Spring 2022 Webinar Series

This year’s fall program featured 11 webinars with 26 speakers, representing a wealth of knowledge, experience, and backgrounds. AHEAD webinars are a flexible, low-cost, high impact professional development opportunity for individuals or whole offices. Select just the topics that you’re working with now or all 11 webinars to bring a diverse program of information by nationally-recognized presenters to all interested members of your campus community.

Use the webinar recordings as professional development for yourself and your staff or watch with colleagues to foster dialogue about accessibility campus-wide. These webinars were hosted in Zoom and include captioning with the recordings.

Purchasing & Costs

Individual Webinars All 11 Webinars
AHEAD Members: $49 Each AHEAD Members: $499
Non-Members: $99 Each Non-Members: $599


In order to receive access to your purchase, including live events, you MUST contact AHEAD and make a full payment if you are paying by check or purchase order.

You may also pay your invoice using your credit card by selecting your purchases in your profile, or via the Order Number link or View Order link in the Order Confirmation email that will be sent to your email address.


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Webinar Titles & Description

Is This a Fundamental Alteration? Using the Interactive Process Properly to Examine Accommodation Requests Like “Remote Attendance” and Other Virtual Accommodations  

Tuesday, February 1, 2:00-3:30 Eastern/11-12:30 Pacific

Jamie Axelrod, Northern Arizona University
Adam Meyer, University of Central Florida

In our work, we frequently talk about the “interactive process,” but what is it exactly? Who should be involved in the process? How does the interactive process intersect with assessing when a fundamental alteration exists? This session will explore the interactive process and its use in evaluating when a fundamental alteration is present. The request for “remote attendance” as an accommodation will be used as an example of how to navigate the interactive process and fundamental alteration exploration.

Did you miss this live webinar? You can now purchase the recording and presentation materials!

Documenting Student Interactions: Best Practices for Making and Keeping Internal Notes About Students

Tuesday, February 8, 2:00-3:30 Eastern/11:00-12:30 Pacific

Randall Borst, University at Buffalo
Adam Crawford, The Ohio State University
Enjie Hall, University of Toledo
Lisa M. Meeks, University of Michigan
Linda Sullivan, Dartmouth College

Part of the work of disability resource professionals requires making good notes about student interactions. Unfortunately, many practitioners have limited time or aren’t sure what should be recorded, so student “case notes” are not robust, with negative repercussions for students and the office. To help address this, AHEAD published a white paper authored by seven experienced disability professionals titled Documenting Disability Professional and Student Interactions: Reasons and Recommendations for Notes. In this webinar, five of the authors of that paper will offer disability resource professionals a framework for the need, development, use, formatting, and storing of internal notes about students. Plenty of time will be left for Q&A.

Did you miss this live webinar? You can now purchase the recording and presentation materials!

How to Develop an ADA Faculty Training Program

Tuesday, February 15, Noon-1:30pm Eastern/9:00-10:30am Pacific

Catherine Wharton, Lynn University

ADA: Faculty Responsibilities Training is a multi-media curriculum that targets faculty. Participants will leave this how-to webinar with an overview of the curriculum, the 30-page faculty training manual, a two-hour professional development PowerPoint, learning outcomes, script, and additional resources for disability resource professionals to take back and customize for their institutions.

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From Burnout to Demoralization: The Perfect Storm That is Raining Resignation

Wednesday, February 23, 2:00-3:30 Eastern/11:00-12:30 Pacific

Margaret Camp, Clemson University

Almost 2 years into a global pandemic, we are burned out on the term ‘burnout’; it doesn’t accurately capture the stark erosion of morale in our profession. A perfect storm of turbulence factors have us swirling: a widening gap in college readiness and resilience skills for students coming from high school; increasingly demanding parents and complicated, customized accommodation requests; rising costs and the consumerization of ‘the college experience’; understaffed and under-resourced offices trying to do more with less as we pivot and flex – all set against a backdrop of political unrest, social discord, and a high-anxiety pandemic that drove us to shared isolation. By “claiming our crisis” and more accurately naming our response – demoralization – we will explore how we can wield new tools to restore some balance and satisfaction back to the important work we do.

Did you miss this live webinar? You can now purchase the recording and presentation materials!

