Spring 2016 Presentation Files
Disability 101 (Wednesday)
Respectful Language (PDF)
Connecting With Faculty (Wednesday)
Service Animals (Friday)
Nominee Bios for 2016-2017 Board Selection
Hello, I’m Jon McGough and it’s an honor to be considered for WAPED president. Over the past 10 years I’ve had the pleasure of working in higher education, coordinating financial aid and disability services at public and private universities. In my current role as Assistant Director of Disability Resources at the University of Washington, I enjoy working with students in graduate health science programs and supporting an office of colleagues carrying out our work on a large scale. My qualifications include serving on the WAPED board in past years, and more recently serving on the Board of Directors for The Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science and Medical Education. Recently, I also contributed to multiple chapters to the book: “The Guide to Assisting Students with Disabilities: Equal Access in Health Science and Professional Education.”
WAPED colleagues have been invaluable in developing my understanding of the social model of disability, the law, accessible technologies, and countless other intricacies of what we do. I would not be the professional I am without the WAPED community and I hope that as President I might be able to give back an organization that has meant so much to me. Thank you for considering my nomination.
Jason Varnado – TECHNICAL ADVISOR
I am currently an Associate Director in Gonzaga’s Center for Student Academic Success and I oversee the Disability Access office. I took over direction of the Disability office after my predecessor, Kathy Shearer retired in summer of 2015. Until then I was Associate Director of the office (starting 2013). I have worked in Gonzaga’s Disability office since 2007; I began as an assistant to the office helping with day to day operations, testing accommodations, and assistive technology. In Spring of 2008 I was promoted to Assistive Technology Coordinator and became Assistive Technology Specialist in 2010. I continue to oversee the provision of assistive technology for students and public access to the university as a major part of my role. Currently I have been involved in our EITA (Electronic Information and Technology Accessibility) policy and procedure development and roll-out. My interest and ability with general technology was noticed by my supervisors back in 2007, who allowed me to play proxy-IT for our office and helped me to cultivate that interest into an area of expertise in assistive technology. I have enjoyed many technology challenges over the years in my work: currently we are accommodating a Mechanical Engineering student who is blind and a “die hard” (her words) Braille user – she especially loves Nemeth code, and has helped me learn a lot about accessible math. Learning how to make those classes accessible to this student has been a great journey.
I am excited about the opportunity to learn so much more while supporting the members of WAPED in the position of Technical Advisor.
Krista Greear – TREASURER
Adaptive Technologist at UW for 4 years. I want to support WA higher education DS providers in understanding current technology trends as they apply to serving students with disabilities. I’m a geek who loves to share, inform, and discuss things related to tech. Primary goals would be to (1) add swallow-able, helpful resources to the WAPED website, (2) post free webinar opportunities to the WAPED listserv and (3) identify ways WAPED can support institutions who don’t have a dedicated adaptive technologist with their campus-specific questions. I will also fight for other small snack options (in addition to candy) at the fall and spring conferences:]
Angela Tucker–FOUR YEAR REPRESENTATIVE
PROFESSIONAL INFO: I am a one-woman Disability Support Services office at Seattle Pacific University. In addition to supervising student workers on audiobook production and the creation of tactile graphics, I enjoy campus-wide efforts to create an awareness of the troubling savior view that SPU currently holds regarding people with disabilities. I Recently I collaborated with a couple other departments on campus to teach a 3-hour in-service on Universal Design. This workshop was required for all faculty members – each faculty left the workshop with an accessible syllabi and the opportunity to think through each aspect of their classwork in terms of inclusivity. I have worked at SPU for almost three years.
PERSONAL INFO: I grew up with seven siblings, all with differing abilities and accommodation requirements. My parents adopted all of their children, specifically upon learning of our disabilities. My adoption story was documented and is now available via Netflix in a documentary (“Closure”) that followed my search for my birthparents. Growing up in this environment assisted in the normalizing of diversity and an early formation of ideas around our society and ableism. I welcome the opportunity to be one of your four year representatives for the WAPED board.
Monica Olsson – FOUR YEAR REPRESENTATIVE
Hi WAPED! My name is Monica Olsson, and I am excited to be in the running for the WAPED board 4 year representative position. I earned my Bachelor Degree from the University of Washington in Seattle, where I studied Disability Studies. I identify as a person with multiple disabilities, and used accommodations via DRS during my time as a student. Presently I am the Coordinator of Disability Support Services at DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Washington. Now that I work in disability support services in higher education, my own experiences as a disabled college student provide me unique perspective while advocating for and working alongside my students at DigiPen.
I would be honored to serve as your 4-year representative on the WAPED board, and am excited about the opportunity to fulfill this responsibility. Since DigiPen is a 4 year private institution providing degrees in video game design and computer science, I will add this perspective to our conversations and work together. The voice of our private institutions is something I would like to see strengthened in the WAPED community. We all have a lot to learn from each other.
I love the work I get to do each day because of the creativity our field requires, and because of the wonderful relationships I have been able to foster with students over time. This school year I worked closely with one student to launch DigiPen’s first-ever Student Disability Club, which hosted its first movie night last month, and has growing membership. In addition to providing services and accommodations, I hope to strengthen a culture of disability pride, celebration, and increased universal access on our campus. I see importance in sharing the goal of going-beyond-accommodations with my fellow colleagues and WAPED members. Thank you for your nomination, and see you in April!
