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Meet our Fellows

Audrey Bayne smiling headshot standing in front of a tree

Audrey Bayne, Policy Fellow

Audrey Bayne is a student at the University of Alabama who serves as her university’s Student Director of Disability Affairs and founded her university’s first disability-related student organization. She plans to pursue a Master’s or Ph.D. program in Public Policy. [click to continue…]

Elizabeth Kim smiling headshot

Elizabeth Kim, Entertainment and News Media Fellow

Elizabeth Kim graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Pennsylvania, where she developed her passion for deaf/disability advocacy. She helped start The Asian Americans with Disabilities Initiative (AADI). [click to continue…]

Emily Snodderly smiling headshot in black and white

Emily Snodderly, Policy Fellow

Emily Snodderly began in the nonprofit sector by leveraging her research skills to increase support and improve outcomes for at-risk youth, especially youth in foster care. She wants to create a thriving community where everyone is welcome and treated fairly. [click to continue…]

Emily Tironi smiling headshot

Emily Tironi, Communications Fellow

Emily Tironi majored in Media Arts at SUNY Adirondack, learning graphic design. Wanting to learn more about disability advocacy, she went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in disability studies from The CUNY School of Professional Studies. [click to continue…]

Hiram Helfman smiling headshot

Hiram Helfman, Policy Fellow

Hiram Helfman has a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and a Master of Arts in Diplomacy. He has spoken at disability awareness events as part of the University of Central Florida’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. [click to continue…]

Isabella Russo smiling headshot wearing a yellow shirt

Isabella Russo, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Isabella Russo recently graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University with a B.S. in rehabilitation and disability studies. She wants to create a transitional independent living center for people with disabilities outside of high school. [click to continue…]

Jeremy Hsing headshot smiling

Jeremy Hsing, Entertainment and News Media Fellow

Jeremy Hsing is a humanistic sci-fi writer, mental health advocate, and second-gen Taiwanese immigrant based in L.A. He was previously a Get Lit Screenwriters Lab Fellow, RespectAbility Entertainment Lab Fellow, and Coverfly Best Unrepped Writers List 2022 Honoree. [click to continue…]

Juliet Romeo headshot smiling

Juliet Romeo, Communications Fellow

Juliet Romeo is the founder of Slamdance Film Festival’s “Unstoppable” program that encourages disability inclusion across all levels of filmmaking. As a writer and director, she crafts unique narratives from the perspective of a Caribbean woman of color living with a disability. [click to continue…]

Kayla Dunlop smiling headshot with a sunset behind her

Kayla Dunlop, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Kayla Dunlop graduated from Cal State University, San Bernardino with her B.A. in Child Development. She would like to open her own small nonprofit that provides resources for children and adults living with Pulmonary Hypertension. [click to continue…]

Kylee Tyndall smiling headshot

Kylee Tyndall, Faith Inclusion and Belonging Fellow

Kylee Tyndall is attending Syracuse University, majoring in Psychology and Women and Gender Studies and minoring in in Disability Studies. In the future, she sees herself as a child trauma therapist and a human rights advocate focusing on gender and disability rights. [click to continue…]

Maddie Jones smiling headshot with mountains behind her

Maddie Jones, Entertainment and News Media Fellow

Maddie Jones graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, CA. She believes that stories are the fundamental building blocks of society and that if we want to see significant change for the disability community, we must start by influencing the stories we tell and see. [click to continue…]

Noah Strauss smiling headshot

Noah Strauss, Faith Inclusion and Belonging Fellow

Noah Strauss (they/them) is an organizer, educator, writer, and a graduate student in Judaism and Human Rights at Gratz College. They are creating a multi faith community in ASL using a viral disability justice-centered TikTok account. [click to continue…]

Rebecca Woolfe smiling headshot

Rebecca Woolfe, Faith Inclusion and Belonging Fellow

Rebecca Woolfe attended Mount Holyoke College and graduated with a major in psychology and a minor in religion. As a person of Jewish background who also has strong interest in other religions and spiritual traditions, she hopes to help to increase inclusion in all types of faith-based settings. [click to continue…]

Samuel Krauss headshot

Samuel Krauss, Entertainment and News Media Fellow

Samuel Krauss is a TV comedy writer and a gay/disabled/wheelchair-using man who focuses on telling young adult comedies featuring disabled protagonists. He received his MFA in screenwriting from Spalding University in 2022, and was a Fellow in RespectAbility’s Entertainment Lab. [click to continue…]

Past Fellows

Aaron Richmond headshot in black and white

Aaron Richmond, Policy Fellow

Aaron Richmond published a piece about the importance of schools who want to do e-Jewish learning having accessible websites. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Goucher College. [click to continue…]

Abigail Shaw smiling seated on a bench outside

Abigail Shaw, Civic Engagement Fellow

Abigail Shaw strives to educate the public on access and inclusion for people with disabilities through her work and hobbies. She earned a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University. [click to continue…]

Adam Fishbein smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Adam Fishbein, Jewish Inclusion and Community Outreach Fellow

Adam Fishbein’s interest in disability advocacy stems from his own mental health and learning challenges. Throughout his childhood, he was involved in the PA Tourette Syndrome Alliance (PA-TSA) and the Tourette Association of America. [click to continue…]

Adam Rothstein smiling at camera

Adam Rothstein, Policy Fellow

Adam Rothstein graduated from Towson University in May 2016 with a bachelors degree in economics and a minor in business. He wants to help people with and without disabilities be financially ready for the future. [click to continue…]

Respectability Fellow Adam Srayi standing in front of the RespectAbility logo smiling

Adam Srayi, Policy Fellow

Before coming to RespectAbility, Adam Srayi worked with the Benjamin Center, where he researched and compiled data to highlight locations that provided service for people with low or no income. He hopes to hold public office in the future. [click to continue…]

Adi Gal headshot

Adi Gal, Communications Intern

Adi Gal is a high school senior at Tenafly High School. Her work at RespectAbility focused on increasing awareness via organized campaigns targeting media outlets and elected officials. [click to continue…]

Adina Faye Karten smiling headshot

Adina Karten, Policy Fellow

Adina Faye Karten has been working in inclusion, health advocacy, and the development spheres for more than 6 years. She holds a M.A. in Poverty and Development and a B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology. [click to continue…]

RespectAbility fellow Adrienne Baez smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Adrienne Baez, Policy Fellow

Adrienne Baez is passionate about where community interaction and policy change meet in the nonprofit sector and hopes to be an active part of her own disability community. She wants to increase accessibility, in education and employment. [click to continue…]

Alejandra Tristan smiling headshot. Tristan is seated in her wheelchair

Alejandra Tristan, Philanthropy Fellow

Alejandra Tristan is currently a student online at Arizona State University and pursuing her master’s in Public Nonprofit Administration. Her true passion is one day to no longer limit change to just the US but make a worldwide impact. [click to continue…]

Alex Hilke smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Alex Hilke, Policy Fellow

Alex Hilke was appointed to the Montebello, California Traffic and Safety Committee where he will improve street and sidewalk conditions for people with disabilities. He is currently completing a Master’s degree in Public Administration. [click to continue…]

Alexander Howard smiling headshot

Alex Howard, Entertainment Media Fellow

Alex Howard earned a Bachelor’s degree in Cinema and Television from California State University. He was recently a temp for Warner Brothers and a part-time film critic intern for [click to continue…]

Alexander Woods headshot

Alexander Woods, Communications Fellow

Alexander Woods is a writer, social media strategist, and creative consultant who has worked in the fashion industry for over 7 years. However, his passion lies in advocating for equality for all. [click to continue…]

Alexandra Seddon smiling headshot

Alexandra Seddon, Entertainment Media and Communications Fellow

Alexandra Seddon received a Bachelor’s degree in Television Film and Media from California State University Los Angeles in the year 2020. Her passion for public service and creative expression has helped her discover her higher purpose. [click to continue…]

