EVENT SUMMARY

Disabled & Proud: Leading Change is an online conference for college students with disabilities, happening October 11-13, 2018. This is a conference for students by students with disabilities, focused on building up students as leaders for campus change to improve accessibility, inclusion, and the campus climate for people with disabilities. Students in any type of degree program, of any age, with any type of disability are welcome. Nondisabled student allies are also welcome to attend.

The 2018 Disabled & Proud: Leading Change is sponsored by Disability Rights, Education, Activism, and Mentoring (DREAM), a national student organization run by students for students. The goal of this conference is to provide students with disabilities with tools to address problems in higher education and to act for positive change, while also helping students meet and network with each other.

DREAM is based at the
National Center for College Students with Disabilities, which is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD).

This online conference will use vConference software and will have sessions, an exhibit hall, and events like an in-person conference. Keynote presentations will include Kay Barnett, Storm Smith, and a panel of college student activists with disabilities. Registration is on a sliding scale, and no one will be turned away for their inability to pay. Participants will receive more detailed information after they register, and questions are welcome at
DREAM@ahead.org any time. More details about the conference, as well as exhibitor and sponsor information, are available at the conference website at www.DisabledandProud.org.

Please note that current and prospective college students of any age will be able to register, but this conference is not for K-12 teachers, professionals, disability services providers or parents unless they are small group leaders, sponsors, or exhibitors (with the exception of professionals supporting students’ participation in the conference for disability-related reasons). Culturally Deaf students and students of any age, with any type of disability, chronic health condition, or mental illness are welcome, and so are their nondisabled allies. Undergraduate, graduate students, auditing students, and those in higher education transition programs are all invited to participate. Prospective college students with disabilities may also join us.

SESSIONS


All times are Eastern Time Printable Schedule || Times, presenters and sessions are subject to change.

10/11/2018 3:00 PM
-to-
3:50 PM


Track:
Ed Roberts Room

Welcome: Strategies for Community Change

Wendy  Harbour
Kim Elmore
 


10/11/2018 5:00 PM
-to-
5:50 PM


Track:
Ed Roberts Room

Keynote Panel: Student Activists on Working for Campus Change

Zina  Jawadi
Jay Pande
Priya Penner
 


10/11/2018 6:00 PM
-to-
6:50 PM


Track:
Ed Roberts Room

What You Can Do When Disability Problems Come Up on Campus

Maddie  O'Meara
Richard Allegra
 


10/11/2018 6:00 PM
-to-
6:50 PM


Track:
Chris Bell Room

Disability Law 101: Know Your Rights to Be a Better Activist

Katherine  Perez
Stephanie Woodward
 


10/11/2018 6:00 PM
-to-
6:50 PM


Track:
Leah Katz-Hernandez Room

Disability History 101: Know Your Disability History to Be a Better Activist

Catherine  Kudlick
 


10/11/2018 7:00 PM
-to-
9:50 PM


Track:
Ed Roberts Room

Deej Screening & Live Tweet

endever  corbin
Kim Elmore
 


10/12/2018 3:00 PM
-to-
3:50 PM


Track:
Chris Bell Room

Keynote: Lydia X. Z. Brown

Lydia X. Z.   Brown
 


10/12/2018 5:00 PM
-to-
5:50 PM


Track:
Ed Roberts Room

Disability Studies 101 for Student Leaders

Megan  Zahneis
Dan Darkow
Angela Carter
 


10/12/2018 5:00 PM
-to-
5:50 PM


Track:
Chris Bell Room

Setting Up Student Groups: What Are Your Options?

Kim  Elmore
Wendy Harbour
 


10/12/2018 5:00 PM
-to-
5:50 PM


Track:
Leah Katz-Hernandez Room

Deaf Studies 101: What "Deaf Gain" Can Teach all Students with Disabilities

Rachel  Kolb
Lauren Kinast
 


10/12/2018 6:00 PM
-to-
6:50 PM


Track:
Ed Roberts Room

Access 101: Planning Events with Universal Design

Kate  Pollack
Diane Wiener
 


10/12/2018 6:00 PM
-to-
6:50 PM


Track:
Chris Bell Room

Policy Activism: How to Affect Policy at Campus, State, and Federal Levels

Elijah  Armstrong
Patrick Cokley
 


10/12/2018 6:00 PM
-to-
6:50 PM


Track:
Leah Katz-Hernandez Room

10/12/2018 8:00 PM
-to-
9:30 PM


Track:
Maysoon Zayid Screening Theater

DREAM Open Student Meeting (Zoom)

