • Targeted programs to build social, academic, career, physical and mindfulness skills. 
      • Leadership opportunities where the voices of students are heard and valued. 
        • Awareness and education about autism on campus and in the larger community. 
          • A holistic approach to serving students for their overall health and well-being. 

Our Core Values

Students and Their Strengths: We believe in the ability of students with autism to succeed in college and are convinced that each student has unique gifts and talents that can benefit their families, employers and communities.

Best Practices: We strive for excellence in all we do by employing evidence-based and recognized best practices.

Community: We embrace diversity of students and partnerships and promote an inclusive community where students are encouraged to step out of their comfort zone and participatein STARS programs and campus events.

Results: We aim for positive outcomes and measurable results forthose we serve.

Self-Advocacy: We understand the ability of our students to become theirown advocates is essential to their success.

Autism Awareness: We recognize that understanding autism is the key to eliminating stigmas and creating an environment where all can thrive.

Capacity Building: We acknowledge that sharing accurate information, expertise and best practices with other institutions is the best way to ensure all college students with autism will have the support they need to succeed.


STARS are Social

  • “Peer-led” social events/activities foster social growth and encouragethe formation of meaningful friendships with college peers.
  • Activities promote self-expression and require the students to improvise and think quickly to changing situations which builds confidence and communication skills.
  • Examples of events and activities include; outdoor recreation, craft projects, game nights, karaoke, holiday and birthday celebrations.

TEAM (Teaching Employment and Academic Mastery)

  • A coach individually meets and guides the student on a weekly basis in order to monitor their progress and assists the student with time management, organizational planning & self-advocacy skills.
  • TEAM services are supported by Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation(i.e., STARS is a recognized service provider).
  • There is an application process in order to receive TEAM services.

Stewardship with STARS*

  • Educating, Volunteering, and Giving Back to the Community
  • To create an autism-friendly campus, STARS educates the campus community with techniques and strategies to better understand, instruct and appreciate neurodiversity through workshops andclub fairs.
  • It is important that the STARS students recognize how fortunate they are and support others that are in need of assistance.
  • We are partnering with local nonprofits in order to “pay it forward” through volunteering and community service.

STARS Connects*

  • Mission | Build capacity by assisting companies to include an autism concentration in their own inclusive hiring programs.
  • We will serve as a community resource of support in their efforts by providing awareness and sensitivity training and providing researchand information to aid in navigating and improving their onboarding and employee retention for people with autism.
  • With an unemployment/underemployment rate of 85% among college graduates with autism, the time to start an inclusive hiring program is now (Integrate-Autism Employment Advisors 2020).

lnsideOut with STARS*

  • Many college students with autism experience enormous lifestyle changes which may cause increased anxiety and depression.
  • This program is designed to increase overall health, promote positive lifestyle changes and support independent living.
  • It encourages students to participate in outdoor activities and regular aerobic exercise.
  • This program will also teach mindfulness techniques (e.g., meditation and yoga).
  • It will develop workshops that promote independent living (e.g., doing laundry, cooking, paying bills, planning a household budget).

STARS is an important program because, as an autistic person, I feel comfortable talking to students here.

Contact Us

Kim Jameson
Executive Director, STARS
CBU Office of Student Success