2018 Executive Planning Committee Members
Dr. Josh Baker, Director of the Forming Occupational and Community Understanding for Success (F.O.C.U.S) program at University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Dr. Pamela Hudson Baker, Director of George Mason University’s Division of Special Education and disability Research
Stanley “Bud” Buckhout, Associate Director of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University
Micah Fialka Feldman, Graduate of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University
Dr. Heidi Graff, Director of George Mason University’s Learning into Future Environments (LIFE) Program
Karly Grifasi, Communications Manager, Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University
Diana “Dee” Katovitch, Assistant Director of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University
Rachel Korpan Lee, Logistics Coordinator for the 2018 State of the Art Conference at George Mason University
Stephanie Smith Lee, Chair of the Think College Accreditation Workgroup, and Senior Policy Advisor, National Down Syndrome Congress
Sara Jo Soldovieri, Manager of Inclusive Health Policy & Programming at the National Down Syndrome Society
Dr. Beth Myers, Executive Director of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University
Denise Rozell, Director of Policy Innovation at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities
Cate Weir, Project Coordinator at the Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts, Boston
2018 Advisory Board members
The members of our Advisory Board are instrumental to the State of the Art Conference's success. They provide input, review proposals, and share information. Many thanks go to:
If you are interested in serving on our Advisory Board (and reviewing proposals) for the 2019 State of the Art Conference, please contact Rachel Korpan Lee at email@example.com. Reviewer/Advisors receive a discounted registration in appreciation of their hard work.
- Dr. Jennifer Camota Luebke, Ability Revolution, Inc.
- Dr. Stuart Carroll, The College of New Jersey
- Dr. Paul Cavanagh, New York Institute of Technology
- Kelly Clark, Cornell University
- Joan Cornachio, CUNY/Hunter
- Edie Cusack, College of Charleston
- Rebecca Daley, Beyond Literacy
- Tammy Day, Vanderbilt University
- Nicci T. Dowd, Saint John Paul the Great High School
- Dr. Richard Ferrante, USC School of Medicine
- Dr. Liz Fussell, The Arc - Iberville
- Yvonne Hu-Cotto, Chesapeake Down Syndrome Parent Group
- Michelle Kogel, Iowa Lakes Community College
- Dr. Kristin Love, St. John Fisher College
- Eric Marshburn, University of North Carolina Greensboro
- Dr. Linda Mason, George Mason University
- Dr. Cindi May, College of Charleston
- Kerry McKenna, K3 Transition Resources LLC
- Sue Moraska, Houston Community College
- Dr. Robin Moyher, Mason LIFE Program
- Dr. Susan Onaitis, Mercer County Community College
- Clare Papay, Think College UMass Boston
- Donna Partin, parent
- Dr. Seb Prohn, Virginia Commonwealth University
- Sue Reeves, Aggies Elevated at Utah State University
- Chrisann Schiro-Geist, University of Memphis
- Anna Ward, APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY
- Dana Yarbrough, Virginia Commonwealth University
If you are interested in serving on our Advisory Board (and reviewing proposals) for the 2019 State of the Art Conference, please contact Rachel Korpan Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reviewer/Advisors receive a discounted registration in appreciation of their hard work.
2018 ORGAN IZATIONS REPRESENTED
We have participants and speakers attending SOTA from several organizations:
2018 State of the Art biographies
Kellen Abe was an intern for P2I during his senior year at UNR. Upon graduation, he became a Volunteer In Service to America (VISTA) member for the P2I program, where he worked with the Cognitopia platform to customize it for the P2I program. Upon completion of his VISTA service, and certification as a job developer by the Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators (ACRE), Kellen became the job developer for P2I. He works with students to prepare them for employment. During the last semester of the two-year program, Kellen assists P2I students to find competitive, integrated community employment.
W. Drew Andrews
W. Drew Andrews is the Technical Assistance Coordinator at the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities at the University of Central Florida. Prior to joining the team at FCSUA, he worked as a district exceptional education director, district transition coordinator, project director for a state discretionary project focused on transition, and taught special education. His research interests include program development, students’ work experiences, and postsecondary success of students with intellectual disabilities.
Robert Arnhold, Ph.D., is professor and director of the Slippery Rock University Transition Achievement Program (TAP) and Rock Life, a post-secondary education program for students with ID/DD. He has extensive experience and success in placing students with disabilities into competitive, integrated employment settings. He has been at SRU for 31 years and has received grants in excess of $6 million over the past 20 years from federal, state government entities, and regional foundations.