John Rajcich – TWO YEAR REPRESENTATIVE
My name is John Rajcich. I am the Assistant Director of Access Services at South Puget Sound Community College.
I began my career in the early 90s when I helped Grays Harbor College start their DSS program. From there I was an intern with the Governor’s Committee for Disability issues and Employment where I worked answering technical assistance phone calls for the Northwest Disability Business Technical Assistance Center. While there, I was retained as support staff for the Core Services bill. I then returned to Grays Harbor College and was the Coordinator for Disability Support Services for 17 years. In 2011 I came to my current position at SPSCC.
I agreed to run and possibly return to the board because it’s an opportunity to engage with the membership in with a different perspective. I attended my first WAPED in 1994. Serving on the board is a chance to share the past and learn the future. Should you choose to elect me, it would be my pleasure to work with the board and serve you.
Melissa Anderson – TWO YEAR REPRESENTATIVE
I have worked at Whatcom Community College (WCC) for over 9 years, the past 2 years of those have been with the Access and Disability Services office. I will graduate from Western Washington University with my M.Ed in Adults in Higher Education this June 2016. I have a passion and devotion for supporting students with disabilities as I am one as well, education has always been a challenge for me with dyslexia. My current position at WCC is the Testing & Access Specialist, although that title is going to change shortly due to some reorganization. The people I have met in WAPED and DSSC have all been knowledgeable and supportive, by running for the 2-year representative position it is my hope to meet and make additional supportive and collaborative relationships with disability representatives throughout the state of Washington. My intention is to always work with students with disabilities for the remainder of my career. On a personal level outside of work I am a huge animal lover and enjoy baking all things sweet.
Aimee Elber – TWO YEAR REPRESENTATIVE
People with disabilities make up the largest minority group in the United States; and one that any one of us may become a part of at any time. As people with disabilities, we are developing our own history, literature, art, ethos, mythology, language, cultural artifacts, and other forms of symbolic representation, all of which are becoming components of an emerging and unique tradition. As part of the disability community myself, I have a deep-seated, strengths-based, “person first” philosophy, viewing individuals holistically and focusing on assets rather than barriers. I am committed to diversity, multiculturalism, and fostering a safe learning environment for our students, instructors, and community stakeholders, while spreading a message of acceptance and inclusion for all people with disabilities.
I became involved in the disability community in 1993 and began my career with DVR in 1999. In 2004 I transitioned to higher education and have enjoyed serving in the college environment ever since. In addition to Disability Services, I have worked in Career Services and Workforce Education at community and technical colleges across Washington and Oregon, and also served as Assistant Director of Student Services at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon.
I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership at Gonzaga University and anticipate graduating this time next year. My leadership capacity continues to expand as I challenge myself to assume leadership roles. I am honored to be nominated to serve on the Board and welcome this opportunity for personal growth and statewide service.
Previous volunteer work includes: Communications Officer for the ORAHEAD (Oregon Association of Higher Education and Disability) Board, Board Member-at-Large for the Hearing Loss Association of America, Campus Contact for the American Association of Women in Community Colleges, Committee Member for the Portland Commission on Disability, Founding Member of the Oregon Community Colleges Inclusions and Diversity Consortium, Outreach Coordinator for the Disability Art and Culture Project, and Field Editor for Career Convergence Magazine through the National Career Development Association.
I am sad to miss our time together for the Spring Conference, but I am currently in Walla Walla, training to become a Title IX Investigator for my campus. I would much rather be enjoying the alpine air in Leavenworth with you, dear friends!
Maud Steyaert – TWO YEAR REPRESENTATIVE
“You’re not pushing paper, you’re changing lives,” a wise supervisor once said to me – this observation reveals the heart of higher ed DS work at its best. Ensuring effective participation by students with disabilities by providing access and accommodation in disability-positive campus climates (an approach I’ve fondly called “earning a D+”) can a liberatory experience – for us as DS practitioners as well as for students. As part of the first generation of students to be mainstreamed due to IDEA, I’ve experienced first-hand the forms and the effects that lack of access, accommodation and disability cultural competence can take in K-12 through graduate school. As former staffer for the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund and the World Institute on Disability, I am a disability policy wonk who cheerfully confesses to enjoying the arcana of the ADA regs. As a 15+ year students services professional with a nearly decade in DS (Antioch University Seattle 2008-13; Cascadia College 2013-15; North Seattle College 2015-current), I’m convinced that colleges and universities can build capacity not simply to avoid ADA/504 complaints but to create disability cultural competences across campus. As a student of human behavior (including my own) and of organizations, I believe that we as WAPEDers can support each other to do responsive, creative work that not only ensures technical compliance but also supports disability-justice making in ways that energize and sustain us professionally.
Though this week I’m at NSC due to accreditation rather than communing with you in Leavenworth, if these words resonate for you, I’m grateful for your support of my nomination (whom do we blame thank for that? 😉 to serve WAPED as a board member