Alice Felder smiling headshot

Alice Felder, Communications Fellow

Alice Felder is a writer, creator, and entrepreneur who is studying English and Communications at West Los Angeles College. She has worked in home-healthcare with elderly and disabled people for many years. [click to continue…]

Amanda Martin headshot

Amanda Martin, Communications Fellow

Amanda Martin assisted with video transcription and ensured that all of RespectAbility’s videos uploaded to YouTube had proper captions. She has also worked as an ASL interpreter. [click to continue…]

headshot of Amelia Heider wearing her hair up grayscale photo

Amelia Heiden, Policy Fellow

Heiden is a disabled Afro-Latina who has lived with Epilepsy from the age of eighteen months old. She graduated from the University of South Dakota and has interned with the Department of Justice at the Federal Bureau of Prisons. [click to continue…]

headshot of Ana Song wearing her hair loose grayscale photo

Ana (Hee Jae) Song, Policy Fellow

Song was a rising senior at Villanova University. Her personal and professional experience sparked a commitment for promoting education about mental health to end stigmas and inform people about psychological disorders. [click to continue…]

Ana Kohout smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Ana Kohout, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Ana Kohout was a rising junior at Beloit College, where she was a double major in education and youth studies and disability studies. She hoped to become an elementary school teacher and work toward making schools more accessible. [click to continue…]

RespectAbility Fellow Ana Lucia Figueroa smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Ana Lucia Figueroa, Policy Fellow

Ana Lucia Figueroa aspires to work in social media and in government programs that help those who need it the most. She has worked as a translator in events like “Vosh Arizona Ophthalmology day” in Hermosillo, Sonora Mexico. [click to continue…]

Andrew Reid headshot

Andrew Reid, Entertainment and News Media Fellow

Andrew Reid is a DGA Award winning director and 2022 NAACP Image Awards nominee. His award-winning projects have screened at Slamdance, CAA Moebius, Paramount Pictures, HollyShorts, LA Shorts and over 50 other film festivals worldwide. [click to continue…]

Angelica Vega smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Angelica Vega, Policy Fellow

As a person with a disability and woman of color, Angelica Vega is passionate about fighting stigmas and promoting diversity and inclusion in schools and the workplace. She was majoring in philosophy and minoring in public health at American University. [click to continue…]

Angelique Uwabera smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Angelique Uwabera, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Angelique Uwabera is interested in exploring the inclusivity of people with disabilities in countries with limited resources. She graduated from American University, Washington, DC with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations in May 2019. [click to continue…]

Annie Tohill smiling

Annie Tohill, Communications Fellow

Annie Tohill became passionate about disability issues thanks to her experiences with chronic illness and autism. She edited videos and wrote press releases ahead of Born This Way’s second season premiere. [click to continue…]

Anthony Rendolph Clarke Brown II smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Anthony Rendolph Clarke Brown II, Communications Fellow

Anthony Brown wrote recruiting profiles for athletes in high schools and junior colleges across the United States for He graduated from the University of Maryland College Park. [click to continue…]

Ari Katz smiling headshot

Ari Katz, Philanthropy Fellow

Ari Katz is currently working toward her MA in Disability Studies online at the CUNY School of Professional Studies and expects to graduate in May 2023. When she has to be indoors, she watches a lot of TV. [click to continue…]

Arianna Montano headshot smiling

Arianna Montaño, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Arianna Montaño graduated with honors from the University of California, San Diego, where she earned her B.A in Sociology. Her senior thesis project discussed college students with hearing loss and their experiences in school. [click to continue…]

Ariella Barker in front of a tree and bushes. Ariella is a wheelchair user

Ariella Z. Barker, Communications Fellow

Ariella Z. Barker was crowned Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina, a disability advocacy position. She encouraged producers and major television networks to accurately depict characters with disabilities on television and film. She is fluent in both English and Hebrew. [click to continue…]

Ashley Merlanie Castillo smiling headshot

Ashley Melanie Castillo, Communications Fellow

Ashley Merlanie Castillo is a disabled Latina/Hispanic journalist with cerebral palsy. In college, she won a speech and debate competition award for a persuasive speech on disability and bullying in school environments. [click to continue…]

Autumn Blalock smiling headshot

Autumn Blalock, Community Outreach Fellow

Autumn Blalock has always believed that where inequity creates limits, art creates answers. After her Fellowship, she began her studies for a Masters in Theater and a certificate of Non-Profit Management at Villanova University. [click to continue…]

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt smiling headshot

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt, Entertainment Media Communications Fellow

Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt is a writer, actress, and advocate for disability and autism representation in the entertainment industry. She wants to write for TV or film, while also finding a way to continue acting. [click to continue…]

Baksha Ali smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Baksha Ali, Community Outreach Fellow

Baksha Ali is interested in working for nonprofit organizations that work with people with disabilities because she is passionate about helping others. She will eventually pursue her master’s degree in Vocational Counseling. [click to continue…]

Becca Block smiling headshot

Becca Block, Jewish Inclusion Fellow

Block graduated cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Journalism & Mass Communications. She also works at Temple Beth Ami in Maryland as an accessible educator in the religious school. [click to continue…]

Ben Rosloff smiling headshot

Ben Rosloff, Communications/Jewish Inclusion Fellow

Ben Rosloff earned a BFA in Electronic Media from Long Island University. He has co-produced, edited and screened multiple films for the United Nations, including a film for World Autism Awareness Day, where Ben interviewed then-Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. [click to continue…]

Blair Webb smiling headshot seated in a chair

Blair Webb, Jewish Inclusion Fellow

Blair Webb graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology. She has always dreamed of forming her own creative arts program for children with disabilities. [click to continue…]

Boming Xie looking at camera

Boming Xie, Fellow

Boming Xie worked to change the perceptions of people with disabilities in the media and in Hollywood. She previously conducted a project to research the private capital of Nanchang, Jiangxi. [click to continue…]

Bonnie Berger smiling

Bonni Berger, Communications Fellow

Bonni Berger worked as an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Specialist in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. She holds a Masters Degree in Linguistics. [click to continue…]

headshot of Brieanna Iyomahan wearing glasses grayscale photo

Brieanna Iyomahan, Communications Fellow

Iyomahan is pursuing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her early exposure to special education made her passionate about disability rights, especially concerning educational issues. [click to continue…]

Brilynn is facing the camera, has brown eyes, very curly hair, and is wearing a black shirt grayscale photo

Brilynn Rakes, Communications Fellow

Rakes is a recent graduate from Fordham University. As a visual impaired dancer, she was the AT&T Spotlight Performer on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars where she performed alongside Emmy-nominated dancer and choreographer Derek Hough. [click to continue…]

Respectability fellow Brooke Castagna smiling in front of the Respectability banner

Brooke Castagna, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Brooke Castagna believes your disability does not define you. Her interest in disability advocacy started young after being diagnosed with learning disabilities and mental health issues. [click to continue…]

RespectAbility fellow Bryan Munguia smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Bryan Munguia, Communications Fellow

A son of Mexican immigrants and a first-generation college student, Bryan Munguia learned about the lack of diversity in the entertainment industry and wants to increase diversity of all minorities to break negative stereotypes in society. [click to continue…]

Cami Howe smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Cami Howe, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Cami Howe co-founded an on-campus club called “The Disabled Student Alliance,” which promoted self-advocacy and fought against ableism and created a community of students of all abilities. She planned to pursue a doctorate degree in Social Psychology. [click to continue…]

Candace Cable smiling

Candace Cable, Policy Fellow

Candace Cable is a 9-time Paralympian who won 12 medals. Her 27-year Paralympic athletic career gave her a platform to effect positive global cohesive change for people with disabilities through her disability education training, consulting, writing, volunteering and speaking. [click to continue…]

Cara Liebowitz, Communications Fellow

Cara Liebowitz managed RespectAbility’s Facebook page and contributed to its Twitter account. She holds a Master’s Degree in Disability Studies from the CUNY School of Professional Studies. [click to continue…]

Charles Butler smiling

Charles Butler, Policy Fellow

Charles Butler graduated from Miami University in the Spring of 2016, where he majored in International Studies. He worked with both the Policy and Communications teams at RespectAbility. [click to continue…]

Charles DeLeo looking at camera with a stern face.

