The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is pleased to announce the first-ever Fall Internship Class.
The AAPD Internship Program strives to develop stronger disability identities within students and recent graduates with disabilities, so they can be better equipped to shape the future of our workplaces and communities. Our inaugural Fall Internship Program builds on the success of our Summer Internship Program to provide more opportunities for disabled students and recent graduates to access meaningful employment opportunities, gain leadership skills, and connect to the broader disability community.
The 2023 AAPD Fall Internship Program would not be possible without the generous support of our partners. Thank you to Arconic Foundation for supporting our Fall Internship Program.
Meet the 2023 Class
Alana Walker – Paul K. Longmore Institute
Alana Walker (she/her) is ready to delve into film programming and its pertinence to broadening awareness of disability activism. Alana, a Bay Area native, graduated from Grinnell College with a B.A in History in 2022; studying the impact of historical events and social norms through various courses in film, literature, art history, and visual arts. She commemorated her studies by spending her final semester studying film and art cultures in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Alana interned at the Palo Alto Art Center and Grinnell Museum of Art, aiding in researching how the institutions could better their programming to engage their local communities. She also interned for the Jim Henson Company and Skydance Animation, assisting the development teams in further developing their content to be more inclusive, entertaining, and resonate with audiences. Alana is excited to continue working with film and cultural institutes by interning with the Longmore Institute, exploring how film programming pertains to art and disability.
Alana’s lifelong struggle of grappling with her speech impediment and finding solace in film and television inspired her to pursue this opportunity to understand the relationship between media, activism, and inclusion. She is excited to work with artists creating disabled-centered media and assist with programming to cultivate community through an art form that comforted her.
Elian Sorensen – Administration for Community Living
Elian Sorensen is a research associate for World Enabled/The Pineda Foundation, a disability consulting non-profit working to promote accessible and inclusive urban design. Elian recently graduated summa cum laude from Hamilton College with a Bachelor’s in Public Policy, where he completed his senior thesis on the potential for disability theory to inform elder advocacy efforts and improve long-term care services for seniors.
While at Hamilton, Elian founded the college’s first Disabled Students’ Network and served as the organization’s president for two years, where he worked to develop a peer mentoring program for students with academic accommodations, promote accessibility improvements, and build community for other disabled students. Elian is a recipient of the 2021 U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship for Arabic.
Kaeli Dalton – Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network
Kaeli Dalton (she/her) is a graduate student studying Web Design at the University of Florida. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Media Production, Management, and Technology with a concentration in TV and Video Production and a minor in English in December of 2022. She is the former President and current Vice President of Operations of the Epsilon Tau chapter of Delta Alpha Pi, an honor society for disabled university students. Kaeli aspires to pursue a career in graphic design and own her own design studio. In her spare time, Kaeli spends her time reading, crocheting, and analyzing new movies and TV shows.
Karlee Rojas – National Disability Rights Network
Karlee Rojas (she/her) is attending Austin Community College, pursuing an Associate of Science in Computer Science. She has a goal to get her Masters in Computer Science following her graduation. Karlee has experience teaching assistive technolog at Austin Lighthouse to those who are new to the blindness community.
Karlee is also a social media influencer who aims to educate about the topic of service dogs. Writing is a huge part of her life and she wants to use that passion to write about the issues that people with disabilities face, beyond issues just relating to service dogs. Combinding her two interests of computer science and advocacy together in her work, Karlee aims to have an impact on the disability community at large.
Kunyeul Lee – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Kunyeul Lee (he/him) is an Economics major at the University of Southern California, set to graduate in May 2024. Immigrating from South Korea at 16, he quickly became a family mediator in their new culture. His leadership shines as Secretary for the Georgia Association of Blind Students and as a Student Advocate with the National Federation of the Blind.
As a Summer Technology Instructor at the Colorado Center for the Blind, Kunyeul champions accessibility and resilience. Beyond academia, he has developed projects like an Advocacy Toolkit for blind students. Passionate about digital accessibility, Kunyeul is dedicated to promoting inclusivity in technology. Outside of work and advocacy, he enjoys watching soccer, listening to music, and spending time with friends.
Oluwaseyi Onifade – Elevance Health
Oluwaseyi Onifade (he/him) is an incredibly inspiring young man whose potential and passion for making a difference in the healthcare industry is second to none. As a senior at Rochester Institute of Technology, he is currently pursuing a degree in Healthcare Administration & Global Health Management, with double minors in Global Public Health and Health Communications. It is evident in his coursework that Seyi has a genuine passion for healthcare management, which is why he dedicates himself wholeheartedly to his studies.
Despite facing the challenge of sensorineural hearing loss, Seyi is a perfect example of resilience and perseverance. He believes that his motto, “Resilience and Zeal for Success will Undoubtedly Lead to Greatness,” is a guiding principle that has helped him exceed expectations. His strong work ethic and leadership qualities have been honed through various student organizations at RIT, where Seyi has developed invaluable skills in communication, teamwork, and leadership. Seyi’s passion for healthcare is rooted in his personal experiences, where he has witnessed firsthand the struggles and challenges of navigating the healthcare system. This has shaped his desire to make a positive impact and contribute to the industry by working towards the goal of ensuring that everyone has access to quality healthcare.
Overall, it is clear that Seyi is a driven, resilient, and passionate individual who is sure to make a significant impact in the healthcare industry. His dedication to his studies and his ambition to make a difference are matched only by his unwavering determination to succeed.
Ruby Elbert – U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Ruby Elbert (she/her) is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she double majored in Disability Studies and Spanish and minored in Mathematics. At Illinois, she played on the women’s wheelchair basketball team and was a co-founding member of the Feminist Disability Justice Coalition, a student organization focused on bringing together and empowering the disabled community on campus.
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Ruby is particularly passionate about the inclusion of disability in conversations about diversity, as well as the protection and advancement of educational and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. She looks forward to connecting with a group of fellow interns with similar interests and goals and gaining more experience with the policy side of disability advocacy while actively contributing to the promotion of disability rights. In her free time, Ruby enjoys reading, painting, cooking, and making playlists.
Shannon Stubblefield – New Disabled South
Shannon Stubblefield (they/she) presently resides in Los Angeles, California. An alumnus of the 2022 AAPD Fannie Lou Hamer Leadership Program, Shannon is also a 2023 Care Fellow with Caring Across Generations. They have earned a B.A. in Gender Studies and are currently pursuing a Master of Public Health in Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. With a background of 7 years in community organizing, their passion lies in building solutions to counteract the material consequences of racism, ableism, poverty, and medical neglect on individuals, communities, and healthcare systems.
Shannon is a Black disabled working-class asexual person and their experiences inform their mission to foster a culture of communal care and accessibility. Redwoods hold a special place in Shannon’s heart as their favorite trees, and they enjoy reading Afro-futurism novels and finding cool free documentaries.