Learning from Each Other: Developing an Effective Peer Mentoring Program for Students with Disabilities to Facilitate Access and Community

Thursday, March 3, 2:00-3:30 Eastern/11:00-12:30 Pacific

Jennifer Biggers, University of California, Riverside
Ryan McCombs, Purdue University

To navigate college independently and successfully, students with disabilities need to hone their skills to navigate what can sometimes be an inaccessible or non-inclusive environment. Peer Mentor Programs at Purdue University and the University of California, Riverside are examples of programming initiatives designed to support a student’s transition to college. Participants will learn how to establish an enriching peer mentoring program for students with disabilities and have the opportunity to learn strategies for recruitment, training, leadership development, and data collection.

Did you miss this live webinar? You can now purchase the recording and presentation materials!

Trauma-Informed Teaching Strategies

Tuesday, March 8, 2:00-3:30 Eastern/11:00-12:30 Pacific

Lisa Noshay Petro, UC Hastings School of Law
Annie Rosenthal, UC Hastings School of Law

Sexual violence, police brutality, child abuse and all manner of civil rights issues are common topics of conversation in higher education classes. For faculty, it can be challenging to navigate class discussions around these topics with the knowledge that students in the room may have a trauma background. Impacted students can have difficulties focusing on material and engaging in classroom discussions, making it essential to educate campus communities, especially instructors, on the prevalence of trauma, its impact on brain functioning, and ways to best support students who are at risk of re-traumatization. This train-the-trainer session will provide an overview of trauma and tips on how to support your campus in implementing trauma-informed teaching.

Did you miss this live webinar? You can now purchase the recording and presentation materials!

Using A Universal Design Framework to Underpin DEI Initiatives That Address Issues Related to Students with Disabilities

Wednesday, March 9, 2:00-3:30 Eastern/11:00-12:30 Pacific

Sheryl Burgstahler, DO-IT Center, University of Washington

Is disability a diversity category addressed in your campus Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives? Attend this webinar to consider how to promote the inclusion of individuals with disabilities as a marginalized group within DEI initiatives and to design DEI activities designed for another marginalized groups to be accessible and inclusive of its members who also have disabilities. A Universal Design Framework, DEI implementation model, and resources for guiding a DEI initiative on any campus will be shared.

Did you miss this live webinar? You can now purchase the recording and presentation materials!

Designing the Digital Accessibility Gateway: Using Data to Create Sustainability and Culture

Thursday, March 17th, 2:00-3:30 Eastern/11:00-12:30 Pacific

Jessica Guess, University of Cincinnati
Jermaine Fields, University of Cincinnati
Heidi Pettyjohn, University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati has devoted considerable resources to support improving our digital accessibility, included finding ways to collect and share data about accessibility and provide opportunities for various academic and business units to create action plans directly related to improving electronic accessibility. This led to the development of a collaborative tool called the Digital Accessibility Gateway. This tool provides tiered access, allowing administration and leadership to access a dashboard and drill down for specific information about units under their purview. We included four modules: academic, web, 3rd party, and training. This tool was developed internally. Hear from a developer about the logistics of creating the tool and from our data collection expert why this is an important part of our commitment to accessibility.

Did you miss this live webinar? You can now purchase the recording and presentation materials!

Emotional Support Animals in Housing, Classrooms, Dining Facilities, Testing Spaces, and More

Monday, March 21th, 2:00-3:30 Eastern/11:00-12:30 Pacific

L. Scott Lissner, The Ohio State University

Students are requesting to bring Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) to campus more and more often. The appropriate response to those requests can be unclear, given the multiple federal laws (and sometimes state laws) that come into play regarding ESAs. In this webinar, Scott will distinguish service animals from ESAs, describe the legal obligations imposed by the Fair Housing Act, Section 504, and the ADA, then discuss how schools should assess ESA requests in all its types of campus spaces. Plenty of time will be set aside for Q&A.

Did you miss this live webinar? You can now purchase the recording and presentation materials!