Charles DeLeo, Policy Fellow

Charles V. DeLeo graduated from Marshall University with a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Languages and Literature. He is fluent in Japanese and Spanish. [click to continue…]

Charlotte Ruda, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Charlotte Ruda became passionate about public health during her studies at American University. She worked at Camp Northwood, a traditional summer camp that caters to children and young adults on the autism spectrum. [click to continue…]

Chinyere Azike smiling black and white headshot

Chinyere B. Azike, Policy Fellow

Chinyere Azike started an organization in Nigeria called Nechamah that is similar to RespectAbility. Her work has shown her that numerous possibilities exist for people with disabilities if they are provided with a nurturing environment. [click to continue…]

Chiquita Jackson smiling headshot in front of a brick wall

Chiquita Jackson, Policy Fellow

Chiquita Jackson studied Political Science, Social Justice, African-American Studies, and Pre-Law at the Columbia College of Missouri. She is passionate to ensure that her brothers and sisters voices are heard, and their rights protected. [click to continue…]

Chris-Mike Agbelie smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Chris-Mike Agbelie, Public Policy Fellow

Chris-Mike Agbelie was a Ph.D. candidate at Stony Brook University, focusing on disability policy and programs and health outcomes research. He is a sports enthusiast, avid music lover, and “freestyle” dancer. [click to continue…]

Christina Link smiling headshot

Christina Lisk, Philanthropy Fellow

Christina Lisk is a writer committed to disability advocacy in the nonprofit sector and the arts. She wants to design programs where people with disabilities may use creative writing to find empowerment in an ableist world. [click to continue…]

Headshot of Christina Revilla Chacon in front of the Respectability banner

Christina Revilla Chacon, Policy Fellow

Christina Revilla Chacon is excited to experience direct advocacy for important policy issues. She is passionate about dismantling the obstacles people with disabilities face each day to reach new opportunities in employment and education. [click to continue…]

Christina Sturgeon smiling

Christina Sturgeon, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Christina Sturgeon pitched RespectAbility’s work on criminal justice reform to staffers on Capitol Hill. She also assisted with research and writing of LOIs and proposals to foundations as well as building lists. [click to continue…]

Respectability Fellow Christopher Coleman smiling in front of the Respectability banner

Christopher Coleman, Policy Fellow

As a result of Christopher Coleman’s interests in holistic care and acknowledging the interconnectedness of mental and physical health, he has made it his mission to advocate for disadvantaged populations. [click to continue…]

Clara Li Long Loh looking towards camera, smiling

Clara Loh, Policy Fellow

Clara Loh’s work at SPD, a nonprofit organization supporting people with physical and/or sensory disabilities in Singapore, deepened her interest in disability issues. She attended graduate school at Johns Hopkins University. [click to continue…]

Claudia Run smiling headshot

Claudia Runk, Public Policy Fellow

Claudia Runk earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in Sociolegal Studies from Loyola University Chicago. She hopes to pursue a career in public health policy with a specific interest in mental health advocacy. [click to continue…]

Corey Evans smiling headshot wearing a suit

Corey Evans, Entertainment and News Media Fellow

Corey Evans previously worked for KATV in Little Rock (ABC Affilliate) and WSVN in Miami (FOX Affiliate) as a news editor. His career goal is to seek employment as a DEI (Diversity Equity and Inclusion) coordinator. [click to continue…]

Courtney Hyde smiling headshot

Courtney Hyde, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Courtney Hyde’s interest in advocating and bringing awareness started when she was young and diagnosed with Juenvile Rheumatoid Arthritis. She graduated from Hood College. [click to continue…]

Courtney Murray smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Courtney Murray, Communications Fellow

Courtney Murray hopes to combine her broadcast journalism education with her professional experience in the disability field, including a previous internship with AAPD, to further her knowledge of communications in nonprofits. [click to continue…]

headshot of DH Lee with gelled hair grayscale photo

D.H. Lee, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Lee was the Director of Programming for the Council for Students with Disabilities in the University Government of Boston College. He has advocated for increased dorm accessibility. [click to continue…]

Dahlia Joseph headshot in black and white

Dahlia Joseph, Communications Fellow

Dahlia Joseph worked on outreach to presidential candidates on the importance of inclusion of people with disabilities. She is fluent in Haitian Creole and also speaks French and conversational Spanish. [click to continue…]

Dan Pinsker smiling

Dan Pinsker, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Dan Pinkser researched foundations and other potential funders while also representing RespectAbility on Capitol Hill and at the White House. He attended St. Andrews Presbyterian College, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. [click to continue…]

Headshot of Daniel Kawecki in front of the Respectability banner

Daniel Kawecki, Communications Fellow

Daniel Kawecki is interested in exploring the intersection between disability and the criminal justice system as well as the topic of disability in poetry and fiction. Kawecki was enrolled in Mercyhurst’s AIM program for students with Autism. [click to continue…]

Daniel Martinez headshot

Daniel Martinez, Civic Engagement Fellow

Daniel Martinez identifies as a blind Chicano advocate, educator, and mentor of people with disabilities. He has a Masters of Education in Special Education from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. [click to continue…]

Daniel Shaffer Black and White headshot

Daniel Shaffer, Fellow

Daniel Shaffer managed the portfolios of the presidential candidates and the governors. He is a avid reader who particularly enjoys reading alternate history books. [click to continue…]

Head shot of Daniela Nieves in front of the Respectability banner

Daniela Nieves, Policy Fellow

Daniela Nieves is particularly interested in education policy for youth with disabilities in America. As a minority, she can relate to others who have intersecting identities and plans to focus her career on public service for marginalized people. [click to continue…]

David Richman headshot

David Richman, Communications Fellow

Fighting stigmas around people with cognitive and physical differences is of the utmost importance to David Richman. He attained his Bachelors of Arts in English at The University of Maryland-College Park. [click to continue…]

Deepna Anand, Fellow

Deepna Anand worked on strategic communications, served as program support and played a vital role in organizing successful fundraisers. She graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology. [click to continue…]

Demetrious Lara smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Demetrious Lara, Communications Fellow

Demetrious Lara hopes to find employment within the entertainment industry as a social media manager, or in digital communications. In his spare time, he enjoys playing video games. [click to continue…]

Dennis Tran headshot wearing a suit and button down shirt

Dennis Tran, Entertainment and News Media Fellow

Dennis Tran is a diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) advocate and storytellers. His diverse background spans a variety of sectors, including digital media, entertainment, technology, and philanthropy. [click to continue…]

Dionne Joseph smiling at camera

Dionne Joseph, Communications Fellow

Dionne Joseph was born with a visible hip condition called Hip Dysplasia and has learning disabilities as well. She managed RespectAbility’s Facebook account and helped with the #PwDsVote Questionnaires. [click to continue…]

Donald Minor Smiling

Donald Minor, Fellow

Donald Minor handled all social media responsibilities and worked to provide periodic updates to the RespectAbility website. He hopes to continue working in the nonprofit sector. [click to continue…]

Donjeta Sahiti smiling headshot

Donjeta Sahiti, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Donjeta Sahiti earned her Masters in Public Administration from Seton Hall University. She hopes to one day run her own nonprofit organization with a focus on educational advancements. [click to continue…]