Josh is an Assistant Professor in special education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the current director and creator of F.O.C.U.S. Josh received his Ph.D. in 2008 from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in special education with a research emphasis on accessing the general education curriculum for students with Intellectual Disability and Autism. Josh came to UNLV in 2012 and started planning the inclusive post-secondary education program in Las Vegas. Josh has always been an advocate for full inclusion and believes that all individuals should be given the opportunity to achieve their personal goals!
Pamela Hudson Baker
Dr. Pamela Hudson Baker is an Associate Professor of special education and Director of the Division of Special Education and disAbility Research at George Mason University. She earned her doctorate in leadership studies from Bowling Green State University, and her M.Ed. and B.S. from the College of William and Mary. Dr. Baker has served as an investigator on a variety of state and federal grants to support educator preparation and focuses her research efforts on building capacity among teachers, administrators, and other educators to facilitate the responsible inclusion of exceptional learners across a variety of settings. She currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE) and as chair of the Product Review Committee for CASE. Prior to making the move to higher education, she was the coordinator of a regional day treatment center where students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (EBD) received specialized services.
Dr. Kathy Becht has been in the field of Exceptional Education for over 25 years with a passion for the self-determination of students with disabilities. Kathy is an educator, advocate, sister, and parent of individuals with disabilities. Currently, the Director of Florida’s Consortium on Inclusive Higher Education (FCIHE), Kathy is immersed in supporting institutions of higher education, community agencies, K-12 schools, and families to see the potential in and opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities as literate citizens; life-long learners, college students, employees, and neighbors.
Nicole Benvenuto, BS, is a 1st year master's student at Clemson University pursuing her M.Ed and EdS in School Counseling. She is a graduate assistant with the ClemsonLIFE (Learning Is For Everyone) program for students with intellectual disabilities. Nicole's research interests include the benefits and struggles of children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities in counseling, specifically those suffering from anxiety and depression.
Mary Bryant developed and directs the Path to Independence (P2I) program at the University of Nevada Reno (UNR). P2I is in its 4th year and is a project of the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities (NCED), which is a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). Bryant's inspiration for the program was her daughter, Kailin, who has Down syndrome. Kailin graduated from P2I in 2017. Bryant also coordinates the Think College Nevada Coalition, a group of universities, colleges and other Nevada stakeholders who are interested in expanding the postsecondary education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities in Nevada.
Stanley "Bud" Buckhout
Stanley “Bud” Buckhout is the Director of InclusiveU and Associate Director of the Taishoff Center of Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University. He has worked in education for over 20 years. He earned his Teaching Certificate, M.S. in Special Education and a C.A.S. from Le Moyne College. He has worked in exploring research and facilitation of groups to aid in the identification of student instructional needs at the collegiate, district and school level. He has implemented trainings at many educational levels to develop effective learning environments for students.
Emma Burgin is the program coordinator for FUTURE. She earned her doctoral degree from the University of Tennessee in Counselor Education and Supervision. Her master’s degree in Clinical/Community Psychology is from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her experience includes working as the Internship and Transition Coordinator for FUTURE and as a clinical mental health counselor in various outpatient and inpatient settings. Her research interests include postsecondary education for students with IDD, mindfulness and acceptance-based counseling, creativity, professional development of counselors, etc.
Carol Burns is the Director of Bethesda College of Applied Learning at Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW). She is a Program Director for Bethesda Lutheran Communities and an adjunct professor in the Special Education Department at CUW. She has a graduate degree in education and over 30 years’ experience developing post-secondary college programs for students with significant disabilities. Ms. Burns was instrumental in developing a post-secondary college program in South Korea. Her professional activities include conference presentations both in the USA and internationally, authoring articles, and serving as a consultant on disability and post-secondary issues.
Zack Chipman has been the ICEI program’s Career Specialist at Bridgewater since November of 2014. He previously worked at the Marshfield Public Schools Post-Secondary Program. Zack has created and developed internships both on and off the college campus. He conducts monthly career workshops that cover core employment topics. Each student meets with Zack for weekly career check-in meetings which focus on essential employment skills and individualized career goals.
Kelly A. Clark
Kelly A. Clark is a Senior Extension Associate at the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability at Cornell University. She received her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2018. She previously worked as a graduate research assistant with the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition. Kelly also has a Masters in School Administration and curriculum and instruction specialist license from UNCC. Kelly has eight years of teaching experience, including one year as a general education math teacher at an alternative school; and primarily served students with low incidence disabilities.
Diane Clouse is the Director of the Transition and Access Program (TAP) at the University of Cincinnati. TAP is a 4-year certificate program for students with developmental disabilities. She earned her doctorate at the University of Cincinnati in Special Education. She was an Assistant Professor at Wilmington College in the Special Education Program. Prior to that she was adjunct faculty at both Wilmington College and Sinclair Community College. She has classroom experience as in Interventionist in various K-12 settings teaching students with emotional and other disabilities. Her research interests involve supporting individuals with IDD in post-secondary education.
