Presenter Bios

Dr. Jen Beamer, PhD (she/her/hers) is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Kinesiology Program at OSU. She teaches in the Masters of Adapted Physical Education program and serves as one of the Program Directors of IMPACT, a physical activity program for youth and adults with disabilities. Jen’s research interests and instructional expertise revolve around best practices for including people with disabilities in physical education and activity.

Pamela Block (she/her/hers) is a Professor of Anthropology at Western University. She is the co-author of Allies and Obstacles: Disability Activism and Parents of Children with Disabilities, Allison C. Carey, Pamela Block, and Richard K. Scotch, Temple University Press and co-editor of Occupying Disability: Critical Approaches to Community, Justice, and Decolonizing Disability, Block, P., Kasnitz, D., Nishida, A., Pollard, N. (eds). Springer Ltd. 

Maggie Bridger, MS (she/her/hers) is a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Department of Disability and Human Development and a dance artist working in disability dance. Her research and artistic interests center around disabled bodyminds in dance, with a focus on chronic illness, pain and the ways that disabled artists are reimagining the dancemaking process. She was part of the inaugural cohort of the Dancing Disability Lab at UCLA, serves on the committee to organize CounterBalance, Chicago’s annual integrated dance concert and was recently selected as a 2021 New Works artist with Synapse Arts in Chicago. Together with Sydney Erlikh, Bridger was a 2019 Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellow, through which they co-founded the Inclusive Dance Workshop Series at Access Living.

Michele Bromley (she/her/hers) is the IT Accessibility Coordinator for the Office of Information Technology at Portland State University (PSU). In this capacity, she serves as a digital accessibility resource for the university—providing support, technical direction, and assessment related to the accessibility of new and existing information and communication technologies. Her primary areas of expertise are accessible digital design, digital accessibility validation, alternative media, and adaptive technology. Personally, she is an avid Star Wars and Firefly fan and loves spending time with her two kiddos.

Andrea Brush, MPH (she/her/hers) is originally from Massachusetts but moved to Oregon to pursue a master’s degree in Public Health, focusing on Global Health and vulnerable populations, at Oregon State University. After a stop at the Benton County Health Department, she now works for OSU as an Accommodations Associate assisting university employees with reasonable workplace accommodations through the ADA. In her spare time, you can find Andrea hiking in the forest, completing never-ending house renovation projects, or teaching her cat new tricks. 

Allison C. Carey, Ph.D. (she/her/hers) is Professor of Sociology at Shippensburg University, Pennsylvania. She is co-author of Allies and Obstacles: Disability Activism and Parents of Children with Disabilities (2020) and author of On the Margins of Citizenship: Intellectual Disability and Civil Rights in Twentieth Century America (2009). She has served as chair of the Disability and Society section of the American Sociological Association and Vice-President of Society for Disability Studies. 

Chandra A. Char MPH (she/her/hers) is a PhD candidate at Oregon State University in Public Health-Health Promotion & Health Behavior. Chandra’s research interests are health services and health equity for people with disabilities. Her dissertation focuses on health care experiences prior to and during the time of COVID-19 for deaf and hard of hearing English using patients. 

April Coughlin, PhD (she/her/hers) is a “wheeler,” life-long disability rights advocate, and Assistant Professor in the School of Education at SUNY New Paltz. She also taught high school English in New York City public schools. Her research and teaching focus on access and equity for students with disabilities in schools.

April Davenport (she/her/hers) is a 2020 Oregon State Graduate, who graduated with bachelor’s degrees in Apparel Design and Merchandising Management. While April was at OSU, she used her experience with chronic illness to start designing for people with disabilities. April used her passion for adaptive design to win an international design contest and used part of winning entry to start her own business. Now, April lives in Tacoma Washington, and designs for the inclusive footwear company BILLY Footwear. 

Sydney Erlikh, MS. Ed (she/her/hers) is a doctoral candidate in Disability Studies. She studies dance and disability focusing on dance groups that include individuals with intellectual disabilities. She was awarded a Schweitzer Fellowship with her partner, which led to the creation of Inclusive Dance Workshop Series at Access Living in Chicago. Sydney currently serves on the NDEO dance and disability task force and has presented at conferences on using AAC in dance.

Mark Farley (he/him/his) is Strategic Initiatives Manager at the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center. His work supports strategic plan development, marketing & communications, as well as grant & budget development for the Director’s Office. Prior to joining the Director’s Office team at Hatfield, Mark was part of the Oregon Sea Grant Free Choice Learning Lab and Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitor Center Team, serving as the Project and Technology Development Manager for the Lab development process. Mark also has an extensive background in art, design, and marketing. 

Natalia Fernández (she/her/hers) is an Associate Professor and the Curator of the Oregon Multicultural Archives (OMA) and the OSU Queer Archives (OSQA) at the Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center. Fernández’s mission for directing the OMA and the OSQA is to work in collaboration with Oregon’s African American, Asian American, Latinx, Native American, and OSU’s LGBTIAQ+ communities to support them in preserving their histories and sharing their stories. Fernández holds an M.A. in Information Resources and Library Science from the University of Arizona (U of A). She graduated from the U of A Knowledge River Program, a program that focuses on community-based librarianship and partnerships with traditionally underserved communities. 

Lzz Johnk (they/them/theirs) is a Mad agender PhD Candidate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University. Their research interests include disability studies, Mad Studies, and women of colour feminisms. They are an Archival Assistant with the OSU Disability Archives.

