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The Spirit of the Season

The National Federation of the Blind is pleased to announce our 2018 scholarship program.

To recognize achievement by blind scholars, the National Federation of the Blind annually offers blind college students in the United States and Puerto Rico the opportunity to win one of thirty merit-based, national-level scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000. All scholarships awarded are based on academic excellence, community service, and leadership.

To learn more, and to apply, please visit us at:


Resource Highlights

Project CAREER STAR Internet Portal
The NIDILRR-funded Project CAREER: Development of an Interprofessional Demonstration to Support the Transition of Students with Traumatic Brain Injuries from Postsecondary Education to Employment has created the Student, Technology, Accommodations and Resources (STAR) internet portal. STAR serves as a platform to provide resources and support to college students with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and their families and caregivers, college advisors, educators, employers, health and rehabilitation providers, military/veterans, and advocates. The portal includes information about readily-available technology and apps that support college students and other people with TBI.

Are you an SU student registered with the Office of Disability Services? Are you interested in practicing discussing accommodations with a professor?

I’m a graduate student who has a disability and I’m looking for participants for a research study.  The study consists of a simulation in which you can practice discussing accommodations with an actor who is trained to portray a professor.   

Full details of the study are below.  Please contact Justin Freedman at jefreedm@syr.edu if you are interested or if you have any questions.

Dear Students,

           My name is Justin Freedman and I am a Ph.D. student in the School of Education studying Special Education.  I am working on my dissertation and I am interested in learning about how university students who identify with a disability discuss accommodations with their professors.

            I am inviting you to participate in a research study that will begin with a brief initial interview about accommodations that you receive. Then, the main aspect of participating in this study is the opportunity to practice having a conversation about accommodations through participating in a simulation.  The simulation involves you discussing accommodations for a course with an actor who is trained to play the role of your professor.

In the simulation, you will carry on a discussion with the actor just as you deem appropriate, but the simulation will last no longer than 20 minutes. Afterwards, you will be asked to participate in a small group de-briefing about what it was like to participate in the simulation. The simulations and de-briefing will be video recorded. There will also be an optional follow-up opportunity for you to come back and watch your video of the interactions you had with the actor. Between interviews and participating in the simulation, the total time commitment for participating in this study is approximately 2-3 hours of your time.

          The idea of participating in a simulation may be uncomfortable, but remember that this is only a simulation, and not an actual conversation with one of your professors.

To ensure privacy, all initial interviews will be conducted in a private conference room on the campus of Syracuse University, either in the School of Education or in Bird Library. The simulation and small group de-briefing will be conducting at SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Clinical Skills Center. Optional follow-up interviews will also be conducted in a private room at the Clinical Skills Center, where you will watch and discuss the video of your simulation with me.

            As a student who identifies as having a disability myself, I am aware that many students choose not to disclose a disability label to others. I want to make you aware upfront that because this study involves small group de-briefings, other participants will be aware of your identity as someone who receives disability related accommodations. At the same time, this small group discussion may be beneficial, as they will allow you to share your experiences with students who may have had similar experiences.

If you agree to participate in this study, you are agreeing to allow me to access the video tape of your simulation and group de-briefing, as well as audio recordings of initial and follow-up interviews. It is very important that you understand that any identify information such as your names will be kept confidential and pseudonyms will be used in any written records. If you agree to participant, I will also ask that you consent to not sharing the identities or personal information of other students who choose to participate in the study.

Lastly, I would like to compensate you for your time. You will receive up to a $25 Amazon gift card e-mailed to you for participating in this study.  Here is how compensation will work:

If you withdrawal before completing the initial interview, you will not be compensated.

If you withdrawal after completing only the initial interview, you will receive a $10 Amazon gift card.

If you withdrawal after completing both the initial interview and the simulation with de-briefing, you will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

You may choose to participate in a follow-up interview, but you will have already been fully compensated regardless of participating in this final task.

If you are interested in participating in this research project or have any questions, concerns, or complaints about this project, you can contact me at (609) 610-5455, or by e-mail at jefreedm@syr.edu. If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant, or have questions, concerns, or complaints that you wish to address to someone other than myself, or if you cannot reach me, contact the Syracuse University Institutional Review Board at +1(315) 443-3013, orip@syr.edu.

Thank you for your interest in this project. I look forward to hearing from you­­.

Best regards,

Justin Freedman

Watch this!: TEDx Talk

(auto generated captions; and, FYI, “crippling” used as rhetorical strategy)

Life Animated Op-ed

RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting  stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, is pleased to announce the hiring of Christopher Trujillo as its new National Leadership Director.