Practical Application of the AHEAD Guidance on Disability Documentation Practices, a Presentation and Panel Discussion

Thursday, March 24th, 2:00-4:00 Eastern/11:00-1:00 Pacific

Adam Meyer, University of Central Florida
William Eidtson, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Daniel Jordan, Gwynedd Mercy University
Jewls Griesmeyer-Krentz, Linfield University School of Nursing

Maria Schiano, County College of Morris
Melanie Thornton, Partners for Inclusive Communities, University of Arkansas

Since its launch in 2012, the AHEAD Guidance on Documentation Practices encouraged discussion and reconsideration of the role of third-party documentation in the higher education disability accommodation process. Since then, many schools have wondered how to actually apply the guidance to make updates to office protocol. Through presentation, followed by a panel discussion, this webinar will revisit the guidance and offer practical information on how the suggested documentation practices can be applied in your disability office. Panelists with various office policies regarding documentation will explore what the guidance does--and does not--say in terms of utilizing the student narrative, professional judgement, and third-party information. Students’ need for disability documentation when applying to take professional licensing exams or graduate school entrance exams will also be addressed. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions during this 2-hour session.

Did you miss this live webinar? You can now purchase the recording and presentation materials!

Implementation Strategies for the New AHEAD Code of Ethics

Thursday, April 28th, 3 PM-4:30 PM Eastern/12:00-1:30 Pacific

Adam Lalor, Landmark College
Lyman Dukes, University of South Florida
Lourdes Quiñones, University of South Florida
Amanda Kraus, University of Arizona

Professional ethics are critical for postsecondary disability services. As such, the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) released the revised AHEAD Code of Ethics in September 2021. But how do AHEAD members take this foundational document and translate it into practice in disability resource offices and disability-related research? This webinar will offer concrete strategies for implementing the AHEAD Code of Ethics in office procedures, the interactive process, program delivery, research/assessment design, and more. Opportunities to offer ideas for potential uses of the Code will be offered to attendees.

Did you miss this live webinar? You can now purchase the recording and presentation materials!

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Presenter Bios

Jamie Axelrod
Jamie Axelrod, M.S. is the Director of Disability Resources at Northern Arizona University and Past-President of AHEAD. Jamie presents regularly on topics related to disability access and higher education, having expertise in disability law and policy, communication and information technology (ICT) access, and the reasonable accommodation process. Jamie is a regular and well-respected contributor to professional listservs, including AHEAD’s discussion boards, and is a go-to consultant for complex issues. He has worked for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s athletic department, as a mental health therapist, and for Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc., a disability rights advocacy law firm where he served as an advocate for individuals with disabilities who were claiming that their civil rights had been violated. Jamie has served as co-chair of Northern Arizona University’s Commission on Disability Access and Design and on AHEAD’s Board of Directors.

Randall Borst

Randall Borst is retired from his former position of 24 years as Director of Accessibility Resources at the University at Buffalo. He held a similar position previously at Purdue Fort Wayne. He is a past president of AHEAD and has a significant history with leadership of community boards. His approach to the profession is consumerist/nonclinical.


Sheryl Burgstahler

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D. founded and directs Accessible Technology Services—which includes the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center and the IT Accessibility Team (ITAT)—at the University of Washington. These groups (1) offer mentoring and other interventions to support the success of students with disabilities in postsecondary education and careers and (2) promote the universal design (UD) of learning opportunities; facilities; websites, media, documents and other IT; and services to ensure that they are accessible to, usable by, and inclusive of individuals with disabilities. Her latest book is Creating Inclusive Learning Opportunities in Higher Education: A Universal Design Toolkit.


Jennifer Biggers

Jennifer Biggers is a disability specialist at the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) at University of California-Riverside Campus. Jennifer works with students with psychological disabilities, chronic health conditions, and learning disabilities. Jennifer’s expertise lies in post-secondary transition readiness. At UC Riverside, Jennifer oversees the SDRC Peer Mentor Program, Time Management Workshop Series, and SDRC [beginning of the year] Bootcamp.


Margert Camp

Margaret Camp, MEd is the Director of Student Accessibility Services at Clemson University. A former School Psychologist, Margaret has worked with students with disabilities in higher education for more than 20 years. She has served as Director of DS offices and has served as ADA Coordinator on a campus for 8 years. She has served several roles with AHEAD, including Program Chair, Chair of the Standing Committee on Professional Development, National Affiliate Group Representative, and is currently Co-Chair of the Autism Knowledge and Practice Community. Margaret presents at local, state and national conferences and particularly enjoys working with social justice concepts and evolving trends in the field.


Adam Crawford

Adam Crawford is the newly-appointed Director of Student Life for the College of Medicine at The Ohio State University. Prior to this role, Adam worked for 9 years in the disability resources field. He received his Bachelor’s in Sociology and his Master’s in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Missouri State University. Adam currently serves as the President for Ohio AHEAD.