Kate Doyle, PhD, BCBA-D, received her degree from the University of Cincinnati. She is currently an Assistant Professor and Director of the Masters of Special Education program at the University of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, OH. Kate serves as an educational consultant to many greater Cincinnati schools. Her research interests include social skills interventions, language and literacy instructional strategies, and behavior interventions for individuals with low incidence disabilities.
Rich Feldman is a longtime activist, retired UAW International Staff Member, author, speaker and father of disability activist, Micah Fialka-Feldman. He facilitates tours of Detroit titled, "From Growing our Economy to Growing our Souls." He co-produced the TASH award-winning documentary, "Through the Same Door: Inclusion Includes College" about his son's university experience. With his family, he conducts workshops for families with children with disabilities; is a contributing author to "hat Matters: Reflections on Disability, Community and Love"(which chronicles Micah's fully inclusive life); participated in the ADA Legacy Tour celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act; and was awarded the Family Voices Life Time Achievement Award for Disability Advocacy.
Janice Fialka, LMSW is a nationally recognized speaker, author, mother, award-winning social worker and advocate on issues related to disability, family-professional partnerships, inclusion, and raising a child with disabilities. She has co-authored the chapter, Student and Family Perspectives in "Think College;” co-authored, "Parents and Professionals Partnering for Children with Disabilities: A Dance that Matters;" and co-produced the TASH award-winning DVD, "Through the Same Door: Inclusion Includes College." Her most recent book (2016) chronicling her son's fully inclusive life in K-12, college, work and Life, "What Matters: Reflections on Disability, Community, and Love" has received high praises by families and leading educators. In 2015, Janice joined the ADA Legacy Tour celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act. She is highly sought-after presenter, and has received several awards, including the Family Award from DEC (of Council for Exceptional Children), and Social Worker of the Year by NASW-Michigan Chapter. Janice and her daughter, Emma, a second-grade teacher have created the IEP-One Page Planning Tool, discussed in the article: "IEPs: Opportunities for Compassion and Conversation
Micah Fialka-Feldman is a self-advocate, teaching assistant, outreach coordinator, national speaker, and pioneer who fights for disability-pride, justice, and inclusion. He is part of the first wave of adults with intellectual disabilities who have attended college and has been fully included in school and community. Micah’s disability advocacy has a foundation in the creation of the “Beloved Community” and the notion that “A community that excludes even one of its members is not a community at all.” Micah earned a certificate in Disability Studies from the Syracuse University School of Education in 2015. Micah currently lives in Syracuse N.Y. where he co-teaches classes in inclusive education and disability studies. He is an outreach coordinator at the Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education. In May of 2014, Micah was appointed by President Obama to President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. He is featured in the upcoming documentary by Dan Habib, Intelligent Lives. In 2009, Micah won a landmark federal lawsuit, Fialka-Feldman v. Oakland University Board of Trustees, to live in the dorms at Oakland University. After Micah had been accepted to live in the dorms in 2007, he received notification from the university that he could not live in the dorm because of “university policy.” The administration argued that he was not considered a “degree-seeking” student. Micah sued Oakland University for violating his rights. After over two years of advocacy court proceedings, the Honorable Judge Duggan of the U.S. 6th District Court ruled that Oakland University had denied Micah housing based on “prejudice, stereotypes and/or unfounded fear of persons with disabilities.” Micah moved into the dorms in January of 2010.
Nicole Geiger is the Transition Career Specialist for ACHIEVE, an inclusive higher education program at Highline College in Des Moines, WA. In this role, she develops individualized internships for ACHIEVE students at community businesses. She previously worked for 5 years as an Employment Consultant at a supported employment services provider, where she found customized jobs for individuals with disabilities and supported them to be successful on the job.
Dr. Carly Blustein Gilson
Dr. Carly Blustein Gilson is an assistant professor of special education in the Department of Educational Psychology. She received her Ph.D. in special education from Vanderbilt University. Her research interests include strengthening employment-related social skills for adolescents and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD); supporting individuals and families through school-to-work transition; and vocational skills and educational team collaborations among special education teachers and paraprofessionals.
Dr. Heidi Graff has personal and professional experience in working with individuals with intellectual disabilities. Along with being a parent of a young adult with autism, she is the director of the Learning into Future Environments program and an assistant professor of special education at George Mason University. Dr. Graff’s commitment to the development of programs and strategies for individual with intellectual disabilities is reflected in her research line of parent readiness, independent living skills, and standardizing the application process for students with low incidence disabilities applying to institutes of higher education.