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Eddie B. Ellis Jr., Criminal Justice Reform Fellow

Ellis is a reentry advocate/consultant, trainer, mentor and motivational speaker. As a returning citizen with multiple disabilities and a person of color, his experience provides invaluable insight and depth into his work. [click to continue…]

Eitan Jacobsohn smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Eitan Jacobsohn, Communications Fellow

Eitan Jacobsohn has been following RespectAbility since its founding in 2013 and was eager to join the team after graduating high school in 2019. He was enrolled at Montgomery College and wants to eventually become a computer scientist. [click to continue…]

Elizabeth Batwinis, smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Elizabeth Batwinis, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Elizabeth Batwinis was a rising senior at Virginia Tech where she was working toward a dual degree in psychology and human development and a minor in integrative health and wellness. She enjoys teaching cycle classes and cheering on the Washington Nationals. [click to continue…]

Elizabeth Pezone smiling headshot

Elizabeth Pezone, Policy Fellow

Elizabeth Pezone recently graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Services from California State University Los Angeles. She wants to help others with disabilities, giving them support like she received over the years. [click to continue…]

headshot of Ella Issacharoff with loose messy hair grayscale photo

Ella Issacharoff, Communications Fellow

During Issacharoff’s two years of National Service (2013-2015) in Israel, she lived and worked in a distressed agricultural community on the border at an elementary school where she managed the third to sixth grade after-school program. [click to continue…]

Ellynne Davis smiling wearing a white t-shirt

Ellynne Davis, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Ellynne Davis received a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Psychology from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in May 2018. She wants to work on advancing opportunities for people with disabilities in the event planning industry. [click to continue…]

RespectAbility Fellow Emily Counts smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Emily Counts, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Emily Counts became passionate about working with people with disabilities through her work with Friends in Action. She plans to work in communities with barriers to healthcare access, healthy food, education, employment and physical activity. [click to continue…]

Emily Kranking smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Emily Kranking, Communications Fellow

Emily Kranking has educated herself how people with disabilities are treated in entertainment and society. Working at RespectAbility mixed her love of service with strategic communications to help people with disabilities. [click to continue…]

headshot of Emma Adelman smiling with curly hair grayscale photo

Emma Adelman, Nonprofit Management Fellow

In addition to her development work, Adelman managed the organization’s Twitter account and contributed to the Born This Way #BTWchat Twitter chats. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College. [click to continue…]

Emma Content smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Emma Content, Communications Fellow

Emma Content wants to work so that issues such as disability and mental health are not subject to judgment or discrimination. She enjoys drawing, painting, reading and writing. [click to continue…]

RespectAbility Communications Associate Eric Ascher smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Eric Ascher, Communications Fellow

Eric Ascher joined RespectAbility because he knows that people with disabilities are capable of doing great work, just like everyone else. A graduate from Goucher College, he has experience with website design, video editing, writing blog posts and research projects. [click to continue…]

Erica Mones smiling headshot

Erica Mones, Entertainment and News Media Fellow

Erica Mones is a writer, YouTuber, and disability advocate who is currently pursuing her Masters in Disability Studies from the CUNY School of Professional Studies. She hopes to pave the way for disabled people through screenwriting. [click to continue…]

Finn Bradley smiling headshot

Finn Bradley, Communications Fellow

Finn Bradley is the founder of the Therapy Access Project (TAP), a nonprofit that assists members of the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities in obtaining mental health services. They has a strong background in circus performance. [click to continue…]

Gabriella Helkowski headshot

Gabriella Helkowski, Faith Inclusion and Belonging Fellow

Helkowski recently graduated with her Bachelor of the Arts degree from Mercyhurst University. When not working, she likes to spend time with her friends and family, photography, cooking and traveling. [click to continue…]

Gabriella Marquez smiling headshot

Gabriella Marquez, Public Policy Fellow

Gabriella Marquez earned her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Florida State University. She will be attending American University Washington College of Law in August where she plans to devote her studies to public interest law. [click to continue…]

Gabrielle Zwi smiling headshot

Gabrielle Zwi, Policy Fellow

Gabrielle Zwi is a community organizer, educator, and musician based in Rockville, Maryland. In October, they will graduate from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights. [click to continue…]

Garrett Patterson smiling

Garrett Patterson, Fellow

Garrett Patterson assisted with fundraising, press outreach, and initiatives to meet with governors in 2014. He is a 2013 Political Science Graduate of St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas. [click to continue…]

Geoff Hoppe smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Geoff Hoppe, Communications Fellow

Geoff Hoppe is interested in framing discussions about diversity and inclusion through the lens of neurodiversity. He has experience teaching at the college, high school, and middle school levels. [click to continue…]

Georgia Carr smiling headshot

Georgia Carr, Philanthropy Fellow

Georgia Carr earned her Master of Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2022. She has a special interest in improving the lives of queer youth. [click to continue…]

Bruno Medina smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Gloria Medina, Policy Fellow

Gloria Medina wants to help all communities living in the margins of society, as she understands what it feels like to not get the same opportunities as others and to have stigma attached to a part of one’s identity. [click to continue…]

Grace Goldman smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Grace Goldman, Community Outreach Fellow

A rising junior in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington in Seattle during her Fellowship, Grace Goldman also pursued a minor in American Sign Language. She worked at the Disability Resource Center on campus. [click to continue…]

Grant Denny smiling

Grant Denny, Policy Fellow

Grant Denny was part of a team creating responses to all 50 states on their individual WIOA plans. In addition, he helped the development team with research and fundraising. [click to continue…]

Hannah Pincus waving in front of Air Force One

Hannah Pincus, Fellow

Hannah Pincus represented President Obama on 36 political and official domestic and international trips. She is now a private consultant on issues pertaining to international tax policy, affordable housing, technology and the future of work, and global financial crises. [click to continue…]

Heidi Wangelin smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Heidi Wangelin, Community Outreach/Policy Fellow

Heidi Wangelin is a University of Washington graduate with two bachelor’s degrees in Culture, Literature and Arts as well as Disability Studies. She joined RespectAbility to further her learning about public policy regarding people with disabilities. [click to continue…]

headshot of Hillary smiling at the camera with her hair loose grayscale photo

Hillary Steen, Nonprofit Management Fellow

After graduating from college, Hillary Steen returned to RespectAbility as our Development and Inclusion Associate. She worked on fundraising – especially grant writing, research, reporting and donor database management. [click to continue…]

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Ian Malesiewski, Policy Fellow

Ian Malesiewski served as the Accessibility Services Liaison in the University of Miami’s Student Government. After graduation, he planned to attend law school, where he will focus on disability law and policy. [click to continue…]

Ilya Zhitomirskiy smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Ilya Zhitomirskiy, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Ilya Zhitomirskiy plans to create a nonprofit that will combine his interest in officiating, his background in nonprofit management, and his interest in helping other people with disabilities. [click to continue…]

Isabella Vargas smiling headshot

Isabella Vargas, Entertainment and News Media Fellow

Isabella Vargas is a filmmaker and community organizer who grew up chronically ill in South Florida. Her goals are to be a disability advocate in the media space and to craft compelling stories about people who identify as disabled and as BIPOC. [click to continue…]

Israel Sanchez smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Israel Sanchez, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Israel Sanchez believes everyone should have the chance to live a great life, regardless of social or economic distinction. Because many people with disabilities do not have that chance, he decided to work to create a more inclusive society. [click to continue…]

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Jaemi Hagen, Communications Fellow

Jaemi Hagen is profoundly Deaf and is part of the LGBTQIA+ community. He wants to reduce the stigma and misperception that people with disabilities cannot work, obtain an education or support a family. [click to continue…]