K  Wheeler
Kim Elmore
 


10/13/2018 3:00 PM
-to-
3:50 PM


Track:
Leah Katz-Hernandez Room

Keynote: Storm Smith

Storm  Smith
 


10/13/2018 5:00 PM
-to-
5:50 PM


Track:
Ed Roberts Room

Inclusion 101: Understanding Intersectionality to Improve Campus Organizing

Keri  Gray
 


10/13/2018 5:00 PM
-to-
5:50 PM


Track:
Chris Bell Room

Fundraising & Collaborating to Pay for Inclusive Events

Megan  Larson
Scott Lissner
 


10/13/2018 5:00 PM
-to-
5:50 PM


Track:
Leah Katz-Hernandez Room

Saving Your 'Spoons': Taking Care of Yourself While Dealing with Ableism

Toni  Saia
Cara Liebowitz
 


10/13/2018 6:00 PM
-to-
6:50 PM


Track:
Ed Roberts Room

Networking to Reach Your Goals

Xian  Horn
Derek Shields
 


10/13/2018 6:00 PM
-to-
6:50 PM


Track:
Chris Bell Room

Training Allies & Working with Other Marginalized Groups

Nell  Koneczny
Zoie Sheets
 


10/13/2018 6:00 PM
-to-
6:50 PM


Track:
Leah Katz-Hernandez Room

Using Social Media to Find Mentors & Allies

Alyssa  Hillary
Clark Matthews
Kathleen Downes
 


10/13/2018 8:00 PM
-to-
9:30 PM


Track:
Ed Roberts Room

Video Advocacy & Live Tweet

Courtney  Cole
 


SPEAKERS

Richard Allegra

Richard works at the National Center for College Students with Disabilities in the area of Education and Outreach. He creates content for the NCCSD Clearinghouse, main site and Training Center and offer assistance to students, parents, college faculty and other staff, and many others via phone, email and social media.
 
A native of San Francisco, Richard has a long history working alongside disability leaders and organizations, and helped start programs for Deaf refugees and immigrants. He had the honor of meeting with Ed Roberts in establishing this work. He’s been a Disability Resources Manager since 1989 and saw the advent of the ADA while at the University of Minnesota. He’s worked on campus accessibility for all students, and has specific experience working with Deaf students and Blind or Vision Impaired students. From 2003 to 2015 he oversaw professional development activities for members of AHEAD and other Disability Resources & Services professionals.

Elijah Armstrong

Elijah Armstrong is an upperclassman majoring in Education and Public Policy at Penn State University. Elijah founded the student-led project Equal Opportunities for Students to foster self-advocacy and inform students, families, and community stakeholders of their education rights under federal law. He is an alum of the 2018 AAPD Summer Internship Program where he interned for Senator Bob Casey.
 
Elijah is also a public speaker on equity, inclusion, and advocacy. He has given speeches at Columbia University’s Teachers College, New York City Public School Department of Inclusion and given a TED Talk at Johnson and Wales in Miami. He has also been a guest on NPR, discussing the economics of disability. Elijah began his advocacy work after experiencing seizures and sickness related to epilepsy. As a junior at a Jacksonville college prep school, he struggled with the lack of appropriate accommodations and bullying. This caused him to develop strong self-advocacy skills and a desire to support other students with disabilities. 
 
For fun, Elijah performs stand-up at comedy clubs and theatre roles. One of the most inspirational moments of his life was standing in the Rose Garden listening to President Barack Obama and the Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi discuss the importance of human rights and valuing every person.

Lydia X. Z.  Brown

Lydia X. Z. Brown is a disability justice advocate, organizer, and writer whose work has largely focused on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially institutionalization, incarceration, and policing. They have worked to advance transformative change through organizing in the streets, writing legislation, conducting anti-ableism workshops, testifying at regulatory and policy hearings, and disrupting institutional complacency everywhere from the academy to state agencies and the nonprofit-industrial complex.

Lydia recently graduated from Northeastern University School of Law, where they were a Public Interest Law Scholar and served as an active member of the Committee Against Institutional Racism (representing the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association), the Transgender Justice Task Force, and the Faculty Appointments Committee, and are a founding core collective member of the Disability Justice Caucus. At present, they serve as founding board member of the Alliance for Citizen-Directed Services, stakeholder representative to the Massachusetts One Care Implementation Council overseeing health care for Medicaid/Medicare dually-eligible individuals, and board member of the Autism Women’s Network.
In collaboration with E. Ashkenazy and Morénike Giwa-Onaiwu, Lydia is the lead editor and visionary behind All the Weight of Our Dreams, the first-ever anthology of writings and artwork by autistic people of color, published by the Autism Women’s Network in June 2017. Most recently, Lydia has designed and teaches a course on critical disability theory, public policy, and intersectional social movements as a Visiting Lecturer at Tufts University’s Experimental College, beginning in Fall 2016. 