Jessie Green is the Program Manager of the Transition Options in Postsecondary Settings (TOPS) Program at The Ohio State University. She received her Master of Education from OSU in 2007 and has been working with individuals with disabilities ever since, including teaching Special Education and running several transition programs throughout the United States. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Educational Policy through OSU.
Karly Grifasi is a producer, events manager, and communications professional who works with the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education to develop marketing initiatives, events, websites, videos, and anything else to help further the mission of the Center. Her 20 years of experience in television production, working for Saturday Night Live, and NBC’s TODAY Show, combined with several years in the global non-profit world, have given her an innate ability to find creative solutions for any challenge.
Meg Grigal is a national expert on inclusive higher education and transition for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the co-director of Think College at the ICI at UMASS Boston. She serves as a principal investigator on a variety of research grants including: the I3 Think College Transition Model Project, the National Coordinating Center for TPSID Model Demonstration Programs and the Future Quest Island Stepping Up to Technology project. She co-authored the groundbreaking book, THINK COLLEGE, as well as many other book chapters, journal articles, and research to practice briefs and recently produced a short documentary on inclusive higher education.
Christina Gushana is a PhD student in special education at Texas A&M University.
Katie Hanley, LMSW, has worked with youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities for over 15 years, and has developed and led disability-focused programs and initiatives at a variety of organizations. Katie has been with Oak Hill’s Center for Relationship and Sexuality Education for five years. Now the director of this program, Katie has witnessed firsthand the immense need for accurate information about health relationships, the body, and sexual mistakes in the intellectual and developmental disability population.
Ty Hanson is a higher education specialist for Think College at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Ty has facilitated the inclusion of students with intellectual disability in secondary and postsecondary education through program development, technical assistance and training. Prior to joining Think College, she co-founded and directed the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MAICEI) at Holyoke Community College. Ty’s research interests include program sustainability, inclusive dual enrollment, and participatory action research.
Kathy Hargis is the Risk Management Director at Lipscomb University.
Debra Hart, M.S, is the Director of Education and Transition for the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She has over 35 years of experience, all working with students with disabilities, their families, and professionals to support youth in becoming valued members of their community via participation in inclusive K-12 education, inclusive higher education, and/or integrated competitive employment. Ms. Hart has spent the last 25 years focused on transition related work with SEAs, LEAs, and adult service agencies (e.g., VR, DD, workforce) both in Massachusetts and nationwide especially with her work on the national Think College project. Ms. Hart is currently the Co-PI on the National Coordinating Center for Postsecondary Education Center (Office of Postsecondary Education) for 25 Transition Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSIDs) across 19 states and 44 institutes of higher education.
Todd Haydon is a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW), Associate Professor, and Program Coordinator in the Special Education Program at the University of Cincinnati. He earned his doctorate from the University of Florida in Special Education with a focus on emotional and behavioral disorders. Dr. Haydon’s research interests include effective teaching practices, functional behavior assessments, positive behavior and supports, and the integration of instructional and behavioral interventions for students exhibiting behavioral difficulties. Most recently Dr. Haydon’s research interests have focused on implementing high leverage practices for students with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities in postsecondary classrooms.
Diana “Dee” Katovitch
Diana “Dee” Katovitch is the Coordinator of the Peer to Peer Project, and Assistant Director of the Taishoff Center. She graduated from Syracuse University (B.S. School of Education ’90) and SUNY Cortland (M.S. in Reading ’95) and is currently working towards a C.A.S. in Disability Studies at SU. She worked for 21 years as a special education teacher in New York State public schools. What began as a personal research project on post-secondary education for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities resulted in her book The Power to Spring Up: Postsecondary Education Opportunities for Students with Significant Disabilities (Woodbine House, 2009).
Tom Keating, Ph.D. is founder of Cognitopia, home of the Cognitopia Connect platform for life management applications. Keating has been focused for the past 20 years on research and development of self-management and community living applications for individuals with cognitive disabilities and has been principal investigator on over 20 federally-funded technology development projects. Keating is also an Adjunct Research Faculty member in the Computer and Information Sciences Department of the University of Oregon. Keating’s perspective in all of his work has been strongly influenced by his experience of 31 years as a caregiver for a brother who experienced autism
Cynthia Kerber Gowan
Cynthia Kerber Gowan has been working with Nazareth College in the School of Education for the last 12 years, teaching graduate courses in inclusive education. She currently serves as the Faculty Liaison for the LifePrep@Naz Program, facilitating relationships and community engaged learning opportunities through the LifePrep program. Kerber Gowan also oversees the Mentor Program for LifePrep@Naz, leading between 50-70 undergraduates each semester in community engaged scholarship. She earned her B.A. in English and her M.S. in Teaching and Curriculum from the University of Rochester and her Ph.D. in Special Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Melinda Khachaturian has worked in higher education for over 20 years, with a passion for enhancing the college experience for students and professionals. Melinda began her career at the University of Connecticut, then continued in the field of international education and recruitment at Education Management Corporation. Melinda currently serves as the National Director of Admissions and Outreach for College Living Experience (CLE), an organization that provides wrap around support and transition services to young adults with exceptionalities. CLE has six locations across the United States.