Jaimie Ninan smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Jaimie Ninan, Policy Fellow

Jaimie Ninan became passionate about disability rights after her husband acquired disabilities while fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Her goal is to fight stigmas so that all people with disabilities can contribute to society as they wish. [click to continue…]

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Jake Stimell, Community Outreach Fellow

Jake Stimell graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. He previously worked in disability advocacy at the Invisible Disabilities Association. [click to continue…]

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James Trout, Policy Fellow

Diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 15, Trout wants to work in an environment that helps people with disabilities successfully achieve employment. As a Fellow, he spent months engaging presidential candidates in the early primary states. [click to continue…]

Janie Klein smiling in front of the old Respectability banner

Janie Klein, Policy Fellow

Janie Klein was studying for her Bachelor’s degree in Human and Development Engagement at Temple University. She was an education intern at The National Museum of American Jewish History. [click to continue…]

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Jasmine Green, Communications Fellow

Jasmine Green moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in screenwriting. She believes that film allows us to take a glimpse into the lives of another and find commonalities that make us feel heard and seen. [click to continue…]

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Jay Kolodne, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Jay Kolodne assisted with fundraising and contact expansion, as well as RespectAbility’s Social Media presence. He is a graduate of Montgomery College. [click to continue…]

Jaylynn Cruz smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Jaylynn Cruz, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Jaylynn Cruz observed a lack of awareness and opportunities within society for people with disabilities. She aims to ensure equality of opportunity rooted in mutual respect for children with disabilities and she will promote these values through her future teaching career. [click to continue…]

Respectability fellow Jeanette Marquez smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Jeanette Marquez, Policy Fellow

Jeanette Marquez has three deaf siblings with dreams and goals of their own. Because of them, she has decided to be an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, specifically that society should be inclusive. [click to continue…]

Jennifer Bohlman smiling

Jennifer Bohlman, Communications Fellow

Jennifer Bohlman was responsible for updating the website and managing RespectAbility’s Twitter account. She is currently a Professional Development Program Participant for Northrop Grumman. [click to continue…]

Jennifer Cookson smiling

Jennifer Cookson, Communications Fellow

Jenn Cookson worked on fundraising, research and strategic communication. She now works as a Presidential Management Fellow Acquisition Specialist for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). [click to continue…]

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Jenny McCosby, Fellow

Jenny McCosby worked on Research and Message Development to start changing the perceptions and stereotypes associated with people with disabilities. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. [click to continue…]

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Jeremy Cooper, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Jeremy Cooper joined RespectAbility out of a longstanding desire to work in disability and mental health advocacy, which stems from his experiences growing up with a younger brother with autism. He is an avid history enthusiast. [click to continue…]

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Jill Feder, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Jill Feder graduated from Wheaton College, MA magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Women and Gender Studies in May 2020. She was excited to help RespectAbility earn the grants and donations it needs to maintain its life-enhancing services. [click to continue…]

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John McSween, Nonprofit Management Fellow

John McSween is a rising senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is majoring in Community Health with a concentration in Health Planning and Administration. He currently competes in wheelchair basketball at the collegiate level. [click to continue…]

John “Jack” Rukeyser smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

John Rukeyser, Nonprofit Management Fellow

John “Jack” Rukeyser worked alongside people with disabilities from a young age, volunteering at his local food pantry and community meals center. Driving is his passion. [click to continue…]

Jolie Carr, Communications Fellow

Jolie Carr was a senior at Samford University in Birmingham, where she was President of TEDxSamfordU, an organization that hosts TED talk-style events. She was also the VP of community relations for Samford’s chapter of the women’s fraternity Delta Delta Delta. [click to continue…]

Josh Goodrich, Communications Fellow

Josh Goodrich joined RespectAbility because he grew up with many family members who had disabilities. He regularly publishes content for the BuzzFeed Community, a section for the popular digital media website. [click to continue…]

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Judith Lao, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Lao is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience at Brown University. As an individual with a mental illness, her personal experiences with stigma and marginalization have translated into a passion for advocacy. [click to continue…]

RespectAbility Fellow Julia Wood smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Julia Wood, Communications Fellow

Julia Wood is not stranger when it comes to advocating for people with disabilities. Growing up she advocated for her sister who had Mitochondrial Disease and Leukemia. Previously she volunteered for “Make-A-Wish.” [click to continue…]

Respectability fellow Julie Lun smiling in front of the Respectability banner

Julie Lun, Policy Fellow

Julie Lun is a first-generation college student. She became interested in the disability community when she realized the topics covered in the classroom about criminal justice did not include people with disabilities. [click to continue…]

RespectAbility fellow Juliet Arcila Rojas smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Juliet Arcila Rojas, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Juliet Arcila Rojas wants to work in the public sector to ensure all populations are fairly represented. Her history with the disability community stems from her mother, who taught and assisted students with physical and mental disabilities. [click to continue…]

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Justin Chappell, Communications Fellow

Chappell first joined RespectAbility in the summer of 2015 as part of the democracy team. He brings more than 15 years experience in public policy, resource development, marketing and community organizing to the disability agenda. [click to continue…]

Justin Tapp smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Justin Tapp, Policy Fellow

Justin Tapp was the Disability Studies Student Organization’s treasurer at the University of Toledo. He was born with two congenital diseases: klippel-feil syndrome and scoliosis. [click to continue…]

Karolyne Kim smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Karolyne Kim, Public Policy Fellow

Karolyne Kim wants to help create public health programs that educate and influence equal opportunity for people with disabilities. She loves to travel, and has visited more than 25 different countries. [click to continue…]

Kathleen L. Brockway smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Kathleen L. Brockway, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Kathleen L. Brockway was a graduate student at Goucher College and studies Cultural Sustainability. She hoped to become a historian, folklorist or cultural worker to sustain deaf history and culture after her graduation in 2020. [click to continue…]

RespectAbility Fellow Katie Townes smiling in from of the RespectAbility banner

Katie Townes, Communications Fellow

Katie Townes wants to break perceived thoughts people might have about a person with a disability. She created a platform for gamers with and without disabilities to come together in a judgement-free environment. [click to continue…]

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Kelley Cape, Entertainment Media Fellow

Kelley Cape has spent her professional and academic career galvanizing inclusive cultures everywhere she goes. She previously joined USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative as a research assistant. [click to continue…]

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Kiah Amara, Entertainment Media Fellow

Kiah Amara (they/she) is a filmmaker, consultant, educator, producer, production accessibility coordinator, and media industry activist. Their work focuses on identity, fluidity, commonality, misconception, and all things “deviant from normal”. [click to continue…]

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KiAnna Dorsey, Communications Fellow

KiAnna Dorsey studied at the University of Miami to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree in Motion Pictures on the Production Track. She is very passionate about diversity and inclusion in the film industry. [click to continue…]

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Kim Chua, Communications Fellow

Kim Chua is a graphic designer who is fighting to reconstruct societal perceptions to prevent others from struggling in their own depths alone. With the support of RespectAbility staff, she will strive to champion accessible design. [click to continue…]

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Krista Ramirez-Villatoro, Entertainment Media Fellow

Krista Ramirez-Villatoro is pursuing a Masters’ degree in Design and Media Arts from UCLA. Her goal is to become a director of photography on projects that highlight the experiences of those with physical disabilities. [click to continue…]

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Laka Mitiku Negassa, Policy Fellow

Laka Mitiku Negassa graduated from the master’s program at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. She is interested in how health policy affects the disability community in terms of access to health care and quality of that care. [click to continue…]

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Laquana Lightfoot, Entertainment and News Media Fellow

Laquana Lightfoot earned her Associates Degree in Communications from LaGuardia Community College. She uses her writing and storytelling skills to further explain to individuals about autism and the seriousness of psychological health. [click to continue…]