Angela Carter

As a Ronald E. McNair scholar, Angela became a first-generation college graduate in 2009 when she earned a BA in English from Truman State University. She then earned her MA in Feminist Studies from the University of Minnesota in 2015 and will complete her Ph.D. during the 2018-2019 school year. Angela’s dissertation project analyzes dominant discourses of trauma and PTSD through the intersecting analytics of queer theory and feminist disability studies. At “The U,” Angela serves as a graduate instructor in the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, a member of the Disability Resource Center’s Advisory Committee, and a founding member / co-chair of the Critical Disability Studies Collective. In 2017-2018, Angela was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in Women’s Studies and was named an alternate for the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship Award. In 2014, she was awarded both the GWSS Graduate Student Teaching Award and the Disability Resource Center’s Access Achievement Award. Angela has multiple publications, including a 2015 article “Teaching with Trauma: Disability Pedagogy, Feminism, and the Trigger Warnings Debate” published in Disability Studies Quarterly and a recent co-authored chapter in the book Negotiating Disability: Disclosure in Higher Education (Michigan 2017). Outside of her academic endeavors, she enjoys drinking too much coffee, playing with her puppy, and watching the Kansas City Royals play great Major League baseball. Angela identifies as a rural, working-class raised, white, queer, disabled/crip, scholar-educator.

Courtney Cole

Courtney Cole joined the Rooted in Rights team in 2016 as a Creative Intern, working in the Seattle office. In September 2017, Courtney accepted a position on staff as a Creative Production Assistant. She assists in the production of videos and other media content. Currently, Courtney studies at Seattle Central College, pursuing an Associate of Arts degree. During her spare time, Courtney participates with the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) program at the University of Washington, writes for the Rooted in Rights blog and other publications, and enjoys exploring Seattle.

endever corbin

endever* is a trans, queer, low-income, mentally ill autistic who founded a disabled students' group at xyr university. Xe takes classes part-time, volunteers at the library, writes novels with queer neurodivergent characters, and enjoys making crafts. Xe can be found at www.twitter.com/endeverstar, where xe spends far too much time - complaining about ableism, helping mod for #AutChat, retweeting social justice stuff, livetweeting xyr favorite shows, and yelling about Harry Potter.

Dan Darkow

Dan is a graduate from Miami University's Student Affairs in Higher Education master's program. He currently works as a Coordinator in the Miller Center for Student Disability Services at Miami University and advises the Students with Disabilities Advisory Council. Dan's primary interest areas are in reducing physical and digital access barriers while promoting universal design. In addition to his work in the disability services field, Dan adjuncts for the Disability Studies program where he teaches Introduction to Disability Studies for undergraduate students.

Kathleen Downes

Kathleen Downes is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois, where she earned her MSW in May 2018 and her bachelor’s in community health in 2015. She enjoys being with friends, reading, writing, and looking at photos of adorable dogs and cats, especially those of her dog Dolly. Kathleen has cerebral palsy and an anxiety disorder, disabilities that do, in fact, define her because they have shaped her view of the world. She is active in the disability community and loves to use social media to expand her circle of “disabled and proud” comrades! She blogs at The Squeaky Wheelchair and hopes to make the world a better place through her work. She lives in a suburb of New York City with her family and a charmingly squeaky purple wheelchair.

Kim Elmore

Kim Elmore, a graduate student at Texas Tech University, is Coordinator of Disability Rights, Education, Activism, and Mentoring (DREAM), a national online organization for college students with disabilities and their allies.  Kim has formally and informally interviewed college students with disabilities across the U.S. about their experiences developing disability identity and community.  She recently co-authored a book chapter and student resource guide in the newly published Navigating the Transition from High School to College for Students with Disabilities (Routledge).  Kim identifies as Neurodivergent or with psychosocial disability and prefers she/her or they/them pronouns.
 
Visual description: Kim Elmore, a white woman with medium length brown hair, is shown on the green campus of LSU Alexandria in this photo. She is wearing a brown blouse and smiling.

Keri Gray

Keri Gray is a public speaker, diversity & inclusion consultant, and she designs programs catered towards building and attracting diverse millennial talent. Keri identifies as a Black woman with disabilities and uses her experiences, political views, and programming to empower and equip young professionals from marginalized communities. In her work, she actively utilizes a framework of intersectionality- meaning that her work intersects with building recruitment and programming for people of color, women, AND people with disabilities.
 
Keri is also the Director for NextGen Initiatives at Disability:IN. She manages the Mentorship Exchange program, Talent Accelerator program, and NextGen Alumni Network for approximately 1,000 college students and graduates with disabilities who are interested in working in the private sector. These programs collaborate with over 70 companies and provide professional guidance so that students are equipped with professional guidance and skills to transition from school to work.
 
Keri was raised in Longview, Texas but currently resides in the Washington, DC metro area. She attended college at Abilene Christian University where she received bachelor’s degrees in political science and communication and then a master’s degree in communication.