Rachel Korpan Lee
Combining her excitement to be in the forefront of such a growing field with her apparent ability to juggle spinning plates, Rachel Korpan Lee has been the Logistics Coordinator for the State of the Art Conference since 2011. It has been an honor to see the conference grow in size and scope, and Rachel’s favorite part about her job is educating people about the possibilities of PSE for students with ID/DD. Utilizing her MA in History, she is also a USA Today bestselling novelist under the name Caroline Lee, with her 38th book coming out next week.
Sherri Landis has served as the DREAM Partnership's first executive director. Over the past five years, DREAM has quickly become a leader and voice in Pennsylvania in the movement to support students with ID/DD with increased choices of postsecondary options which lead to employment. DREAM received a $1.4 million grant from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) in 2014. The funds from that grant allowed DREAM to facilitate the development of eight inclusive postsecondary education (PSE) opportunities for students with ID/DD, host the state's first PSE symposium, and develop helpful guides to assist parents, students, and professionals navigate the transition process to postsecondary education. Prior to join DREAM, Sherri served as the Executive Director of trade association, lobbyist and campaign consultant.
Dr. Debra Leach is a Professor of Special Education at Winthrop University. She serves as the program director for the undergraduate special education program and as the Director of the Winthrop Think College program, a fully-inclusive post-secondary program for students with ID/DD. Her areas of specialization are ASD, ABA, PBIS, MTSS, and inclusion from birth to adulthood. She is the author of Bringing ABA into Your Inclusive Classroom, Bringing ABA to Home, School, and Play for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Disabilities, and Behavioral Support for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Practical Help for 10 Common Challenges.
Stephanie Smith Lee
Stephanie Smith Lee has over thirty years of public policy experience including, senior Congressional staff positions. Since her daughter, Laura, was born with Down syndrome in 1982, she has led many successful disability advocacy efforts at the local, state, and Federal levels. As the Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the US Department of Education Ms. Lee was responsible for the implementation of IDEA. She led a successful effort to obtain federal financial aid and model IPSE programs. As Senior Policy Advisor to the National Down Syndrome Congress, she chairs the Think College Accreditation Workgroup that developed model accreditation standards for these programs.
Dr. Kristen Love is a Visiting Assistant Professor at St. John Fisher College. She has been in the field of education for over 15 years, working mostly with students with intellectual disabilities in a variety of classroom and community settings. She has conducted participatory action research on college campuses on the experiences of students with intellectual disabilities attending college. In addition, Dr. Love works closely with the postsecondary education program on the St. John Fisher College to promote more opportunities to be integrated and supported on the campus through the use of peer supports.
Cindi May is a Professor of Psychology at the College of Charleston. She explores avenues for improving cognitive function in college students, older adults, and individuals with intellectual disabilities. She is also an advocate for inclusive educational, professional, residential, and social opportunities for people with disabilities, and has facilitated development of programs that serve students with IDD in inclusive settings.
Sean McElwee happens to have Down syndrome. Sean thrived in inclusion in primary school and survived exclusion in secondary school. Knowing he wanted to be on television from an early age his disappointment that the high school drama teacher wouldn't allow him to continue past Drama 1 didn't dissuade him. He attended community college and took drama, and acting before the camera and independently worked on improving his articulation. Working at a trampoline park (2017), and volunteering in his church's Sunday School and the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County Sean also is an entrepreneur creating t-shirts with his funny sayings on them. He is a self-professed- ladies-man, still seeking that perfect woman. He is a gifted athlete and plays golf, baseball, basketball, bowls and loves Flag football, is a Black Belt in Karate and has dance moves that own the floor. Living in his own apartment with supported living staff facilitating his independence, Sean loves making his own decisions and eating bean and cheese burritos every single day. Sean balances his life with speaking engagements across the country, and loves posing for selfies with his fans. Sean is very proud to be a cast member for the Emmy Award Winning A&E Television show, "Born This Way."
Jean McCrumb, M.A., is Program Coordinator for the PSE Program at Monroe Community College (MCC) in Rochester, New York. Jean works with students and staff from two adult agencies and one local school district to develop successful college-based programs. She is a parent and advocate whose daughter recently exited from a different local PSE program. Jean also has experience as a Direct Disability Support Services Professional.
