National Leadership Program, Summer 2019
Ana Kohout was a Nonprofit Management Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities.
Kohout was a rising junior at Beloit College, where she is a double major in education and youth studies and disability studies. She hopes to become an elementary school teacher and work toward making schools more accessible. She intends to earn her doctorate in disability studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago to better understand how to advance disability rights in schools and make them more inclusive.
Her interest in fighting stigmas surrounding those with disabilities stems from an early age and crystallized in college. Kohout was born with spina bifida, causing her to have scattered paralysis from the waist down. She did not consider herself to be part of a marginalized group until college, when she learned about disability studies in her first-year seminar. From then on, she became passionate about disability rights and created her own interdisciplinary major in disability studies.
Kohout has been involved with the Beloit Cross-Disability Coalition, a club on campus for people with disabilities and their allies that focuses on disability-related advocacy, education, and support; she plans to run for president of the group next semester. Next semester, she will also expand her role at her college’s Learning and Enrichment Disability Services (LEADS) office, where she was working as a learning assistant. Previously, her experience with disability mostly took place in adaptive sports. Kohout has been swimming competitively for the last 10 years and playing sled hockey for the last eight years.
Through her Fellowship at RespectAbility, Kohout hoped to learn how to destigmatize disability and create more opportunities for people with disabilities.
Kohout wrote three pieces during the 2019 Summer Fellowship. Read them on our website:
- Vincenzo Piscopo: Rethinking Disability by Removing Labels (August 20, 2019)
- Advice from Jonathan Koch, Emmy Award-Winning TV Producer and Entrepreneur
(September 9, 2019)
- Young Activist Aims to Change Beliefs About People with Disabilities (September 10, 2019)
Join Our Team
RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.