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Meet our Fellows

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…]

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…]

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…]

RespectAbility Fellow Emily Counts smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Emily Counts, Development 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…]

RespectAbility Fellow Eric Ascher smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Eric Ascher, Communications Fellow

Eric Ascher joined RespectAbility because he is passionate about challenging the stigmas that people with disabilities face. A graduate from Goucher College, he has experience with website design, video editing, writing blog posts and research projects. [click to continue…]

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

Juliet Arcila Rojas, Development 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…]

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…]

RespectAbility fellow Richelle Ross smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Richelle Ross, Development Fellow

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

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…]

RespectAbility fellow 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…]

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 hopes to work for a nonprofit work or a government agency. [click to continue…]

Past Fellows

Respectability fellow Adam Fishbein smiling in front of the Respectability banner

Adam Fishbein, Policy Fellow

Adam Fishbein’s interest in disability advocacy stems from his own mental health and learning challenges. He is very involved in the PA Tourette Syndrome Alliance (PA-TSA) and the Tourette Association of America. [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…]

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 is 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…]

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, Program Development and Fundraising 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 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…]

headshot of DH Lee with gelled hair grayscale photo

D.H. Lee, Program Development and Fundraising Fellow

Lee is a rising senior at Boston College. He is 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…]

headshot of Eddie Ellis he is bald and he has a mustache grayscale photo

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…]

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…]

headshot of Emma Adelman smiling with curly hair grayscale photo

Emma Adelman, Program Development and Fundraising 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…]

headshot of James Trout wearing suit and tie grayscale photo

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…]

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…]

headshot of Judith Lao wearing glasses grayscale photo

Judith Lao, Program Development and Fundraising 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…]

headshot of Justin Chappell wearing glasses grayscale photo

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…]

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…]

headshot of Lilly Grossman with a big smile grayscale photo

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 is a junior at Whittier College in California. [click to continue…]

Marisela is sitting on bench smiling with a black dress and black blazer on grayscale photo

Marisela Rivera, Communications Fellow

Rivera is a first-generation Latina graduate from The City College of New York in communications and journalism. She is an environmentalist who is an animal rights and disabilities rights advocate. She blogs about both of these issues. [click to continue…]

headshot of Matt Lerner wearing a suit and tie grayscale photo

Matthew Lerner, Jewish Inclusion Fellow

Lerner is 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…]

headshot of Rachael Schindler with long hair grayscale photo

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 is a rising junior at Brandeis University and is active with Best Buddies. [click to continue…]

headshot of Ricky Rendon wearing glasses grayscale photo

Ricky Rendon, Policy Fellow

Rendon is 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…]

headshot of Sneha Dave with hair loose grayscale photo

Sneha Dave, Policy Fellow

Dave is a sophomore at Indiana University. Her enthusiasm for chronic illness and disability advocacy stems from her own condition, Ulcerative Colitis. She is the founder of the Crohn’s and Colitis Teen Times, a nonprofit supporting teenagers with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. [click to continue…]

Stephanie Flynt with service dog Nala in grayscale

Stephanie Flynt, Policy Fellow

Flynt is 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…]

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…]

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…]

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