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Laura Halvorson, Communications Fellow

Laura Halvorson assisted with maintaining our social media accounts and the recruitment and hiring of the summer 2016 fellows. She has a Masters Degree in Special Education from Texas Woman’s University. [click to continue…]

Laura Haney smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Laura Haney, Policy Fellow

Beginning in seventh grade, Laura Haney ran her own r-word campaigns that eventually turned into inspiration for her to start her own club in high school. She was pursuing a degree in Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University. [click to continue…]

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Laura Hertzog, Fellow

Laura Hertzog worked with RespectAbility as an in-house writer, in addition to assisting with government affairs. She participated in a semester-long program with American University. [click to continue…]

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Laura Montilla, Communications Fellow

Laura Montilla has worked for Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Lancome, Rock the Vote, Slam Magazine and more. On social media, she has devoted herself fully to personal activism in fighting against social injustice. [click to continue…]

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Laura Stall, Communication and Inclusion Fellow

Laura Stall helped RespectAbility with Jewish inclusion projects. She previously worked as a camp counselor to support and include campers with disabilities at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington. [click to continue…]

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Leah Ilana Craig, Jewish Nonprofit Management Fellow

Leah Ilana Craig, as an autistic individual with POTS Syndrome, believes passionately in making the working world more accessible for people with disabilities so that they can live their dreams. She was in her final year at Lindenwood University’s MFA program. [click to continue…]

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Lex Paul, Nonprofit Management Fellow

With a background in Community Organizing, Lex Paul is passionate about shining a light on injustice and prejudice, working to build understanding across the political and social spectrum through education and engagement. [click to continue…]

Liam Itgen smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Liam Itgen, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Liam Itgen first became interested in advocacy for those with disabilities after working at Nassau-Suffolk Services for Autism. He was a member of the Model United Nations club at Temple University. [click to continue…]

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Lilly Grossman, Communications Fellow

As a young woman with a rare genetic disease, Grossman is a passionate advocate for people with disabilities and received a Girl Scout Gold Award for her work on accessibility. She was a junior at Whittier College in California. [click to continue…]

Headshot of Lily Cantor in front of the Respectability banner

Lily Cantor, Communications Fellow

Lily Cantor was thrilled to be working on larger societal issues. While managing social media for RespectAbility, Cantor was excited to learn about the challenges and rewards of advocacy. She also managed our organization’s Jewish inclusion work. [click to continue…]

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Lily Coltoff, Communications Fellow

Lily Coltoff has spent a great deal of her life advocating for access for herself as well as for the awareness and understanding of rare conditions. After the Fellowship, she hopes to secure a job as a science writer. [click to continue…]

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Lizzy Francis, Communications Fellow

Lizzy Francis is a screenwriting major studying to create safe spaces for all groups of people, regardless of identity or ability. In 2017, Francis worked on an SXSW award-winning film in Vermont that aimed to integrate a crew and cast of people both with and without disabilities. [click to continue…]

Madeleine Tasini smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Madeleine Hannah Tasini, Jewish Inclusion Fellow

Madeleine Hannah Tasini wants to make the Jewish community and Israel a more accessible place for people with disabilities. She hopes to use her power to ensure people with disabilities are treated fairly in Israel. [click to continue…]

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Madison Essig, Communications Fellow

Madison Essig hopes to report on disability issues or to have a job on Capitol Hill where she can advocate for disability issues. She was the first person with Down syndrome to graduate with a full diploma from the District of Columbia Public School system. [click to continue…]

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Mannela Iparraguirre, Policy Fellow

Mannela Iparraguirre spent her academic career studying policy and writing about it, but now she will experience the process of applying academic lessons and policy into real-world practice. She was excited to strengthen her research skills. [click to continue…]

Margaret Breihan

Margaret Breihan, Communications Fellow

Margaret Breihan graduated from American University with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and a Minor in Communications. She is currently a Communications Associate for the National Disability Institute. [click to continue…]

Margot Pitois smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Margot Pitois, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Margot Pitois grew up with the desire to work to reach equality in our society. She is interested in international relations, humanitarian issues and social-service professions. [click to continue…]

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Maria Fernanda Heredia, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Maria Heredia graduated in June of 2020 from Williams College in Williamstown, MA. She spent the last two years partnering with the Office of Accessible Education at Williams addressing systematic inconsistences that disproportionately affect students with disabilities. [click to continue…]

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Marisa Rafsky, Inclusion Fellow

Marisa Rafsky was selected as a Youth in International Development & Foreign Affairs intern by the U.S. International Council on Disabilities. She is fluent in English and American Sign Language and also has studied Israeli Sign Language. [click to continue…]

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Marisela Rivera, Communications Fellow

Rivera is a first-generation Latina graduate from The City College of New York. She is an environmentalist and an animal rights and disabilities rights advocate. She shares her passion through blogging. [click to continue…]

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Mary Elizabeth Mellon, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Mary Elizabeth Mellon has previously interned at Mental Health America of Illinois and volunteered at numerous nonprofits including Sarah’s Circle, an organization that serves homeless women in Chicago. [click to continue…]

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Mary McGill Lucas, Communications Fellow

Mary McGill Lucas lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and graduated from the College of Charleston’s REACH Program in 2016 with a certificate in Women and Gender Studies. They pride themselves on authenticity and living intentionally. [click to continue…]

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Matthew Lerner, Jewish Inclusion Fellow

Lerner was pursuing his Masters in Public Health at Boston University (BU). His main interests lie within maternal and child health, public health advocacy and inclusion work for people with disabilities in religious groups and healthcare. [click to continue…]

Matthew Ross smiling

Matthew Ross, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Matthew Ross developed content and edited captions for RespectAbility’s Global Giving page for the September Open Challenge. He has a master’s degree in language and communications from Georgetown University. [click to continue…]

Matthew Wagner smiling at camera

Matthew Wagner, Nonprofit Management and Policy Fellow

Matthew Wagner’s experience with hearing loss created a desire to increase access for all people. He helped ensure the accessibility of our PowerPoints for those who are visually impaired. [click to continue…]

Max Spain smiling

Max Spain, Policy Fellow

Max Spain was part of a team creating responses to all 50 states on their individual WIOA plans. He previously interned at a law office where he focused on the rights of the elderly. [click to continue…]

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McKenzie Stribich, Faith Inclusion and Belonging Fellow

McKenzie Stribich holds a BFA in photography from California State University, Long Beach. She’s rediscovering her dormant love of reading (often a struggle because of her ADHD), and is a lover of music and swimming. [click to continue…]

Medard Masangu

Medard Masangu, Communications Fellow

Medard Masangu assisted in the maintenance and expansion of RespectAbility’s presence on social networks and social media by creating and posting written content, news and stories. He also filmed presidential candidates speaking about disability issues. [click to continue…]

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Megan Swanson, Communications Fellow

Megan Swanson works as a freelance Production Coordinator in television and film, and has a background in creating marketing and social media campaigns. Someday, she wants to make a movie with fighter pilots. [click to continue…]

Megghan Duffy smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Megghan Duffy, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Meghan Duffy had previously worked for a nonprofit organization called LEAD, which works to end the stigmas against mental health. She planned on furthering her education in Psychology to help people with their mental health full time. [click to continue…]

Michelle Adams smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Michelle Adams, Communications Fellow

Michelle Adams was a Fellow at RespectAbility because advocating for the advancement of diversity and disability issues is woven into the fabric of her identity. She played on the GW Women’s club volleyball team. [click to continue…]

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Ming Canaday, Policy Fellow

Ming Canaday pursued a certificate at the City University of New York in Disability Studies to better advocate for individuals with disabilities. She interned at Justice for All, a disability advocacy organization in China. [click to continue…]

