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Bio – Fellows

Mireille (Ray) Pioppo, Jewish Inclusion Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2019

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

Mireille (Ray) Pioppo

Mireille (Ray) Pioppo is a Jewish Inclusion Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Fall 2019. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. Originally from New York, Pioppo graduated in 2018 from Elon University in North Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in Human Service Studies. She chose to study Human Services because she knew it would equip her with the skills required to serve clients in a variety of public outreach organizations. Pioppo recently moved to Potomac, Maryland and is pursuing a career in nonprofit management. She hopes to work with marginalized populations in the Washington, D.C. area.

Determined in her goal to advance human rights, Pioppo is dedicated to many social justice causes. She aims to empower others to become leaders in their communities and believes that every individual has the potential to create meaningful change. Pioppo is especially passionate about promoting the rights of women and children, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Pioppo is a dedicated public servant. She has interned at domestic violence and human trafficking agencies, helping women and children escape violent situations. She hopes to effect change in these communities on a policy level. Pioppo also spent much of her time as an undergraduate student working with homeless populations, both in Washington, D.C., and North Carolina. A primary focus of Pioppo’s was helping homeless individuals with disabilities find housing and employment, as well as to access public benefits. She is especially proud of her role in helping to establish a temporary shelter for homeless women and children.

Pioppo cites her experience working at the Kilmer Center as a primary influence informing her desire to work with the disability community and intern at RespectAbility. The Kilmer Center is a Fairfax County Public School for students with disabilities, ages 5-21. In recognizing the importance of physical activity for all, Pioppo chose to focus on normalizing the experience of the students by assisting with their physical mobility. Working with students in the gym was a rewarding opportunity for Pioppo. A large number of students were in wheelchairs. Her roles at Kilmer included facilitating the students’ gym activity time by pushing the students in wheelchairs, demonstrating stretches, and encouraging them to experience full body movement.

Pioppo’s personal experience with learning disabilities is an additional motivation to advocate for inclusion. Pioppo attended a high school for students with learning differences and attributes her skillset to an education that provided her with tools that helped her identify her strengths and classes that catered to her unique learning style. She hopes that this Fellowship opportunity will jumpstart an exploration of how opportunities such as the ones she was afforded can be shared with the larger population.

Pioppo’s decision to be a Jewish Inclusion Fellow at RespectAbility stems from her work in the Jewish community after her recent Birthright trip to Israel. Birthright is an educational organization that provides free trips to Israel for Jewish young adults. Pioppo enjoyed exploring Tel Aviv, hiking Masada and sleeping in a Bedouin Tent. The trip helped Pioppo strengthen her Jewish identity and values. Pioppo comes from a lineage of strong, educated Jewish women and is determined to help other Jewish women find their voice.

Beyond her interests in social justice, equity and inclusion, Pioppo is also a certified yoga instructor and hopes to teach yoga to people with disabilities. Travel is also one of her passions. Some of her favorite countries include Turkey, Greece, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Holland. She also has been fortunate to study abroad in Cannes, France and Copenhagen, Denmark. Pioppo appreciates learning about other cultures and customs. In her free time, Pioppo enjoys tennis, cooking, yoga, snowboarding and playing with her very cute and naughty Havanese puppy, Bodhi.

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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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Israel Sanchez, Nonprofit Management Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2019

Israel Sanchez smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Israel Sanchez

Israel de Jesus Sanchez Carlos is a Nonprofit Management Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Fall 2019. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community.

Sanchez is finishing his last semester in Business Management Engineering for a bachelor’s degree at TESCo (Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Coacalco) in Mexico. During his time in the seventh semester, he participated in the Seventh National Meeting of Academic Groups by writing an article about a specific case of one of his classmates with cerebral palsy. During his research, he noted the lack of research, writing, public data and general interest on disability in Mexico.

Even though his academic major may not be highly relevant to people with disabilities, Sanchez is an idealist, who believes that everyone should have the chance of getting a good quality life no matter one’s social or economic distinction. Recognizing the fact that many people with disabilities do not have that chance, he decided to redirect his interest to create a more inclusive society.

In 2019, he decided to apply for an international scholarship, which led him to the Washington Center and then to RespectAbility. Sanchez hopes to help RespectAbility’s mission by creating more opportunities for people with disabilities through a state project that will promote different strategies to integrate students with disabilities in schools and universities and then in various industries.

Once he graduates, Sanchez hopes to fight the stigmas about people with disabilities, especially in industries as well as public institutions, not only to benefit from the public services, but also to be part of them. He wants to reduce the barriers that people with disabilities face in accessing education and jobs.

Sanchez’s plan for his future is to pursue another bachelor’s degree in Small and Medium Companies Management to help improve small communities and create programs to include people with disabilities. In Mexico, 72 percent of employment and 58 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are generated by micro, small and medium companies.