 

Wendy Harbour

Dr. Wendy S. Harbour is the director of the National Center for College Students with Disabilities, based at the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD). She is also a lecturer in policy and communication equity at St. Catherine University. Past positions include being the inaugural Lawrence B. Taishoff Chair for Inclusive Education at Syracuse University, where she held various positions, including directing the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, and co-directing the disability studies program and the Center on Human Policy. Her publications include chapters in How Did You Get Here? Students with Disabilities and their Journeys to Harvard and Righting Education Wrongs: Disability Studies in Law and Education, and articles on disability and higher education in the Journal on Postsecondary Education and Disability, Review of Disability Studies, and Innovative Higher Education. Her primary scholarly interests are disability in higher education, race and disability, disability studies, and universal design. She holds a bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of Minnesota, and a Master’s degree and doctorate from Harvard University. She is active in the Deaf community and lives with her wife and family in Minnesota.

Alyssa Hillary

Alyssa is an Autistic PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program at the University of Rhode Island, and also a math teacher online. They study Augmentative and Alternative Communication, both in the form of brain computer interfaces and as used by autistic adults. Alyssa has also done work on neurodiversity and representation, both in young adult fiction and in auto/biographical writing. 

Xian Horn

Xian Horn is a joyful half-Asian woman with Cerebral Palsy, who serves as teacher, speaker, beauty advocate, blogger, and Exemplar for the AT&T NYU Connect Ability Challenge toward the creation of Assistive Technology. She was named in 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by Women's eNews in 2017. Xian's Give Beauty Wings’ Self-Esteem programs originated and continue at NYU's Initiative for Women with Disabilities, the Jewish Community Center Manhattan, and M.S. 131. She has presented her classes at United Cerebral Palsy, Center for the Independence of the Disabled NY, the Standing Tall school (a school for non-verbal children), & her alma mater New York City Lab School, where she was commencement speaker in 2014. Xian has spoken at Apple, AppNexus, for the New York Public Library, Barnard College, Williams College, the ReelAbilities film festival (where she is on the Film Selection Committee). In 2018, Xian was invited to Cooper Hewitt's Accessibility Advisory Committee. She has served on the NY Women's Foundation Committee for the Future and mentored at the White House for Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0., the US Business Leadership Network's Innovation Lab, coaching their Rising Leaders, as well as high school students at the Future Project and IMentor. Xian has also run vocational workshops for the NYC Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities for Disability Mentoring Day. She served the State Department's International Visitors Leadership Program's European delegation, and has been on the State Department's Speaker's Bureau since 2016. Xian has been featured in The White House Blog's Women Working To Do Good series, NPR, Forbes, Fortune, Fast Company, Bloomberg News, NBC News, Fox 5 and NY1 among others. Xian starred in the Starlight Children's Foundation's PSA, Give Actually campaign. Since Fall of 2016, Xian has worked with Open Style Lab's team at Parson's where they created a couture coat tailored for her needs. She is also a blogger for Positively Positive - a community of over 2.5 million readers.

Zina Jawadi

Zina is most passionate about hearing loss science and advocacy, both of which she has ardently pursued since her early teenage years.  She recently earned a B.S. degree in biology from Stanford University and is working on an M.S. in bioengineering also at Stanford.  Zina has been president of the Hearing Loss Association of America, California State Association since 2015.  At Stanford, Zina has been active with the disability community through Power2ACT, the ASSU (student government) Executive Cabinet, the Abilities Hub, and the Stanford Disability Initiative.  Zina has prelingual bilateral hearing loss, underwent eight years of intensive speech therapy as a child, and wears hearing aids.  She was born and raised in Silicon Valley, California.

Lauren Kinast

Lauren is a technical assistance specialist with the National Deaf Center (NDC) on Postsecondary Outcomes.  Lauren previously worked at public state universities and community colleges coordinating interpreting, captioning, and accommodations for deaf students to access their education.  Along with the 15+ years of experience coordinating services, she has served on several advisory committees or as a board member for various organizations supporting the provision of access and services for deaf individuals.  Prior to working in the postsecondary education sector, she worked as an employment development specialist for deaf individuals providing job coaching, employment skills training, and awareness and consultation to employers.  Lauren received her Masters from California State University, Northridge in Educational Administration and is currently pursuing her doctorate degree at Texas Tech University in Higher Education Leadership with an emphasis on serving deaf students.

Rachel Kolb

Rachel Kolb is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in English literature at Emory University in Atlanta, where she is working on a dissertation that explores nineteenth-century American cultural and literary notions about sound and hearing in conversation with other communicative insights from Deaf studies and Deaf history. Her current academic interests are in nineteenth and twentieth century American literature and culture, Deaf and disability studies, bioethics and health humanities, and cultural ideas about the senses and communication. Prior to starting her Ph.D., she graduated from Stanford University and was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford (where she studied English literature and higher education). Her other writing and public scholarship has been featured in publications such as The New York Times and The Atlantic, and she gave a TED talk at TEDx Stanford in 2013.