Dr. Kimberly McKinsey-Mabry is the Dean of Business and Community Engagement at Monroe Community College, a position held since September 2016. In this capacity, Kim oversees the Schools of Business and Community Engagement & Development, which include Business Administration and Economics, Law & Criminal Justice, Human Services, and Education academic departments as well as Rochester AmeriCorps, TEAM/TPSID, Rochester Early College, Horizons, and a Court to College/TASC program. Previously, Dr. McKinsey-Mabry served as interim dean of Academic Services at MCC’s Damon City Campus for three years and Assistant to the Provost and Vice President in Academic Services.
· I am 30 years old.
· I have a dog named Bella.
· I have Down Syndrome.
· I am gluten-free. This is because I have celiac disease, which makes it difficult for me to digest wheats and cereals. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease, like an allergy.
· I live with my parents, Patti and Mark.
· I am pursuing my Associates Degree at Onondaga Community College
· I have my NYS Driver license
· I work for the National Down Syndrome Society as the Manager of Grassroots Advocacy
· I am the first registered lobbyist in the nation who happens to have Down Syndrome
Chauncey Metzelaars has served as a special education teacher for over six years working with students with moderate and severe/profound disabilities in elementary and middle school settings. She has been an advocate for inclusive practices for students with ID/DD since she began her career. She is now the coordinator of the Winthrop Think College program enjoying the opportunity to work in a fully inclusive setting.
Susanna Miller-Raines, MSW is the Statewide Coordinator of the Georgia Inclusive Postsecondary Education Consortium at the Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University. Her responsibilities at the Center are related to inclusive postsecondary education, transition, college and career readiness, as well as leadership development for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is the Project Coordinator for the Consortium’s TPSID Grant. Susanna consults with Think College to build capacity for state alliances and is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Southeast PSE Alliance.
Martha Mock, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the University of Rochester. In addition, she is the director of the Institute for Innovative Transition, and the director of the inclusive teacher education program. Mock has worked alongside and on behalf of individuals with disabilities and their families as a teacher, professor and advocate for over two decades. Mock and the Institute team are committed to expanding high quality transition options for students with IDD throughout New York State; they are currently working with City University of New York AHRC NYC, and NYC Department of Education to expand college options for students with IDD. She has conducted lobbying and legislative advocacy at the state and federal level.
Robin Moyher, Ph.D, BCBA-D, LBA is the Assistant Director at the Mason LIFE Program at George Mason University. Before this position she held numerous positions in Fairfax County Public Schools, as well as private ABA therapy and Adapted Tae Kwon Do. Her research interests include sex education, social skills, and independent living skills for young adults with disabilities.
Beth Myers, Ed.D. is the Executive Director of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University. She is also a Research Assistant Professor in the Teaching and Leadership Department of the School of Education, teaching in the Inclusive Elementary and Special Education Program and leading graduate students in a Special Education Consultant internship program. Beth holds degrees in elementary education, special education, and literacy from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.
Maria Paiewonsky, Ed.D, is a transition specialist and inclusive researcher at the Institute for Community Inclusion. She also serves as Director of the Transition Leadership program, a personnel preparation program that prepared scholars as Transition Specialists at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Maria has coordinated numerous transition related projects and works with teachers, interdisciplinary team members, students and families to develop inclusive college, work and community outcomes. She also coordinates a federally-funded project, ‘Think College Transition’, partnering with Massachusetts institutes of higher education and school districts to implement, research and evaluate an inclusive dual enrollment transition model of services for students with intellectual disability.
Dr. Parsley has a bachelor and master degree in Speech Language Pathology and a doctorate degree in Special Education Administration. She has dedicated her career to students with disabilities, previously serving as an autism consultant and special education coordinator in K-12 public schools. Misty is an associate professor and the Director of Special Education Programs at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN where she teaches in the graduate and undergraduate special education programs. She started the IDEAL program, Igniting the Dream of Education and Access at Lipscomb, in January 2014 and was a 2015 TPSID grant recipient.
Julie Pollard is the Associate Director of ACHIEVE and Highline College.
Mary Price, M. Ed. has been with Bridgewater State University as the Director for the Center for Pre K – 12 Educational Outreach and for twelve years. Mary’s primary focus is working with public school districts throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands where she delivers professional development programs for educators. She is also active in working with high needs school districts in writing grant proposals to increase teacher knowledge in the Math and Science areas. Mary’s most recent achievement is her role as Director of the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (ICEI) Program at Bridgewater State University. This program allows students with intellectual disabilities to audit a college level course participate in Education Coaching sessions, Career Workshops and experience extra-curricular activities on campus. Mary has extensive background in grant writing, special education and higher education. Prior to coming on board at BSU, Mary was an educator for middle and high school in the public sector. In her time away from campus, Mary enjoys spending time with her family and visiting Cape Cod.