Mireille (Ray) Pioppo smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Mireille (Ray) Pioppo, Jewish Inclusion Fellow

Ray Pioppo comes from a lineage of strong, educated Jewish women and is determined to help other Jewish women find their voice. She is also a certified yoga instructor and hopes to teach yoga to people with disabilities. [click to continue…]

Headshot of Molly Donald in professional dress

Molly Donald, Policy Fellow

Molly Donald was a rising senior at the University of Maryland. Her goal for this Fellowship was to expand her knowledge of the barriers faced by people with disabilities so that she can better address them and the inequities they generate. [click to continue…]

Molly McConville smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Molly McConville, Policy Fellow

Molly McConville’s passion for disability rights stems from her personal relationships with family members and friends living with disabilities and witnessing firsthand the discrimination they experience. She hoped to pursue a career advocating for marginalized communities. [click to continue…]

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Morgan A. Davis, Public Policy Fellow

Born with Cerebral Palsy, Morgan A. Davis has always felt a desire to help others impacted by disabilities. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2020. [click to continue…]

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Nakia Hillary Sims, Public Policy Fellow

Nakia Hillary Sims is a policy analyst, motivational speaker, advocate for affordable housing and a champion for diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. She has more than 20 years of experience in public policy and community organizing. [click to continue…]

Natalie Dunaway smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Natalie Dunaway, Public Policy Fellow

Natalie Dunaway has volunteered both locally and internationally through Virginia Tech’s service organization VT Engage. In her free time, she teaches Sunday school at her church. [click to continue…]

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Nathan Shearer, Policy Fellow

Nathan Shearer drafted public comments on state workforce (WIOA) plans, offering suggestions and best practices for states to better include people with disabilities in their workforces. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland. [click to continue…]

Naya Rhodes smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Naya Rhodes, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Naya Rhodes’s knowledge and experience with disabilities come in part from her uncle who has bipolar disorder. She graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Mathematics and a minor in finance. [click to continue…]

Nemo Charlton smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Nemo Charlton, Policy Fellow

Nemo Charlton’s interest in disability advocacy as well as social justice stems in part from having autism. At the University of Maryland, they advocated for Title IX funding through coalition building and a social media campaign. [click to continue…]

RespectAbility Fellow Nicholas Olson smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Nicholas Olson, Policy Fellow

Nicholas Olson is passionate about youth transition programs from school to work and the role of public health specifically in minority communities. He hopes to work on projects that provide relief for people facing complex medical needs. [click to continue…]

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Nicole Homerin, Community Outreach Fellow

Nicole Homerin has over a decade of experience working with individuals with disabilities as an incoming Doctoral student in Special Education at California State University, Los Angeles. She received her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Boston College. [click to continue…]

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Nicole LeBlanc, Policy Fellow

As a Fellow, Nicole LeBlanc represented our organization at multiple DC-area events, conferences and meetings. She now serves on RespectAbility’s Board of Directors. [click to continue…]

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Nicole Olarsch, Jewish Inclusion Fellow

Nicole Olarsch graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in the Spring of 2021, with a BA in Sociology and Gender and Sexuality Studies. She was involved in the building of a new club on campus, The Deaf and Disabled Student Union. [click to continue…]

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Nicole Rakusin, Inclusion Fellow

Nicole Rakusin’s primary academic focus was on the political and social determinants of health that pose barriers to equal access to healthcare resources for minority groups in the United States. She attended Vanderbilt University. [click to continue…]

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Nicona MacDonald, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Nicona MacDonald has a Bachelor’s degree in Community Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and more than a decade of experience in the nonprofit and higher education fields. In her free time, she would rather be outdoors than indoors. [click to continue…]

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Omar Chung, Policy Fellow

Omar Chung is hard of hearing, fluent in English and American Sign Language, and is the first of his family to graduate from high school and college. He subsequently worked for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). [click to continue…]

Otilia Lampman smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Otilia Lampman, Policy Fellow

Otilia Lampman applied to the National Leadership Program because she believes in equality for all people. She also wants to have more knowledge about not only her own disability experience, but also about other’s disabilities. [click to continue…]

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Pilar Pastor, Fellow

Pilar Pastor focused on development and fundraising efforts in support of our still ongoing projects. She previously worked preparing and evaluating different development projects for Kenya and Ethiopia. [click to continue…]

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Rachael Schindler, Jewish Inclusion Fellow

Schindler took an interest in the field, especially intellectual and developmental disabilities, at an early age through personal connections and her mother’s occupation. She was a rising junior at Brandeis University and is active with Best Buddies. [click to continue…]

Headshot of Rachael Walloga in front of the Respectability banner

Rachael Walloga, Nonprofit Management Fellow

As her previous advocacy work was focused on promoting LGBTQ rights and those of the Hispanic community, Rachel Walloga is hoping to learn and to develop more intersectionality in her professional and private life during her Fellowship. [click to continue…]

Rami Jackson, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Rami Jackson wants to raise money for causes that make the world a more equitable and equal place so everyone can maximize their potential and follow their passions. He played a key role in grant prospecting and research at RespectAbility. [click to continue…]

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Reagan Martin, Entertainment and News Media Fellow

Reagan Martin is a proud disabled and chronically ill actor, advocate, and graduate student based in North Texas. Her love for the acting and the entertainment industry previously led her to work at the Walt Disney World Resort. [click to continue…]

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Riccardo Ricciardi, Jewish Nonprofit Management Fellow

Riccardo Ricciardi had the opportunity to witness and experience the impact of disabilities on people around the world firsthand through his work in the United States Air Force and as a flight attendant. He is a bona fide computer nerd. [click to continue…]

RespectAbility fellow Richelle Ross smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Richelle Ross, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Richelle Ross hoped to combine her studies in Sports Medicine with her social advocacy work to create more recreational opportunities for children with disabilities. She wanted to continue working with and advocating for athletes with disabilities. [click to continue…]

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Ricky Rendon, Policy Fellow

Ricky Rendon was working on his master’s degree in clinical rehabilitation counseling. Previously though Project HIRE (Helping Individuals Reach Employment), he helped students with disabilities graduate and gain employment. [click to continue…]

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Roque Renteria, Entertainment Media Fellow

Roque Renteria has performed stand-up comedy on Comedy Central and Amazon Prime. He graduated from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television with an MFA in Screenwriting. [click to continue…]

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Rostom Dadian, Civic Engagement Fellow

Rostom Dadian has been involved in local politics and plans to continue to participate in the future. He was completing a master’s degree at CSULA in business administration with an option in finance. [click to continue…]

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Roy Payan, Policy and Civic Engagement Fellow

Roy Payan graduated from Cal State Los Angeles with a double major in Rehabilitation Services. He was working on his Masters in Public Policy for Nonprofits at the University of Southern California (USC). [click to continue…]

RespectAbility fellow Ryan Knight smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Ryan Knight, Communications Fellow

Ryan Knight has spastic cerebral palsy. He wants to create a magazine for people with disabilities by people with disabilities and increase awareness of the disability community through motivational speaking. [click to continue…]

Ryan Nobile Smiling

Ryan Nobile, Policy Fellow

Ryan Nobile interviewed the 2016 Presidential candidates on their policies that would impact people with disabilities’ everyday lives. He also advocated for campaigns to release written plans for people with disabilities. [click to continue…]

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Samantha Fleischer, Jewish Inclusion Fellow

Samantha Fleischer assisted with a synagogue inclusion project in New York, and engaged with congressional staffers on Capitol Hill. She graduated from the University of Maryland College Park with a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies. [click to continue…]

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Samantha Haas, Jewish Inclusion Fellow

Samantha Haas is a virtual substitute teacher, Hebrew school teacher and Intern for New Directions Early Head Start of Delaware. She has high hopes that she will be able to impact the lives of many children and families. [click to continue…]