In his free time, Sanchez enjoys reading science fiction and historical novels as well as constantly learning more about his major and successful experiences businesses have in integrating people with disabilities.

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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Stevie Mays, Community Outreach Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2019

Stevie Mays smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Stevie Mays

Stevie Mays is a Community Outreach Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Fall 2019. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. Mays has great passion and enthusiasm when working with and for the greater disability community. This passion is rooted in experiences of wanting to end the cycle of shame and taboo felt with their own learning disabilities growing up.

Born and raised in Michigan, Mays’ career in the disability community began in high school while volunteering at a life skills center, the Healing Haven, a center for children on the autism spectrum. This volunteering opportunity eventually led to a job as a lead therapist. Mays was able to assist in curriculum planning, augmented communication creation, and social skills training. The role, which lasted three years, brought great fulfillment and joy every day when working for the disability community. This created a desire for Mays’ interests in research with people on the spectrum, which lead Mays to transferring to the University of Michigan (U of M) to have such research and academic pursuits.

U of M had many opportunities to explore the academic side of disability. Mays worked in the Early Start Denver Model research lab under principal investigator Constanta Colombi. The study examined the effectiveness of teaching parents of children with autism a parenting class on a social skills toolkit to promote maximum communication and play skills within the family. The opportunity to add to the body of disability research arose and Mays elected to write a thesis on employment barriers for employees on the spectrum. This piece on adults sparked Mays’ advocacy desires for adults with disabilities and the necessity of job training. Mays graduated from the University of Michigan in August 2019 with a bachelor’s in general studies with a focus in Psychology, Sociology, Women/Gender studies, and Disability Culture.

During the summers while as an undergraduate, Mays worked with children, and occasionally adults, on the spectrum, as a camp counselor at Camp Michigania. Counseling involved managing groups of around 25 children each week for children ages zero to six-years-old. Singing by campfires, zip lining, and ‘spotting’ magical creatures only heightened Mays’ naturally playful energy. Mays also created assistive communication devices to make camp more accessible for non-verbal campers.

While camp is Mays’ favorite place, understanding the gravity of public policy, Mays elected to pursue work in disability political advocacy one summer. As an intern at the American Association for People with Disabilities, she was paired to work with the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD). While at NACDD Mays was able to help individual state developmental disability councils, lobby for national policy from the developmental disability perspective, and assist at NACDD national conference. While at NACDD, Mays concretely saw how important national policy and social welfare is as an aid to even out inequalities in the lives of those with developmental disabilities.

Mays was delighted to join the RespectAbility team for Fall 2019, which meant coming back to the Washington, D.C., area. Mays is committed to explore the East coast. With a never fulfilled desire to travel, Mays has plans of visiting all East Coast states before 2021 and already has completed six of the fifteen visits. While searching for the right a capella family for this alto two, Mays has a love for singing and is commonly known to sing in the car, shower, or jamming with friends. After RespectAbility Mays is hoping to transition into a role as a teacher for people with developmental disabilities with prospects to attend graduate school to earn a master’s in education and education policy to eventually co-run a community center for people with disabilities across the lifespan.

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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Otilia Lampman, Policy Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2019

Otilia Lampman smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Otilia Lampman

Otilia Lampman is a Public Policy and Employment Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Fall 2019. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community.

Lampman was born in Romania and came to the United States in June 2004 for surgery. She stayed with the family that later adopted her. This past June, Lampman completed her Associates Degree in Communication at Northern Virginia Community College. She recently applied to George Mason University for the Spring semester 2020. Lampman will earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications or Journalism in 2022.

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. She wants to gain professional experience, especially in an office, and learn to present herself and her disability well. She also wants to know what careers and opportunities exist.

Lampman’s plan for the future is simple. She wants to work and not be poor and on the street. Beyond the necessities of a house, job, food, health insurance, she hopes, one day, to learn how to tell other people’s stories and promote their artistic and social work on radio or podcasts.

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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Bruno Medina, Policy Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2019

Bruno Medina smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Bruno Medina

Bruno Medina is a Public Policy and Employment Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Fall of 2019. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community.

Medina is a graduate of Montgomery College in Maryland with an associate degree in international politics. Currently, she is a senior at the University of Maryland (UMD) working toward her Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Politics.

Born in Peru, Medina moved to Virginia at the age of seven and completed her primary education there before attending UMD. What inspires her to help the disability community is her own experience as a Latin immigrant and a transgender woman. She 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. She hopes that with the help of RespectAbility, she will not only help provide more opportunities for the disability community but also learn how to be more inclusive of the disability community in her advocacy for immigrant rights and transgender rights. Intersectionality is a big part of RespectAbility, so she hopes to take this element of RespectAbility to any organization she works for in the future.