Tina Raeke, M.Ed., is the Coordinator of the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative at Bridgewater State University. Tina has over 18 years of experience as a special educator, working with students with disabilities in both substantially separate settings, as well as inclusive settings. During her three years at Bridgewater, Tina has focused her efforts on creating additional inclusive campus opportunities for ICEI student by building collaborative relationships with several BSU departments. In addition, Tina has strengthened district partnerships by instituting professional development workshops for district Educational Coaches and Liaisons. In her free time, Tina enjoys spending time with her husband, four children, and her dog Bailey!
Kristina Randall, M.Ed., is a 2nd year doctoral student at Clemson University pursuing her doctorate in Special Education. She is a graduate assistant with the Clemson LIFE (Learning Is For Everyone) post-secondary educational program for students with intellectual disabilities. Kristina’s research interests include self-determination for children with intellectual disabilities, specifically in the role of choice-making interventions on student autonomy and effective instructional strategies.
Rene Reese, MBA, is a Lecturer and Career Development Coordinator for the Excel Program at Georgia Tech. Rene has over 20 years’ experience providing and implementing employment and training services to individuals with a wide range of disabilities. She has worked in Inclusive Post-Secondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities for the last 7 years and most recently has developed an on-line Job Search Toolkit at Georgia Tech to assist students with intellectual and other disabilities in meeting their career goals.
Jean M. Richardson
Dr. Jean M. Richardson is the director of Kirkridge Retreat Center in Bangor, PA. A mother and advocate, Jean is the primary organizer of a small project entitled T.I.P., Together It’s Possible. TIP is a grassroots organization based at the retreat center dedicated to dreaming and working toward new possibilities for young adults living with autism and intellectual disability in the Slate Belt area of northeastern Pennsylvania. A trained facilitator of the Center for Courage and Renewal®, Jean has served as an urban pastor, consultant, graduate school faculty member and worked in a variety of capacities with non-profit organizations.
Katherine Rigsby offers variety of expertise to the Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth. During her undergraduate studies, she became employed by the Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth as a peer mentor to assist the students in internships and academic courses. Katherine was then hired as the Operations Coordinator, where she continues to provide her expertise of 10+ years of working with individuals with disabilities, 5+ of program management, and a Masters of Public Administration with the focus being on nonprofit management. Currently, as well as for this future project, Katherine trains and supervises all student mentors, coordinates the admissions intake, and oversees all program operations including budget.
Dr. Wanda Routier is an Assistant Professor and director of Graduate Special Education Programs at Concordia University Wisconsin, and Faculty Liaison for Bethesda College at Concordia University, a post-secondary college program for students with significant disabilities. She is a former music and special education teacher with more than 30 years’ experience teaching from birth through the university level. She also worked on Capitol Hill in Washington DC and was involved in the reauthorization of IDEA at the federal level. Dr. Routier has presented at conferences, authored curricula and articles, and serves as a consultant on disability and other issues.
Denise Rozell is the Policy Strategist at AUCD working primarily on issues affecting youth in post-secondary education, employment and independent living. Denise has twenty-five years of experience in disability policy at the federal and state level working on almost all issues and legislation affecting individuals with disabilities beginning with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Before joining AUCD, Denise spent 15 years as the Assistant Vice President for State Government Relations at Easter Seals as the primary resource to Easter Seals 75 affiliates in building capacity to increase awareness of and support for disability issues in state government. Denise also developed expertise on issues of state policy and systems change including autism, Medicaid managed care, ACA implementation and health delivery system reform. Denise holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Occidental College in Los Angeles and a juris doctorate from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California in Berkeley.
Dr. Joe Ryan is the Sue Stanzione Distinguished Professor of special education. He is the founder and Executive Director of Clemson LIFE (Learning is for Everyone), a nationally recognized post-secondary education program for young adults with intellectual disabilities. He has taught students with emotional and behavioral disorders (E/BD) from grades K through 12 across a variety of educational settings, including resource and self-contained classrooms, special day schools, and a residential treatment center. Dr. Ryan has over 70 publications, and currently serves as the Editor of the journal Beyond Behavior. His research interests focus on behavioral interventions and enhancing post-school outcomes for individuals with intellectual disabilities. He has been interviewed by Anderson Cooper, CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other leading periodicals, and given two U.S. Congressional Briefings on behavioral crisis interventions for schools. Dr. Ryan is also the founder and Director of several adaptive sports programs (baseball, soccer), Clemson Letterbox Club an educational program for children in foster care, and volunteers as a Guardian ad Litem.
