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Bio – Fellow – Past Fellows

Naya Rhodes, Nonprofit Management Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2018

Naya Rhodes smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Naya Rhodes

Naya Rhodes was a Nonprofit Management Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Fall 2018. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. Rhodes’s knowledge and experience with disabilities come in part from her uncle who has bipolar disorder. He doesn’t receive the support he needs from his family and doesn’t have access to the right resources. As a result, like many other people with disabilities, he has fallen through the cracks, landing in jail and other institutions not equipped to meet his needs. Mental illness health and its treatment are problems that need more national attention. Rhodes believes change is possible and wants to help improve services and resources for all people with disabilities as best she can.

Rhodes graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Mathematics and a minor in finance. During her time there, she tutored high school students in an after-school program called Upward Bound, which works with public schools and minority students to provide resources their schools cannot afford. For her study abroad in India, Rhodes visited numerous prominent organizations. One that stood out to her and shaped her ideals for the future was The Sehgal Foundation. They are responsible for providing basic resources to impoverished villages and empowering women in India. This journey showed Rhodes that many effective organizations, like The Sehgal Foundation, lack the representation of those they are fighting for. This resonating experience showed Rhodes that she had to get involved in diversity and inclusion.

In her spare time, Rhodes enjoys indoor and outdoor rock climbing, playing songs by My Chemical Romance, Panic! At The Disco, and Fall Out Boy on her guitar, intense hiking, and writing sad poetry. At her university, Rhodes dabbled in glass blowing and intends to have a complete glass blowing studio once she retires. Rhodes is from Chicago but currently lives in Denver, Colorado. She believes Respectability’s mission is important and flew to Maryland to contribute in the best way she can.

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RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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Laura Haney, Policy Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2018

Laura Haney smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Laura Haney

Laura Haney is a Policy Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Fall 2018. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. Haney is excited to do hands-on advocacy work related to public policy and to begin making a difference in the disability circle. Her connection to the organization’s central mission to fight stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities stems from her relationship with her older brother who has Down syndrome. As a young girl, Haney began to see the ways her brother was treated differently in schools and affected differently by the law, so this sparked an interest and a passion for becoming an ally for people with disabilities.

Haney has been involved with the disability community for as long as she can remember. Working with her brother at Special Olympics, she became aware and interested in the issues that face people with disabilities from a young age. Beginning in seventh grade, Haney ran her own r-word campaigns that eventually turned into inspiration for her to start her own club in high school. However, this was only the beginning of Haney’s passion and interest within the field of disability.

As a senior at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Haney is pursuing a degree in Political Science. In her time as an intern for the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, she learned about the specific policies that affect people with disabilities and honed in on her interest in public policy. At St. Joe’s, Haney is a director of an organization that plans a yearly carnival for more than 300 community members with disabilities and hundreds of St. Joe’s students.

Haney is thrilled to be in Washington, D.C., during a time that is sure to make history. While not working at RespectAbility, Haney can be found exploring the city or out reading a book somewhere on a nice day. Her favorite books include the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling and East of Eden by John Steinbeck. In the future, Haney hopes to continue to travel the United States and the world at large as she settles into a career related to public policy and disability issues.

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RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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Jaylynn Cruz, Nonprofit Management Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2018

Jaylynn Cruz smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Jaylynn Cruz

Jaylynn Cruz was a Nonprofit Management Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Cruz is from Gibraltar and has earned her Education and Special Inclusive Needs bachelor’s degree with honors from Liverpool John Moores University in Liverpool. She recently has completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Education, with a speciality in Special Educational Needs.

Cruz’s interests stem from observing a lack of awareness and opportunities within society for people with disabilities and therefore is interested and engaged in the disability rights movement. 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. Before RespectAbility, Cruz had led summer camps for children with disabilities that allow children to partake in numerous activities such as music, art and sport. She also has worked at numerous mainstream and special education schools as a primary school teacher.

At RespectAbility, Cruz is immersed in an environment that actively advocates to fight stigmas and advance opportunities for individuals with disabilities. She wants to further her research skills in fundraising and help RespectAbility with its mission.

In her free time, Cruz likes to eat good Chinese and Spanish food and listen to a variety of music genres. She is a huge fan of Grey’s Anatomy and takes the time to indulge in yoga and meditation.

JOIN OUR TEAM!

RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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Kathleen L. Brockway, Nonprofit Management Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2018

Kathleen L. Brockway smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Kathleen L. Brockway

Kathleen L. Brockway was a Nonprofit Management Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Kathleen earned her bachelor’s degree in 2006 from the University of Phoenix. Currently, she is a graduate student at Goucher College and studies Cultural Sustainability. She hopes to become a historian, folklorist or cultural worker to sustain deaf history and culture after her expected graduation in 2020.

