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Summer 2017 Fellows standing or seated in wheelchairs, smiling and posing for the camera

Julia Wood, Communications Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2017

RespectAbility Fellow Julia Wood smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Julia Wood

Julia Wood is a Communications Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program. Here, she is using her communication and social media skills to change the public’s perspective of people with disabilities.

Wood is a senior at Emerson College where she is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism. She also is minoring in political science and history. She is passionate about telling other peoples’ stories and feels privileged that she has been given the opportunity to do so.

At birth, Wood’s youngest sister, Melissa, was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease, a metabolic disorder, and then nine years later with Leukemia. Wood always acted as an advocate for her younger sister, which is what drove her to pursue her interests in disability rights and education reform.

Additionally, Wood also has volunteered her time with Buddy Ball, an organization that aids children with disabilities in playing baseball. Previously, she was a communications intern with Make-A-Wish New Hampshire, where she aided in the wish-granting process of children with special needs. She helped grant numerous wishes, the most memorable was helping to give a young boy his very own at home aquarium.

Wood will graduate from Emerson College in the spring of 2018 and hopes to someday work for the communications department of a nonprofit that focuses on education reform and disability rights.


RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact for more information.



Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the Vice President, Communications, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities, and managing editor of The RespectAbility Report, a publication at the intersection of disability and politics. Previously she was a digital researcher with the NBC News political unit. As an individual with an acquired invisible disability - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy - she writes about the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. From entertainment professionals to presidential campaigns, journalists to philanthropists, she conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible. Behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, Appelbaum engages decision makers and creatives to improve the quality and number of authentic, diverse and inclusive presentations of people with disabilities on TV and film so audiences can see people with disabilities as vital contributors in America and around the world. She and her team have consulted on projects with Amazon, Disney/ABC Television, NBCUniversal, Netflix, and The Walt Disney Studios, among others. Appelbaum also enriches the pool of disabled talent in Hollywood by nurturing and connecting them to those who can assist with their careers, both on the creative and business sides of the industry. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit, which was created to help entertainment professionals to be as inclusive of people with disabilities as possible, and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working behind the camera. To reach her, email

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