Winston Kennedy PT, DPT, MPH is a licensed physical therapist and is a trained public health professional. He is currently a PhD Candidate at Oregon State University as well as a Leadership Education in the Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Fellow at University of Massachusetts Medical School. Currently Dr. Kennedy researches how people with disabilities can receive equitable care in health care by assessing healthcare professionals’ attitudes toward people with disabilities and serves as an ally and advocate for underrepresented and underserved communities and populations. 

Willie Leung, MS, MPH (he/him/his) is a PhD candidate at Oregon State University with the major of Kinesiology and the option of Adapted Physical Activity. He worked with the IMPACT and IMPACT of Life program at OSU that aim to provide physical activity opportunity to individuals with disabilities within in the community. HIs research focus on promoting physical activity for all individuals with and without disabilities.

Kathleen McCarty, MA (she/her/hers) is a queer, asthmatic, first-generation college graduate and Doctoral Candidate in kinesiology and adapted physical activity at Oregon State University. Her dissertation work is focused on equity and access in collegiate sports offerings for students with disabilities and supports efforts to create a national, Title IX-mirroring policy for disability. In her free time, Kathleen enjoys roller derby and comic books. 

Gabriel (Gabe) Merrell is Director of Access and Affirmative Action, and Deputy ADA Coordinator within Equal Opportunity and Access at Oregon State University. With 10+ years serving directly in an access and ADA Coordination role, Gabe’s major responsibilities include, analyzing, interpreting, and understanding disability laws, educating the Oregon State community on the inclusion of people with disabilities, overseeing all employee and community accommodations, and working on institutional culture change initiatives. Gabe is a past-president of the Oregon Association on Higher Education and Disability, and co-chairs the ADA Coordinator Knowledge and Practice Community for the Association on Higher Education and Disability. 

Cinamon Moffett (she/her/hers) is the Research Program Manager at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center located in Newport, Oregon where she is responsible for the operational oversight of the research program. She is also part of the emergency management team working to enhance the community’s resilience to natural disasters. She holds two masters from the School of Marine Science at the University of Maine. Prior to joining Hatfield, Cinamon worked as a marine educator, a shellfish biologist, and an estuarine land use planner. Through her career, Cinamon enjoys working in, on, and around marine waters. 

Ashley Nilson (she/her/hers)has a Master’s degree in Education and a love of technology. Ashley manages training and consulting processes for Portland State University’s system of sites, as well as providing project management services for site overhauls. She is passionate about collaborative processes and developing rapport between people, with a focus on finding common ground. When not at work, Ashley enjoys hiking, amateur woodworking, and planning projects around her house.

Emily F. Plackowski, M.S. (she/her/hers) is a 3rd year Psychology Graduate Student (health track) at Oregon State University. She is from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She is accompanied – as always – by her service dog, Kaz. When she is not taking classes or teaching psychology, Emily conducts research in Dr. Kathleen Bogart’s Disability and Social Interaction Lab. The broad focus of her research is the interplay between marginalized populations (e.g. those with disabilities and/or rare diseases) and the social world.

Joseline Raja-Vora (she/her/hers) is a graduate student at OSU pursuing a doctoral degree in Kinesiology with a focus in Adapted Physical Activity, and an MPH in Health Promotion and Health Behavior. Her research focuses on physical activity promotion for emerging adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She identifies as a person of color and an ally for people with disabilities.

Richard K. Scotch (he/him/his) is Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is the author of several books and numerous articles and monographs on social policy reform and social movements in disability, health care, education, and human services. He currently is conducting a study of political candidates with disabilities with Sally Friedman. 

Joel Snyder, PhD (he/him/his) is known internationally as one of the world’s first “audio describers,” a pioneer in the field of Audio Description, a translation of visual images to vivid language for the benefit, primarily, of people who are blind or have a vision impairment: the visual is made verbal—and aural, and oral. In 2014, the American Council of the Blind published Dr. Snyder’s book, The Visual Made Verbal – A Comprehensive Training Manual and Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description. He has served on the Disability Advisory Committee of the Federal Communications Commission and currently sits on the Audio Description Subject Matter Expert Committee of the ACVREP—the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals. Dr. Snyder is the President of Audio Description Associates, LLC and he serves as the Director of the Audio Description Project of the American Council of the Blind.

Niamh Timmons (she/her/hers & they/them/theirs) is a PhD Student in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University. She has an MA in Cultural Studies from the University of Washington Bothell and an MA in American Studies from Washington State University. Their research interests include Trans Feminine cultural productions, radical imagination, disability studies, and anti-carceral organizing.

Billie Travelstead (she/her/hers) is from Washington and received her Bachelors in Deaf Studies from Cal. State, Northridge and remains a NIC certified Interpreter. She moved back to the Northwest to receive her Masters in Social Work from Portland State University, with a focus on social justice and community based work. She has work primarily in the university environment in a number of roles, the most recent being the Accommodations Associate at Oregon State University, working with employees though the ADA accommodations process. She enjoys travel, learning new things, and a good belly laugh paired with a glass of wine.

Kaliegh Walther (she/her/hers), a working mother and wife, has a B.S. in Botany with a focus on Field Botany, and is currently working towards her Masters of Natural Resources. After which, she will go on to earn her doctorate, with an end goal of a career in academia. 

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