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

Zein Al Maha Oweis, Communications Apprentice

National Leadership Program, Fall 2017

Respectability fellow Zein Al Maha smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Zein Al Maha

Zein Al Maha Oweis (Zee) was a Jordanian Communications Apprentice in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program. She joined the team in the fall of 2017 to use and build her skills to help serve people with disabilities through her knowledge of communications and journalism.

Oweis is visually impaired and always has been intrigued by how powerful one’s voice can be used when telling a story and raising awareness. During her teenage years, she would listen to the daily news and was captivated by the vocal techniques used when broadcasting the news. She uses her oral and aural skills to help her navigate the world around her. Maha also is a competitive Ballroom and Latin dancer for eight years and has competed in Italy and Monte Carlo.

In 2016, Oweis graduated as valedictorian from Regent’s University London where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Media Communications. She recently graduated with a Master’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism from American University. She is passionate about topics related to persons with disabilities which is evident in her journalism work. Maha voiced over New Technology Rolls Out For Persons With Disabilities, a news package assignment highlighting new technology for persons with disabilities used during the 2016 election season.

Prior to joining RespectAbility, Oweis held an internship position at the Library of Congress as part of its Communications Office in the summer. She wrote articles such as ‘Wonder Woman’ Visits ‘Library of Awesome’ and Homegrown Concerts Bring Unique Cultures to Library for the Gazette and A Different Sense to Thomas Jefferson’s Library for the Library of Congress’ blog.


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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