Nell Koneczny

Nell Koneczny is a fourth-year PhD student in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Her doctoral research examines professor perspectives and actions on disability, accessibility and inclusion in the classroom. At UIC, she is one of two co-chairs on the Subcommittee on Disabled Student Experiences (SDSE) of the Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (CCSPD). Along with Zoie Sheets and other UIC students, she co-created an accessible classroom training for UIC faculty, administrators, and teaching assistants. Additionally, she was a member of the student group that advocated for the creation of the Disability Cultural Center at UIC. Beyond this work, she is also an AUCD Emerging Leaders Intern. Outside of academia, she is a disability justice activist who focuses on promoting and cultivating accessible spaces. 
 
Image description: A white woman with short black hair wears thick, black-rimmed glasses and smiles at the camera. She also wears a white collared shirt with a repeating dark lined pattern over it, a black and gold diagonal stripe bow tie, and a glass pendant necklace. She leans back on the concrete structure behind her.

Catherine Kudlick

After two decades at the University of California, Davis, Catherine Kudlick became Professor of History and Director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University in 2012. She has published a number of books and articles in disability history, including *Reflections: the Life and Writings of a Young Blind Woman in Postrevolutionary France* and "Disability History: Why We Need Another Other" in the *American Historical Review.* She oversaw completion of Paul Longmore’s posthumously published book, *Telethons: Spectacle, Disability, and the Business of Charity.* She co-edited *The Oxford Handbook of Disability History* with Michael Rembis and Kim Nielsen. She has published two articles in the *New York Times* Disability Series about confronting her "imperfect blindness." As director of the Longmore Institute, she directed the public history exhibit “Patient No More: People with Disabilities Securing Civil Rights” https://sites7.sfsu.edu/longmoreinstitute/patient-no-more and co-hosts Superfest International Disability Film Festival.

Cara Liebowitz

Cara Liebowitz is a multiply disabled activist and writer.  She works as the Development Coordinator for the National Council on Independent Living, managing the organization’s fundraising, grant writing, and corporate partnerships.
 
Cara has presented at numerous conferences and events, including both the previous Disabled & Proud Conferences in 2011 and 2014, the Society for Disability Studies Annual Conference (2014 and 2015), and Cripping the Con (2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016).  In 2016, she was honored to co-facilitate a writing workshop for women and girls with disabilities at the White House.  Currently, she is active with the DC Metro chapter of ADAPT and has been arrested twice for non-violent civil disobedience in defense of disability rights.  She also serves on Disability Rights Maryland’s PAIMI Council, advocating for the rights of individuals with psychiatric diagnoses.
 
Cara holds a B.S. in Education from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in Disability Studies from the CUNY School of Professional Studies.  She is proud to have been a founding board member of DREAM from 2012 – 2014.

Clark Matthews

Clark Matthews joined the team in 2016 and now leads original video production out of the Seattle office. This allows Clark to combine two of his biggest passions: filmmaking and disability rights. Clark’s media collaborations with artists and activists of mixed abilities have played at film festivals around the globe. His work in disability justice has led to involvement with organizations like National ADAPT, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), Not Dead Yet, the International Society for Disability Studies and more. Clark graduated from Temple University with a degree in Film and Media Arts.

Maddie O'Meara

Maddie O’Meara is a first year law student at the University of Minnesota Law School and a graduate of Grinnell College. She hopes to work in the field of disability law and is particularly passionate about mental illness and the intersection of identities with the experience of disability.
 
During her time at Grinnell College, Maddie was involved in a number of committees, advocacy groups, and student organizations related to various causes including disability, mental health, queer and trans rights, and survivors’ rights. Her advocacy work is informed by her own identities and experiences, including being a queer person living with psychiatric disabilities and chronic illness.

Jay Pande

Jay Pande is a junior at Duke University majoring in Computer Science. He has previously served as President of Duke Disability Alliance and planned the organization’s annual Disability Pride Week in 2017 and 2018. His experiences living with Cerebral Palsy compel him to be an advocate for people with disabilities and help his community become more inclusive and accessible. After he graduates, Jay hopes to contribute to the next generation of universally-designed assistive technology. His hobbies include composing music, speaking French, and watching comedy. In 2016, Jay was selected as a U.S. Presidential Scholar.

Priya Penner

Priya Penner is a junior at Syracuse University (SU) majoring in Political Science and Citizenship and Civic Engagement. In addition to her advocacy/activist efforts on campus and belonging to several different disability-focused student organizations, she is currently the President of the Disability Student Union (DSU), a student organization that gives disabled students a space to socialize with each other.
 
Priya was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenital (AMC for short) in Coimbatore, India. At the age of 3 and a half, she was adopted by a disabled couple in Rochester, New York. Her mother taught her the foundations of disability dights and disability pride, and as a result, Priya got involved in ADAPT, locally and nationally, at the age of 14. In the summer of 2015, she, along with four other individuals, presented at the National Council on Independent Living’s Conference. These connections lead her to travel to Japan to speak to the Japanese Independent Living Movement about her role in the U.S. Independent Living/Disability Rights/Disability Justice Movement.