Prior to joining RespectAbility, Trujillo worked at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) as the Member Development Specialist. He managed the recruitment process, was responsible for generating new member revenue, developed recruitment matrixes, processes and strategies, and presented at various conferences nationwide. Before joining GEO, he worked at the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (GEO) as Senior Coordinator of Chapter Development where he served as a coach and mentor to high achieving scholars at universities and community colleges.

Trujillo is a trained educator and holds a bachelor’s degree in visual art studies and a minor in professional development from the University of North Texas. The youngest of 12 children, he has a sibling with developmental disabilities and an aunt with Cerebral Palsy.

Trujillo is excited about serving at RespectAbility, as he will have the opportunity to work with Fellows who are interested in impacting the lives of people with disabilities.

“As a person of color with a learning disability, I know how hard it can be finding a place to fit in,” Trujillo said.“Being part of the RespectAbility team will provide a platform for me to help educate, train and mentor others, fight stigma and inequalities, increase diversity in the disability community and create new opportunities for others like me.”

Said RespectAbility President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, “We had an exhaustive national search for someone with the highest skills, integrity, passion and vision. We are honored and delighted that Trujillo will take the reins of our National Leadership Program. He is an ideal role model and professional to recruit and train young leaders who are committed to people with disabilities and who want to go into public service, media and advocacy. Trujillo will enable leaders to achieve their dreams – while building a diverse talent pipeline for the disability movement.”

Graduates of the program have gone on to work for the White House, think tanks and in public affairs and advocacy, as well as to numerous high-level law schools and masters programs for public policy.

The Fellowship is supported by the Stanford and Joan Alexander Foundation, which enabled the Fellowship to hire its first Director in 2015, as well as the Ford Foundation, whose grant now enables RespectAbility to include more participants with multiple minority status and/or low-income candidates who cannot afford unpaid Washington internships.

Applications Open

RespectAbility is accepting applications from potential Fellows to serve within the National Leadership Program. There are several fellowship opportunities:

Trujillo works directly with Fellows to provide them with professional work experiences and resources that will support their career goals and simultaneously advance RespectAbility’s mission. He is responsible for recruiting qualified Fellows, providing training related to their skills development (e.g., writing, research, computer, networking, social media, public speaking, resume writing), and working with Fellows to organize relevant presentations and special events. In addition, he serves as a mentor to aid in the Fellows’ completion of assigned tasks and assists graduates of the program with securing employment and/or entrance to graduate schools.

The National Leadership Program has three cohorts of Fellows – in the fall, spring and summer – for a total of at least 24 Fellows. There are rolling admissions for each cohort. Currently, fall 2017 Fellowship applications are being accepted.

All participants will be trained in advocacy, media and leadership; they will learn how to communicate successfully with people who hold leadership positions in government, commerce or the disability advocacy field. With assistance from the Director, fellows will work with the other professional staff members on various projects throughout the organization, including in employment advocacy, faith inclusion, stigma reduction and development.

“Our fellowship program continues to thrive,” Mizrahi said. “To date, we have had more than 80 fellows, half of whom self identify as a person with a disability, half of whom do not but want to work in the disability field and/or support our agenda. With Trujillo now here to lead our efforts, we are looking forward to a a robust future.”

The National Leadership Program enables young leaders to gain critical skills, contacts and experiences necessary to be accepted into graduate school or go directly into careers in public policy, media or advocacy. This program is fully accessible for people with disabilities and offers full-time in-house job coaching, skills development, networking opportunities, assistive technology and personal care support. People with and without disabilities are encouraged to apply but applicants must have a strong commitment to fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities.

There are opportunities for both paid and unpaid Fellowships. Unpaid fellows receive a monthly transportation stipend. Lunch is provided daily for all fellows. In addition, all fellows participate in special presentations by guest speakers and intensive strategic communications workshops. RespectAbility is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Affirmative Action employer. Persons with disabilities and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.

For more information, check out our Frequently Asked Questions, or contact Christopher Trujillo, National Leadership Director, at ChristopherT@RespectAbility.org

Are you interested in Disability Advocacy? Consider joining Delta Alpha Pi! ODS’ Honor Society! Apply here

Undergraduate Students must have a 3.0 or better GPA and at least 24 credits completed to be eligible.

Graduate Students must have a 3.3 or better GPA and at least 18 credits completed to be eligible.

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