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Meet our Fellows

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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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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Emma Adelman, Program Development and Fundraising Fellow

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

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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...]

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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...]

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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 is a rising junior at Whittier College in California. [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 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...]

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

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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...]

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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...]

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