Moving forward, Priya hopes to continue her advocacy/activist efforts on the Syracuse University campus as well as within ADAPT, build DSU and strengthen the SU disability community, and go on to law school upon completion of her B.A.

Katherine Perez

Katherine Pérez is the first Director of the Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy, and Innovation.  Katherine is an attorney, scholar, and recognized leader who initiated the Disabled Latinx Movement.  Through her leadership, she launched the National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities (CNLD), an intersectional organization that advocates on important issues and provides a positive space for the disabled Latinx community.
Her sense of disability justice was formed at a young age as she grew up with psychiatric disability and is a sister to an autistic woman with intellectual disability. Katherine has dedicated her life toward advocating for people with disabilities on local, national, and international levels. 

Katherine graduated from the UCLA School of Law, with specializations in Critical Race Studies, Law and Philosophy and Public Interest Law and Policy.  She is a current doctoral candidate in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she is writing a dissertation on the experiences of undocumented Latinx college students with disabilities.
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) honored Katherine in 2017 with the prestigious Paul G. Hearne Award for her work as a CNLD co-founder.  Katherine serves on the Rooted in Rights, National Center for College Students with Disabilities (NCCSD), and AAPD Rev Up Campaign advisory boards.  She will be teaching Critical Disability Legal Studies at Loyola Law School as a Visiting Professor of Law.

Kate Pollack

Kate received her M.S. in Cultural Foundations of Education and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Disability Studies from the School of Education at Syracuse University in May of 2017. She received her B.A. in History from Hunter College, where she focused on prehistory through the Middle Ages, and religious studies. Kate also has a degree in Fine Arts from Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York, and has worked as a professional cartoonist for publications in Eugene, Oregon.
 
Kate has a background in antiques, Historic Preservation, archival and genealogical research, and spent three years researching and writing for a Syracuse-based genealogical association about an 18th-century psychiatrically disabled man and his family. She has written professionally about the history of 17th-19th C. Early American women, religion, epidemic disease, disability and psychiatric history, and social reform, with a focus on institutions and asylums. Her more recent scholarship and activism focuses on disability and crime, particularly in d/Deaf communities, prisons, criminal justice, and civil rights. Kate is active in the local Deaf community in Syracuse, and attends meetings about civil rights and criminal justice issues.
 
Kate is originally from Oregon, where she still visits, and has family in Syracuse going back 100 years on the West End.

Zoie Sheets

Zoie Sheets is a current Masters of Public Health student at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), focusing on health policy and health outcomes for disabled populations. As an incoming medical student at UIC, Zoie is also highly interested in how physicians are taught (or not taught) about disability and is working to develop disability curriculum for medical students. She has served as the co-chair of several student disability committees at UIC, both during her undergraduate and graduate years, including the Subcommittee on Disabled Student Experiences (SDSE) of the Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (CCSPD). In her work for The Inclusive Collective campus ministry, Zoie examines how faith spaces can be both physically and culturally accessible for disabled people. Outside of academics, she loves to paint, watch way too much Grey’s Anatomy, and find creative ways to care for her chronically-ill body.

Derek Shields

With twenty-three years of experience in disability, accessibility, employment and quality of life programs, Derek has worked in support of global accommodations programs, wounded warrior transition services, domestic violence programs, vocational and rehabilitation research projects for Social Security beneficiaries and veterans, and employer technical assistance and training initiatives centered on improving quality of life for youth and adults with disabilities in the workplace, community and home. 
 
Currently, Derek is a Trainer and Consultant for the Department of Labor’s Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN). As part of The Viscardi Center team providing technical assistance to employers across the nation, Derek provides training and guidance to help employers implement or enhance disability employment inclusion strategies.  Learn more at www.askearn.org.
 
He has also provided program management support services to the Department of Defense Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) for 23 years and the USDA TARGET Center for 18 years.  Both organizations focus on needs assessments, accessible technology, universal design and leveraging modern platforms, networks and tools to enhance productivity of employees and customers with disabilities.
 
Derek also serves as the Director of the National Disability Mentoring Coalition, a membership organization focused on increasing the awareness, quality and impact of mentoring as a disability inclusion strategy. Learn more at www.disabilitymentors.org.
 
He also provides consulting support to the following clients and projects:
•        •          Partners for Youth with Disabilities | Inclusive mentoring projects
•        •          World Institute on Disability | Employment and Economic Empowerment (E3) Initiative, International Programming and External Relations
•        •          Oath | Inclusive focus groups and strategic alliances in support of The Disability Collection Initiative with Getty Images
•        •          Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0 | Disability in Media Initiative
 
Derek leads the business development and operations of ForwardWorks Consulting, LLC, a Virginia-based project management and disability inclusion consulting firm.  Learn more: www.forwardworks.net.
 