Lyman Dukes

Lyman Dukes III, Ph.D. earned a B.S. and M.A. from the University of Florida and Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut. He is a Professor of Special Education in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, with 30 years of educational experience. He has served in higher education in a number of capacities both academically and administratively. He has co-edited two books, Preparing Students with Disabilities for College Success: A Practical Guide to Transition Planning (2010) and, most recently, Navigating the Transition from High School to College for Students with Disabilities (2018). He has published and presented extensively on topics related to secondary and postsecondary education for students with disabilities. He has also been awarded city, county, state, federal and corporate grant funding. His current research interests include transition from school to college, universal design in postsecondary education, guidelines for research on postsecondary education and disability, standards for practice in higher education disability services, and trauma-informed teaching practices.

William (Bill) Eidtson
William (Bill) Eidtson, Ed.D., a former special education teacher, is Director of Academic Skills and Student Accessibility Services at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. In his academic skills role, Bill coaches and advises students in evidence-based strategies and techniques aimed at making them successful learners throughout medical school and beyond. As Director of Accessibility Services, Bill works to ensure that all students can access Geisel’s learning environment and educates faculty and staff about the vital role of disability services in medical education. He is a board member for the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science and Medical Education. Prior to joining Geisel, Bill was Director of Faculty and Staff Development at the NYU College of Dentistry (NYUCD) and Executive Director of NYUCD’s Academy of Distinguished Educators, of which he is a lifetime fellow.


Jermaine Fields

Jermaine Fields is a UI/UX Developer for Application & Software Development. His main responsibilities are split between Accessibility Network development & training, and the production and maintenance of the College of Medicine, UC Research, UC Web Forms, and more. Working on CoM UI/UX team he creates dynamic applications that integrate seamlessly into Sitefinity CMS or .NET framework. As part of Accessibility Network , he maintains webforms.uc.edu and develops custom form solutions for various departments and colleges throughout the university. He also assists with the training of faculty & staff on how to create forms while following accessibility best practices and managing content in a multi-user environment. Outside of his work with IT@UC he is a member of the African American Black Staff (AABMS). As a member, he is a part of the leadership team and the chair of the Technology Committee that oversees the website design & development for AABMS.

Jewls Griesmeyer Krentz

Jewls Griesmeyer Krentz is the Associate Director of Learning Support Services at Linfield University School of Nursing where she oversees disability services, academic coaching, and tutoring. She enjoys finding creative and collaborative ways to promote equity and inclusion for students and university communities. Jewls applies a holistic, social justice approach to working with disabled students. Before joining Linfield in 2022, she had been an Access Counselor and Consultant at the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at PSU since 2013. At the DRC, Jewls specialized in working with blind and low vision students and supervised classroom assistants and graduate-level interns at the DRC. Jewls serves on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Affiliate of the Association of Higher Education and Disability (ORAHEAD), co-chairs the Blind and Low Vision Knowledge and Practice Community at Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), and serves as a mentor for the AHEAD Start Academy for new(er) disability services professionals. Jewls has presented multiple times at regional and national conferences, including AHEAD, ORAHEAD, and the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), and is actively engaged in ongoing research projects. Jewls received her Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling from PSU in 2008 and is a PhD candidate in Adult and Higher Education at Oregon State University. Her doctoral work focuses on international and immigrant students with disabilities, disability identity, and intersectionality. Jewls is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). Prior to coming to PSU, Jewls had a private counseling practice and served as a commissioner on the city of Portland Commission on Disability.


Jessica Guess

Jessica Guess, M.S. currently works as Program Manager for Accessibility Compliance at University of Cincinnati in the Office of Institutional Accessibility. She has an M.S. in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from University of Wisconsin-Stout and is a doctoral candidate in the Counselor Education and Supervision doctoral program. The focus of her work is primarily on data collection related to disability/accessibility and dissemination of that information. Jessica also provides disability/accessibility related training across the university and at national conferences. Having worked with disability populations for much of her life, her experiences as a late-deafened adult have allowed her to focus her work, research, and advocacy (personally and professionally) on disability representation and access.