Brockway has come to RespectAbility because she is interested in gaining experience with program development and fundraising. Personally, she also is interested in sustaining deaf history and culture and advocating for important issues such as cleaning up the history of deaf education. She also advocates on her own time for collaboration between deaf history and culture museums and the state deaf schools through ASL Rose Company. She is passionate about research and experienced in gathering research and cultural documentation. As a deaf author, she has published two books on “Baltimore’s Deaf Heritage” and “Detroit’s Deaf Heritage.” She also has contributed articles such as “History of the Deaf Grassroots Movement” and background information on the early Virginia deaf history with the Virginia School for the Deaf Alumni Association. In the past, she served as a Chair of the Deaf Culture and History Section at the National Association of the Deaf for three years. Brockway also has been inducted in the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame in the Class of 2016 sponsored by National Disability Mentoring Coalition.

During Brockway’s free time, she loves to read non-fiction, history and biography, as well as to travel to explore the deaf historical sites. While exploring, she usually makes videos to post on YouTube or Instagram and shares her findings or tells a story about the sites, things or individuals in deaf history. Currently, she is working on a book about early Virginia deaf history while researching her own deaf ancestry.  She also loves to watch action and romantic movies on her own quiet time.

JOIN OUR TEAM!

RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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Margot Pitois, Nonprofit Management Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2018

Margot Pitois smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Margot Pitois

Margot Pitois was a Nonprofit Management Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Pitois recently graduated from Grenoble Alpes University in France with a double Bachelor’s degree in Economics and in Languages, both English and Spanish. She spent two years studying in France and did her senior year at Washington College in Maryland as an exchange student. This experience motivated her to keep discovering the world for at least another year to better understand the theoretical knowledge learned in the classroom and to use that knowledge in the professional world.

Now in a transition year before starting a Master’s degree, Pitois is exploring different professional options through internships and traveling. She is interested in international relations, humanitarian issues and social-service professions.

Pitois’ interests in diversity, inclusion and equality stem from her work as a volunteer in different nonprofits in Peru that fight poverty and also in France, her home country, at Rêves, the French version of Make-a-Wish. These experiences confirmed her interest in working internationally to improve the inclusion of minorities. Both of her parents work with children and adults with mental and physical disabilities, so Pitois grew up with the desire to work to reach equality in our society. RespectAbility’s Fellowship is an opportunity to learn more about the management of a nonprofit, including the all-important aspect of fundraising.

In her free days, Pitois loves to learn new languages and to read the works of Pierre Rabhi, a French ecologist and author. She also enjoys playing music, piano and ukulele, as well as participating in her local circus back home.

JOIN OUR TEAM!

RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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Zackary Tamimi, Communications Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2018

Zackary Tamimi in front of the RespectAbility banner

Zackary Tamimi

Zackary Tamimi is a Communications Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Tamimi himself has personal connections to the disability world. Several close friends of his are on the autism spectrum as well as one of his cousins. Subsequently, Tamimi hopes to work with RespectAbility in changing popular perceptions of people with autism and other disabilities.

Tamimi is a graduate of the University of Scranton where he completed a double major in Political Science and Communications. While in college he was a member of the fencing club, involved with Korean martial arts off campus and was secretary of the university’s Board and Game Club. After graduation, Tamimi moved to Washington, D.C., where he took a job with Autism Speaks until he decided to follow a calling to politics. He proceeded to work on two separate local-level Democratic campaigns in Maryland during which he served as both a canvasser and a communications intern.

Tamimi hopes to continue working in either the nonprofit or political world. Although he is still uncertain of his exact direction, he knows he wants to pursue a career that enables him to mobilize others around issues that need to be discussed such as climate change, wealth inequality and disability advocacy. A firm believer in democratic values, Tamimi realizes the importance of getting people to voice their concerns. Subsequently, his main goal is to continue advancing a career in political communications. He hopes to accomplish this by working on political campaigns in competitive swing states like Virginia, or by continuing to work with nonprofits focused on issues like the environment, human rights or disability.

In his free time, Tamimi enjoys cooking, reading, weight lifting, photography and tabletop games. He is a self-proclaimed dork and an avid Marvel fan. He has traveled the world and visited nations such as China and Russia. Tamimi hopes to someday have learned enough about his field to start a business in his hometown of Scranton, PA. He hopes he can give back to his community, which is badly in need of new ideas and development.

JOIN OUR TEAM!

RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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Virginia Campbell, Communications Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2018

Virginia Campbell smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Virginia Campbell

Virginia Campbell is a Communications Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership program. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. RespectAbility’s focus on Hollywood inclusion attracted her to this Fellowship. As a filmmaker and writer with a disability, she is aware of how important it is to hear authentic stories from many different perspectives. She also is aware of how little the perspective of people with disabilities is shared. Her mission in life is to amplify the stories of people with disabilities from all communities so that disability is celebrated as part of the diversity of human experience.