A certified Project Management Professional, Derek earned his undergraduate degree from Bucknell University and his Master’s in Management and Disability Services from the University of San Francisco. 
 
Connect with Derek on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/derekshields and Twitter at @derekshieldsFWD.

Storm Smith

Storm Smith—a “storm of all trades”, in which her roles change as whimsically as the weather—will speak on Saturday, October 13. Currently, she is a Art Director at BBDO Worldwide, an award winning top advertising agency, Filmmaker, an Advocate and dynamic Motivational Speaker. Prior to BBDO, Storm served as Media Specialist, Video Producer/Director for the University Communications department, and lastly Creative Video Producer solely for President Roberta J. Cordano of Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. Storm’s endless contributions and appearances have earned her numerous awards, including a prestigious award from the City of Los Angeles, presented by the mayor and city council members, for her dedication and contribution to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Storm is featured in Popsugar, Billboard, Campaign and her recent BBDO’s influential campaign ad “It’s Time to Redefine” (where she produced with her team) is featured in AdAge, Adweek, Creativity, PR News Wire, The Drum and more.

Elizabeth (liz) Anh Thomson

liz is a PhD candidate in Disability Studies, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Their academic research is about disability cultural centers, in higher education in the U.S.- specifically, their creation and how they interact with diversity and inclusion efforts. liz proudly identifies as a dark-skinned, Vietnamese adoptee, bisexual/queer, gender non-conforming, disabled female. They have worked in higher education for over 20 years and previously worked at an LGBTQ and an Asian American cultural center in Chicago. They also have taught Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies. liz is passionate about advocating with marginalized and underrepresented students.
 
Alt Text for photo: A black/white headshot of liz thomson; liz smiles and has a shaved black head, black glasses and black eyes. They wear a black dress, heather gray lightweight sweater, and a multi-strand beaded black necklace.

K Wheeler

K Wheeler is double majoring in Law, Societies, and Justice and Disability Studies in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program at the University of Washington. They are President (Headmaster) of the UW Harry Potter Club and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. K works as an office assistant for Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology (DO-IT), a transition program for students with disabilities from high school to college and college to careers.
 
K has won numerous medals and broken U.S. and world records as a Team USA Paralympic swimmer, including winning 4 golds at the 2015 CanAm Para Swimming Championships. While K has qualified to compete in the Paralympic Games, the lack of events for their classification prevented them from attending. K has since retired their swim cap to focus on their academic and career goals.
 
After graduation, K plans to attend law school and become a disability rights lawyer with a focus on policy. After working as a lawyer for a few years, K has plans to work their way up the political ladder with the hopes of one day being President of the United States. K has a passion for accessibility born through their personal experiences of being a congenital amputee and the experiences of people around them. One of their biggest passions is researching the connection between sexual assault and disability, which the topic of their honors thesis.

 

Diane Wiener

Diane joined Syracuse University’s Division of Student Affairs (now the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience) in October of 2011. She has extensive experience in teaching, group facilitation, advising, mentoring, and consulting. She also has significant experience in program development and management, leadership, counseling, disability advocacy, assessment, and supervision. Diane has worked closely with people with disabilities/disabled people in non-therapeutic and therapeutic contexts, in accordance with sociocultural models of disability, for many years.
From 2005 to 2011, Diane served as an Assistant Professor at SUNY Binghamton in the Department of Social Work. Diane has also worked as a Graduate Teaching Associate and Instructor of Record at the University of Arizona, and as an adjunct faculty member and graduate advisor for the Master of Arts programs at the Prescott College Tucson Center. She worked with the Tucson Youth Development Midtown Neighborhood Project and the Tucson LGBTIQ Youth Suicide Prevention Project, as well as for many agencies and organizations in the social services and activist fields in New York, New Jersey, and Arizona.

Diane earned her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, majoring in Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies and minoring in Anthropology. She has a Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Anthropology, also from the University of Arizona. She received a B.S. in Animal Science from Rutgers University and an M.S.W. from Yeshiva University.
Diane is a member of the Syracuse University Contemplative Collaborative, and myriad other committees. During the fall of 2016, she was appointed by Chancellor Kent Syverud as Co-Chair (with Barry L. Wells) of the University-wide Council on Diversity and Inclusion, reporting to the Chancellor. She has published widely in a variety of subjects related to diversity, social justice, inclusion, pedagogy, and empowerment, with attention paid in particular to interdisciplinarity (including feminist and queer media studies, sociolinguistic and medical anthropology, critical theory), cross-disabilities perspectives, and the Mad Pride movement. Between May, 2016 and January, 2018, Diane blogged for the Huffington Post.  (Please note that Diane's blog for the Huffington Post does not necessarily reflect the views of the Syracuse University Disability Cultural Center, the Syracuse University Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience, or Syracuse University.) Diane's first full-length poetry collection, The Golem Verses, was published in June, 2018, by Nine Mile Press in LaFayette, N.Y.