Teresa Swan is faculty in the Access Programs for People with Disabilities Department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, British Columbia, Canada. She holds a Master of Education and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Calgary with a Community Rehabilitation and Disabilities Studies specialization. Teresa is committed to advancing knowledge and awareness through disability-related research, education, policy, and practice with a specific focus on inclusive post-secondary education for learners with intellectual disabilities.
Russ Thenlin is a Senior Policy Fellow with the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boson with 28 years of working with individuals with disabilities, primarily Vocational Rehabilitation. Russ holds a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Utah State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Utah. He is a Licensed Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (LVRC) in Utah, nationally Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), and trained in public management. Prior to the ICI, Russ had a 25-year career with the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation, holding several roles for that agency including Executive Director, Division Director, Administrative Services Director, Client Services Director, Regional Director, and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. Russ is the recipient of the Utah Rehabilitation Association Garth Eldredge Award of Excellence, and the Utah Ethical Leadership in Government Award from The Daniels Fund/University of Utah.
Christina Tichacek, M.Ed., is the Residence Life Coordinator of the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative at Bridgewater State University. Christina has over 10 years of experience working with adults with disabilities in inclusive settings. Before coming to BSU, Christina served as a Case Coordinator for an agency that supported individuals with disabilities who were living independently in their community. Christina collaborates with several departments at BSU to ensure students have an inclusive, fulfilling college experience while living on campus. Through her work with ICEI students and their Peer Mentors, Christina has helped foster authentic friendships that will last a lifetime. Since the pilot of the Residence Life program in 2016, the number of students with intellectual disabilities living on campus has tripled. When she is not on campus, Christina enjoys watching the Patriots and spending time with her husband and three year old son!
Erica Walters currently serves as the Program Coordinator of the ClemsonLIFE Program at Clemson University. She began her career of working with the special needs population in 1996 working at Camp Hope/Sertoma, which is a camp that is part of the Outdoor Lab at Clemson University. Erica has a BA in Early Childhood Education from LaGrange College, a MEd in Special Education from Clemson University, an EdS in Administration and Supervision from Clemson University, and is currently working on her PhD in Educational Leadership at Clemson University. She was employed by the public school system for 15 years, with 8 of those years in the classroom as a Special Education teacher and 7 of those years serving in the capacity of Behavior Interventionist, Autism Specialist and Elementary Coordinator at the district level. Erica serves on the Advisory Board for Pickens County First Steps and Pickens County Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, along with serving on Child Health and Well-Being Coalition Leadership Team for Children's Health of SC. She has enjoyed her time with ClemsonLIFE in the capacity of Coordinator and looks forward to collaborating with other postsecondary transition programs to have a positive impact on across the country.
Cate is program director for the Think College National Coordinating Center at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston. In that role, she coordinates all activities of the National Center, and was instrumental in the development of model accreditation standards for inclusive postsecondary education programs. She has been working to increase opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to go to college for over 20 years.
K. Ryan Wennerlind
Ryan Wennerlind is the associate director of Project F.O.C.U.S. at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). Project F.O.C.U.S. is in its third year with 16 students with intellectual/developmental disabilities or autism who attend UNLV. In addition to being the associate director of Project F.O.C.U.S., Ryan is a third-year doctoral student at UNLV. His research interests include transition planning and post-secondary education outcomes for individual with intellectual disability.
Dr. Fiona Whittington-Walsh is a faculty member in the Department of Sociology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). She also serves as the Vice-President of Inclusion BC, a provincial non-profit organization that strives for the full inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all aspects of life. Research interests involve collaborative, participatory research projects with people with disabilities. Her current research is geared around The Including All Citizens Project, which has been funded by KPU, Vancouver Foundation, Inclusion BC and the Langley Association for Community Living.
Mallory Workman is the Academic Advisor and Head of Volunteer Recruitment for the Transition Options in Postsecondary Settings (TOPS) program at The Ohio State University. She began as a peer mentor with the program in 2011, transitioned into a student assistant position in 2013, and has been working in a staff capacity for the past three years. Mallory has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs and International Studies and is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work at OSU.
Barb Ziemke has been a parent advocate and project coordinator at PACER Center for 16 years, specializing in the areas of inclusion and secondary transition. In addition to working with families, she writes training curriculum and presents workshops to parents and professionals. A former educator and parent involvement coordinator in school and clinic settings, she believes in the value of family involvement and parent-professional collaboration. She has served as chairperson of Minnesota’s Special Education Advisory Panel, and currently serves on Minnesota’s State Rehabilitation Council and the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind. Barb is the parent of a young adult son with an intellectual and developmental disability who is successfully learning, living and working in the community.