This is Medina’s first internship with a nonprofit organization and hopes that after graduation she can continue working with organizations that help people advance in society. Medina hopes to work with immigrants and asylum seekers in America but also to contribute to other organizations that fight to further the rights for the transgender community both nationally and globally.

Medina loves to spend time with friends and family and go to art museums. This year she went to many art museums all over Europe with her mom. Her favorite art museum is the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands because of its vast collection of portraits and religious paintings from the middle ages. Close by she enjoys the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., which holds her favorite painting, Death of Ruben Salazar by Frank Romero. Medina hopes to return to Europe again someday and travel across the rest of the world.

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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Eitan Jacobsohn, Communications Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2019

Eitan Jacobsohn smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Eitan Jacobsohn

Eitan Jacobsohn is a Communications Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Fall 2019. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community.

Jacobsohn currently is enrolled at Montgomery College and is gaining work experience during his Fellowship with RespectAbility. He has been aware of RespectAbility since its founding in 2013 and was eager to join the RespectAbility team after he graduated high school earlier this year. He joined RespectAbility to do something positive with his free time.

In his free time, Jacobsohn likes to play video games, learn new things, and hike with his dog Lucy. He has a particular interest in the sciences, but also is interested in math, creative writing, and history. He wants to eventually pursue computer science professionally. This past summer, Jacobsohn volunteered at Lucky Dog Animal Rescue to partially automate their data processing system.

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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Courtney Murray, Communications Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2019

Courtney Murray smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Courtney Murray

Courtney Murray is a Communications Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Fall 2019. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community.

Murray’s professional experience in the disability field includes work as a full-time communications intern at American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). At AAPD, she volunteered with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and organized hundreds of giveaway packages for its gala. She also took part in daily discussions on the progress and setbacks of policies that were affecting people with disabilities. She researched and identified key players in the disability community for the benefit of business operations. Additionally, she worked at American Institutes for Research (AIR) and performed quality control (QC) of assessments for multiple state departments of education. Her work on the Operations team at AIR led to her evaluating the quality of braille assessments.

Murray is from Kensington, Maryland. She attended Howard University and graduated in 2011 with a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism with a concentration in Broadcast News. She minored in Administration of Justice. Her goal in completing the Fellowship is to enhance her social media management skills. In addition, she wants to become even more of an ally to people with disabilities during her Fellowship and beyond. Her hope is to secure a full-time position with an organization that encourages employee’s work-life balance.

Murray is passionate about music. She enjoys listening to most genres. Currently her favorite music streaming service is Sirius XM. Her go-to station on the service is Hip Hop Nation. Music-related television shows she favors are NBC’s The Voice and FOX’s Masked Singer.

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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Anthony Rendolph Clarke Brown II, Communications Fellow

National Leadership Program, Summer 2019

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

Anthony Rendolph Clarke Brown II

Anthony Rendolph Clarke Brown II is a Communications Fellow at RespectAbility. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. Brown was born with hydrocephalus, excess fluid in the brain, and a slight form of cerebral palsy. He developed mild seizures later in life. Disability advocacy became an avenue he wanted to explore after going to a resume and cover letter workshop and speaking with Nancy Forsythe, the Career Development Disabilities Specialist for the University of Maryland. She referred him to RespectAbility and their fellowship program.

Brown graduated from the University of Maryland College Park with a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature in December 2018.

Sports writing became a passion of Brown’s when he joined Bishop McNamara High School’s newspaper as a sports staff writer in his junior year (2010). The next year, he went onto become one of the sports editors. When he joined the newspaper staff at Prince George’s Community College in 2012, he held the managing editor position the semester before transferring to the University of Maryland in 2014.

He currently writes recruiting profiles for football and basketball athletes in high schools and junior colleges across the United States for PorterMedium.com. This is work he has continued to pursue with the new site after a three-year stint writing for the Sports Rants and Dimoro Sports sites housed under Elite Rank Media.

At the start of his tenure at Maryland, he was recruited to join FanSided Network’s The Baltimore Wire blog covering Terps football and basketball. He continues to write for the network, where he primarily covers Terps basketball for its Busting Brackets college basketball site.

Prior to those roles, he wrote for the Maryland Terrapins and Washington Redskins SB Nation sites’ Testudo Times and Hogs Haven, respectively.

Last summer, Brown interned for the Voice of America’s Africa Division, where he gained valuable video editing skills. He worked with Dalet Plus, multimedia editing software, to create B-roll packages for the daily edition of Africa 54. He also ran the teleprompter and live streaming for the show and tracked voice-overs for its packages.

A native of Clinton, Maryland, Brown joined Respectability to gain more experience with social media and website management and learn more about nonprofit work in disability advocacy.

Brown wrote one piece and was a contributor for two press releases during the 2019 Summer Fellowship. Read them on our website:

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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