Also a part-time faculty member, Diane proudly and happily teaches various courses at Syracuse University.

Stephanie Woodward

Stephanie Woodward is the Director of Advocacy at the Center for Disability Rights (CDR). Stephanie attended Syracuse University College of Law where she earned her J.D. with a certificate in Disability Law and Policy and her M.S.Ed. in Disability Studies. Prior to her work at CDR, Stephanie worked as a litigator in Miami, Florida focusing on Disability Rights law. Stephanie is a proud disabled person and organizer with ADAPT, a national grass-roots community that works to assure the civil and human rights of people with disabilities to live in freedom. Stephanie has been arrested multiple times while advocating for Disability Rights. While Stephanie’s work spans across all areas of Disability Rights, she is particularly interested in deinstitutionalization, community living, ending violence against people with disabilities, and improving access in the community.

Megan Zahneis

Megan Zahneis is in her fourth year at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio as a Stamps Leadership Scholar, majoring in journalism and interactive media studies with a minor in disability studies. 
 
In addition to being active in campus media, Megan serves as the co-president of Miami University’s Students with Disabilities Advisory Council (SDAC), which was recognized as the university’s Outstanding New Student Organization of the Year in 2016-17. Among the initiatives Megan and SDAC have supported are a peer-to-peer mentoring program for students with disabilities and the creation of a model accessible classroom. Megan regularly shares her disability experience in class visits and on various culture and hiring committees at Miami. She has also served as an undergraduate assistant in several disability studies courses, presented at conferences on disability, diversity and technology, and will have a chapter published in an edited volume on disability in 2019.
 
Megan is also a member of the executive team at the Ohio Youth Leadership Forum (YLF), an annual four-day program that teaches high school students with disabilities leadership, advocacy and independent living skills. There, Megan assists in curriculum programming and communication as well as serving as a small-group counselor. 
 
Born with a very rare neurological disorder that rendered her unable to feel pain, temperature and touch to the same degree as others do, Megan has also been diagnosed with several other chronic illnesses and is profoundly deaf. She uses bilateral cochlear implants. 
 
Megan is passionate about sharing the stories of people living with disability and difference – including her own – and hopes to attend graduate school.

Sponsors




 




Accessible College: Transition support for students with physical disabilities and health conditions




Since 1977, AHEAD has offered an unparalleled member experience to disability resource professionals, student affairs personnel, ADA coordinators, diversity officers, AT/IT staff, faculty and other instructional personnel, and colleagues who are invested in creating welcoming higher education experiences for disabled individuals. AHEAD boasts a membership of over 3,000, representing all 50 states and over 10 countries. In addition to its direct memberships, AHEAD has formal partnerships with 37 Regional Affiliates and numerous professional organizations. AHEAD members are actively engaged in service provision, consultation and training, and policy development on their campuses and promote accessibility across the field of higher education and beyond.




The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization run by and for autistic people. ASAN was created to serve as a national grassroots disability rights organization for the autistic community, advocating for systems change and ensuring that the voices of autistic people are heard in policy debates and the halls of power. Our staff work to advance civil rights, support self-advocacy in all its forms, and improve public perceptions of autism.




 




DREAM (Disability Rights, Education, Activism, and Mentoring) is a national online organization that connects and supports students to become leaders and agents of change on their campuses.  We strongly advocate for disability culture, community, and pride and hope to serve as an online virtual disability cultural center for students who want to connect with other students. 




 




The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange is a project of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, designed to increase the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange between the United States and other countries, and is supported in its implementation by Mobility International USA. See more: https://www.miusa.org/ncde




The National Center for College Students with Disabilities




The National Council on Independent Living is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. Founded in 1982, NCIL represents thousands of organizations and individuals including: individuals with disabilities, Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), and other organizations that advocate for the human and civil rights of people with disabilities throughout the United States.




The National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (NDC) is a technical assistance and dissemination center funded by the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

NDC provides evidence-based strategies to deaf individuals, family members, and professionals at the local, state, and national levels with the goal of closing education and employment gaps for deaf individuals.




 




NextBillion.org is an online community of university students with disabilities who are interested in working at tech companies.




 




The Society for Disability Studies is a non-profit organization that promotes the study of disability in social, cultural, and political contexts. Through research, artistic production, teaching, and activism, SDS seeks to augment understanding of disability in all cultures and historical periods, to promote greater awareness of the experiences of disabled people, and to advocate for social change.




Think College is proud to support the 2018 Disabled & Proud Conference!




University of Arkansas Partners for Inclusive Communities
Arkansas' University Center on Disabilities

 

Disabled & Proud: Leading Change

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




 
 
 
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