Samantha Stewart smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Samantha Stewart, Communications Intern

Samantha Stewart always has been fascinated by film and has had a burgeoning interest in misrepresentation of marginal groups since ninth grade. She has participated in her school paper, the debate team and the drama club. She hopes to attain an MFA in screenwriting. [click to continue…]

RespectAbility fellow Sarah Bram smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Sarah Bram, Communications Fellow

As a person with cerebral palsy, Sarah Bram has been a pathfinder her entire life, paving the road for those after her. She is passionate about working for nonprofit organizations, specifically in social media management. [click to continue…]

Sarah Meehan smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Sarah Meehan, Political Communications Fellow

Sarah Meehan joined RespectAbility to continue her longstanding advocacy for people with disabilities, including herself. As a student, she co-founded the Association of Students with Disabilities or Chronic Conditions (A.S.D.C.C). [click to continue…]

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Shereen Ali, Policy Fellow

Shereen Ali’s goal is to approach disability advocacy with a business mindset. In her free time, she likes horseback riding, listening to Jazz music, traveling, and learning about other cultures. [click to continue…]

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Shira Leeder, Leadership Fellow

Shira Leeder was working toward her Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management at San Francisco State University. She won the Ms. Wheelchair California Pageant in 2012. [click to continue…]

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Sneha Dave, Policy Fellow

Sneha Dave graduated from Indiana University in May 2020 where she majored in chronic illness advocacy as well as journalism. She created Generation Patient and its program the Crohn’s and Colitis Young Adults Network. [click to continue…]

RespectAbility Policy, Practices and Latinx Outreach Associate Stephanie Farfan smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Stephanie Farfan, Policy Fellow

Stephanie Farfan has been a part of Little People of America (LPA) since she was 16 years old and volunteers her time as a co-chair for the Hispanic Affairs Committee. She hopes to pursue a career benefitting the international disability community. [click to continue…]

Stephanie Flynt with service dog Nala in grayscale

Stephanie Flynt, Policy Fellow

Flynt was pursuing her bachelors degree from Mississippi State University, where she serves as the Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Chairman for Student Association Senate. She has advocated for other visually impaired students in a classroom. [click to continue…]

Stephanie Santo smiling in front of a brick wall

Stephanie Santo, Policy Fellow

Stephanie Santo has a Master’s Degree in counseling for mental health and wellness from NYU. She feels a responsibility to communicate with her clients and is saddened by the lack of health care access many people have in the Deaf community. [click to continue…]

Steve Bobadilla smiling at the camera in front of the RespectAbility banner

Steve Bobadilla, Communications Fellow

Steve Bobadilla was diagnosed with Spina Bifida L3 L4 at birth. While studying communications at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, he co-founded an inclusion program called the Adaptive Sports Program. [click to continue…]

Stevie Mays smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Stevie Mays, Community Outreach Fellow

Stevie Mays has great passion and enthusiasm when working with and for the greater disability community, because they want to end the cycle of shame and taboo they felt with their own learning disabilities growing up. [click to continue…]

RespectAbility fellow Tameir Yeheyes smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Tameir Yeheyes, Communications Fellow

Tameir Yeheyes is passionate about serving the community, making a difference in the world and working hard on behalf of people with disabilities. Upon graduation, she hoped to work for a nonprofit work or a government agency. [click to continue…]

Tammie Stevens smiling headshot

Tammie Stevens, Policy Fellow

Tammie Stevens worked for eight years at a nonprofit organization that provided instruction to those who were newly experiencing blindness. She hopes to normalize and remove the mystery of disabilities in the workplace. [click to continue…]

Tatiana Lee smiling outside in a parking lot.

Tatiana Lee, Communications Fellow

Tatiana Lee is the voice behind “Accessible Hollywood,” where she highlighted her journey as an actress, model and lifestyle influencer born with Spina Bifida. She was in one of Apple’s first ad campaigns featuring people with disabilities. [click to continue…]

Taylor Easley smiling headshot

Taylor Easley, Civic Engagement Fellow

Taylor Easley working on both her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and certification of nonprofit management at L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs school. She wants to promote employment for people with disabilities. [click to continue…]

Taylor Ragano smiling headshot

Taylor Ragano, Community Outreach & Impact Fellow

Ragano was a graduate student at Virginia Tech, earning her Master of Public Administration Degree. She hopes to work in the federal government to formulate policy initiatives as a lobbyist for the disability community. [click to continue…]

Respectability fellow Theresa Maher smiling in front of the Respectability banner

Theresa Maher, Communications Fellow

Theresa Maher’s drive to advocate for people with disabilities started young when she realized her mother’s students in special education and her uncle with autism were not accurately portrayed in Hollywood. [click to continue…]

Outline of a person's headshot that signifies a lack of a photo

Thomas Coombs, Policy Fellow

Thomas Coombs worked to ensure policies such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) are effectively used to empower people with disabilities. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Florida. [click to continue…]

Headshot of Thomas Noh in front of the Respectability banner

Thomas Noh, Communications Intern

As a rising senior at Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, Maryland, Thomas Noh studied various programming languages such as HTML, Java and C++. He assisted with website development and other IT related issues. [click to continue…]

Timothy Young, Policy Fellow

Timothy Young attended American University, where he was a dual major in history and international relations. He traveled to both South Africa and Russia during his undergraduate career. [click to continue…]

Tyler Hoog headshot

Tyler Hoog, Entertainment Media Fellow

Tyler Hoog earned a Masters Degree in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California. His comedic perspective is shaped by his nine years in a wheelchair. [click to continue…]

Headshot of Victoria Grace Assokom-Siakam in front of the Respectability banner

Victoria Grace Assokom-Siakam, Nonprofit Management Fellow

Victoria Grace Assokom-Siakam wants to ensure that people with disabilities have the financial resources to pursue their ambitions. At RespectAbility, she assisted with our inclusive philanthropy initiatives. [click to continue…]

Virginia Campbell smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Virginia Campbell, Communications Fellow

As a filmmaker and writer with a disability, Virginia Campbell is aware of how important it is to hear authentic stories from many different perspectives. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. [click to continue…]

Vivian O'Neal smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Vivian O’Neal, Policy Fellow

Vivian O’Neal was awarded the Miracle Maker award for raising more than $5,000 for CMN hospitals. Watching her brother’s struggles with Nemaline Myopathy exposed her to the loopholes within the ADA and true accessibility. [click to continue…]

William Fowler smiling

William Fowler, Communications Fellow

William Fowler increased his knowledge and gained an understanding on how to advocate on behalf of Americans with disabilities. He currently serves as a Public Relations Aide on the New York City Campaign Finance Board. [click to continue…]

Zackary Tamimi in front of the RespectAbility banner

Zackary Tamimi, Communications Fellow

Zackary Tamimi hopes to work to change perceptions of people with autism and other disabilities. His long term goal is to continue advancing a career in political communications. [click to continue…]

Zavier Taylor in front of the Respectability banner

Zavier Taylor, Communications Fellow

Zavier Taylor is an artist, actor and designer from North Carolina. After learning that storytelling is a powerful political and social tool, Taylor was compelled to ensure that the portrayal of people with disabilities is accurate. [click to continue…]

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

Zein Al Maha Oweis, Communications Fellow

Zein Al Maha Oweis is visually impaired. She is intrigued by how powerful one’s voice can be used when telling a story and raising awareness. She wants to serve people with disabilities through communications and journalism. [click to continue…]

Zoltan Boka smiling headshot

Zoltán Boka, Policy Fellow

Zoltán Boka has earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, taught in three continents and worked in municipal, state and federal government. His research and analysis has been published in over a dozen outlets. [click to continue…]

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