Campbell recently graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in English. As an undergraduate, she was involved with student-run publications on campus and served as the writing editor for the award-winning yearbook, The Illio. She was also a Virtual Student Foreign Service intern for the U.S. Department of State. In between classes, she co-wrote and produced the independent horror-comedy films, Butcher the Bakers and Grace’s Room.

Even though the previous paragraphs make her sound busy, Campbell is a big believer in the benefits of doing nothing, especially outside, and she frequently does just that in her off hours. She loves parks almost as much as Leslie Knope, the main character of Parks and Rec, one of Campbell’s most-loved TV shows. Her current favorite parks are El Morro National Monument in New Mexico, which has awe-inspiring views, and Amerson River Park in Macon, Georgia, which features large, open grounds and an accessible playground.

JOIN OUR TEAM!

RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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Josh Goodrich, Communications Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2018

Josh Goodrich smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Josh Goodrich

Josh Goodrich is a Communications Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Goodrich joined RespectAbility because he grew up with many family members who had disabilities. His grandmother was in a wheelchair, his uncle has autism, and his aunt, who has inspired him, is deaf. Goodrich graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh where he majored in both political science and communication. At Pitt, Goodrich was awarded for writing and delivering a speech about his aunt’s commitment to being an advocate for the deaf community.

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch said, “you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” These words are important for Goodrich because he wants to understand the world around him, and he wants to help others understand the world. Goodrich believes that media and communication can share stories to inform, educate and inspire people.

In fact, Goodrich already has started to write and create content with that intent. Goodrich does extensive research and regularly publishes content for the BuzzFeed Community, a section for the popular digital media website. He has published articles about whimsical topics including an interview he had with an AI and about TanaCon. He also has written serious articles about the Apple/Samsung patent lawsuit, the Nestlé and Starbucks business deal, and the Chinese cryptocurrency ban.

In his free time, Goodrich writes novels and hopes to publish his political-adventure story in the future. He also likes to learn languages and currently is learning Norwegian because Goodrich dreams of being able to live and work in Norway.

JOIN OUR TEAM!

RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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Emma Content, Communications Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2018

Emma Content smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Emma Content

Emma Content is a Communications Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Fall 2018. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Content is expecting a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in May 2018.

Content joined RespectAbility because she believes people should not be judged for their disabilities, visible or invisible. She has panic disorder and major depressive disorder and has experienced the stigmas that surround mental health as well as disability. Content looks forward to working with RespectAbility so that issues such as disability and mental health are not subject to judgment or discrimination.

Before she joined RespectAbility, Content interned at the office of Kurt Schrader (5-OR) on Capitol Hill and with the Maryland Democratic Party in Annapolis. She also teaches English as a second language at the Washington English Center in Washington, D.C. Additionally she volunteers as an ESL tutor for the Adult Literacy Education Center in College Park, Maryland. She also is currently working on her senior thesis “People, Polarization, and the Politics of Trust,” which discusses the causes and effects of polarization in American politics and how they influence the public’s trust in government institutions. She hopes to publish it in a journal next spring.

Outside of school and work, Content enjoys drawing, painting, reading and writing. She currently is reading Guests of the Sheik by Elizabeth Warnock, which is an ethnography of an Iraqi village in the 1960’s. She also horseback rides and competes in dressage and hunter-jumper events when she cans. Content would someday like to get into fencing, swordsmanship, archery, and maybe even hawking!

JOIN OUR TEAM!

RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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Adi Gal, Communications Intern

Volunteer Intern, Fall 2018

Adi Gal headshot

Adi Gal

Adi Gal is a Communications Intern at RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities.

She currently is a high school senior at Tenafly High School. Her work at RespectAbility focuses on increasing awareness via organized campaigns targeting media outlets and elected officials through emails, op-eds and other means. She joined RespectAbility because she believes in the cause and due to her experiences with her sister, who has Smith-Magenis Syndrome. She has experience working with children with disabilities at a local weekend art class. In her free time, Gal loves reading, writing, and playing D&D with her friends.Adi Gal is a Communications Intern at RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities.

She currently is a high school senior at Tenafly High School. Her work at RespectAbility focuses on increasing awareness via organized campaigns targeting media outlets and elected officials through emails, op-eds and other means. She joined RespectAbility because she believes in the cause and due to her experiences with her sister, who has Smith-Magenis Syndrome. She has experience working with children with disabilities at a local weekend art class. In her free time, Gal loves reading, writing, and playing D&D with her friends.

JOIN OUR TEAM!

RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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