Enjie Hall
Enjie Hall, M.R.C. is the Director of Campus Accessibility and Student Disability Services at the University of Toledo in Ohio, the University’s ADA Compliance Officer, and and a Director At-Large on AHEAD’s Board of Directors. Enjie previously worked at The Ohio State University in the Student Life Office for Disability Services and is a licensed professional counselor. She has presented at local, state, and national conferences on a variety of topics relating to services for disabled students, moving beyond compliance to full inclusion, and assistive technology.


Amanda Kraus

Amanda Kraus, Ph.D. currently serves as Assistant Vice President for Campus Life at the University of Arizona and Executive Director for Disability Resources. She serves as President of the Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and has had the privilege of delivering keynote addresses and facilitating workshops at institutions such as Singapore Management University, Duke University, and Wake Forest University on such topics as reframing disability, microaggressions and universal design. Amanda earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in Higher Education.


Adam Lalor

Adam Lalor, Ph.D. is the Director of the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training and Co-Director of the Landmark College Center for Neurodiversity. With more than 15 years of experience in higher education administration, his research focuses on the transition of students with disabilities to and within higher education and the preparation of faculty and administrators to serve students with disabilities. Recent publications have appeared in the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability and the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. He teaches in Landmark College’s online Learning Differences and Neurodiversity certificate program and is co-author of From Disability to Diversity: College Success for Students with Learning Disabilities, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dr. Lalor received his doctoral degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education.


L. Scott Lissner
L. Scott Lissner is the Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator and 504 Compliance Officer for The Ohio State University, where he is also an Associate of the John Glenn School of Public Policy and serves as a lecturer for the Moritz College of Law, the Knowlton School of Architecture and Disability Studies. Engaged in community and professional service, Scott is a Past President and Public Policy Chair of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and serves on the Board of Directors for The Center for Disability Empowerment, VSA Ohio, and the Editorial Board for Thompson’s ADA Compliance Guide. He is a regular and popular presenter both nationally and internationally, serves on numerous boards in support of access and equity. Recent publications include The Impact of the ADAAA of 2008 on Higher Education, Thompsons Publications; Universal Design in the Institutional Setting: Weaving a Philosophy into Campus Planning in Universal Design: From Accessibility to Zoning (J. Cowley-Evans & J. Nasser (Eds.); From Legal Principle to Informed Practice with J. E. Jarrow; and A Long View of Change, Disability Blog, The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.


Ryan McCombs

Ryan McCombs, M.A. serves as the Director of the Disability Access Center at Purdue University Fort Wayne in Indiana. Ryan has past experiences with developing and coordinating the Peer Mentor Program at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Ryan also holds a board position as President of IN-AHEAD (Indiana Association of Higher Education and Disability). Ryan has been a long-time member of the Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA). Ryan earned his Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education at Ball State University in 2017 and his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Central Michigan University in 2014. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Purdue University West Lafayette and will graduate in 2023. In addition, Ryan has eight years of experience within the field of education, including a mixed experience as a student affairs and disability services professional, as well as time as a K-12 educator. Currently as a Director, Ryan draws from his own disabled experiences to help ensure students have equal access within the campus environment by grounding his work in the social justice model of disability.

Lisa Meeks

Lisa M. Meeks, PhD is a former AHEAD board member and co-founder of the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science Education. Dr. Meeks is co-editor and author of the leading books on the topic of inclusive health science education, and was the lead author of the AAMC Special Report: Accessibility, Inclusion, and Action in Medical Education: Lived Experiences of Learners and Physicians with Disabilities. She is co-creator of the social media campaign #DocsWithDisabilities, co-host of the Docs with Disabilities podcast, and creator and lead facilitator of the Equal Access Book Club.

Adam Meyer

Adam Meyer, Ph.D. is the Director of the Student Accessibility Services office and of Inclusive Education Services at the University of Central Florida. He was previously the Director of disability resource offices at Eastern Michigan University and Saint Louis University. Adam has served on the AHEAD Board of Directors and on AHEAD Standing Committees. He presents regularly on documentation, the social model of disability, leadership and office operations, initial student interviews, office data, and budgetary basics. Adam worked in the intellectual disability field for nearly 10 years prior to working in higher education.

Lisa Noshay Petro

Lisa Noshay Petro, JD alumna (’98) and Director of UC Hastings Law Disability Resource Program, has worked with students in law, psychology, and other professional programs for over fifteen years in both public and private postsecondary institutions. She works with over 200 law students with disabilities each year, counseling many of them on stress reduction, emotion regulation, and disability symptom management skills. Prior to this work, she had over ten years’ experience working with children, adolescents, adults and families in various special education and social service settings in Arizona, California, and the New York metropolitan area. Lisa is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and believes her disabilities give her superpowers. Lisa is currently in a part-time graduate program at UC Berkeley to receive her Masters in Social Work. In her spare time (what spare time?) she enjoys hiking, cooking, and reading.

Heidi Pettyjohn

Heidi Pettyjohn is Executive Director for Accessibility at the University of Cincinnati, where she serves as ADA Coordinator and supervises the directors of accessibility offices on the main and regional campuses. Heidi provides institutional leadership and guides efforts in the sustainment of an accessible and inclusive experience for disabled students, staff and visitors at the university. In the past four years, her work has focused particularly on leading the university in sweeping changes to their approach to ensuring that websites and other electronic and digital content is accessible to disabled students, employees, and community members. 

Lourdes Quiñones

Lourdes Quiñones is a second-year doctoral student at the University of South Florida’ in the Curriculum and Instruction-Special Education program. Her educational background includes graduating from the program of Physical Therapy at the University of Central Florida, as well as from the Master’s in Special Education-Autism Spectrum Disorder and Severe Intellectual Disabilities at the University of South Florida (USF). Her professional experience includes having served children with a variety of disabilities as a Pediatric Physical Therapist in the home, school, and clinic settings, and as a Kindergarten-1st grade special education teacher in Hillsborough County School District. She has been serving children and families through the Center for Autism and related disabilities (CARD-USF) since August of 2019. Lourdes' research interests are related to arts and disability, as well as arts across the curriculum, to facilitate furtherance of learning in inclusive classrooms through the arts.

Annie Rosenthal

Annie Rosenthal, MSW, is the Associate Director of UC Hastings' Center for Advocacy, Resources and Education (CARE) program, which provides gender-based violence prevention and response services to the campus community. Annie holds a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Clark University and a master's in social work from UC Berkeley. Prior to her role at UC Hastings, Annie held positions in campus sexual violence prevention, community health advocacy and sexual health research. Annie is deeply committed to promoting equity and inclusivity in education and working to eliminate violence in all its forms, on and off-campus.

Maria Schiano

Maria Schiano, MSW is the Director of Accessibility Services at County College of Morris (CCM) in New Jersey. She was appointed to AHEAD’s Board of Directors to serve as a Director-At-Large as the Community College representative. She also holds the role of the AHEAD Affiliates liaison, which helps connect affiliate groups across the country. Maria has served as the President of New Jersey AHEAD for the past three years. She holds her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Women’s Studies from Brooklyn College and her Masters in Social Work from New York University. She has over 18 years of higher education experience, specializing in disability services and access, LGBTQ + services and promoting equity and inclusion through a social justice lens.

Melanie Thornton
Melanie Thornton is the Coordinator of Access and Equity Outreach at the University of Arkansas - Partners for Inclusive Communities. In this position, she provides professional development and technical assistance on topics related to disability, diversity, digital access, leadership, and design. Previously, she worked at the Disability Resource Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where she served as the Associate Director and Director of Project PACE, a Department of Education model demonstration grant. She led the campus community in increasing capacity related to Web accessibility and inclusive curricular design. Melanie has also served as a trainer for Project ShIFT, a project designed to develop the leadership skills of professionals across the country and supporting them in infusing disability studies perspectives into their practices. Melanie has presented at state, national and international conferences on topics related to disability and access and has worked as an independent consultant in a variety of capacities for 10 years.

Catherine Wharton

Catherine Wharton, Ed.D. is the Director of the Diagnostic Center for Educational Assessment and the ADA Specialist overseeing Student Accessibility Services at Lynn University. She joined Lynn University in 2006 and teaches as an adjunct in the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2018, she completed her doctorate in education with a dissertation entitled, “Reading Comprehension in Two Accommodated Reading Tasks with College Students with Reading Disabilities.” Her responsibilities include reviewing psychological testing submitted by students with disabilities, engaging in the interactive process with ADA students and monitoring the implementation of ADA accommodations with fidelity. Dr. Wharton develops content and provides trainings and strategies to support students, academic coaches, tutors, and faculty. She is particularly interested in integrating compensatory strategies, motivational theory and practice within pedagogy to foster a classroom environment of confidence and competence leading to student mastery.

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