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AAPD Announces the Summer Internship Program Class of 2019

by | May 28, 2019 | Press Release

For Immediate Release
May 28, 2019

Contact: Keri Gray

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is pleased to announce the Summer Internship Program Class of 2019.

AAPD’s Summer Internship Program provides the opportunity for students with disabilities to gain hands-on professional experience that will advance their career goals. Throughout the program, AAPD will work with this class of students on their skills, resources, and the networks they need in preparation for competitive and meaningful employment opportunities. Our Summer Internship Program engages students and recent graduates with disabilities from all across the United States. Because we cover the costs of travel and housing in addition to providing a living stipend, we are able to recruit a diverse class of interns that may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in a program like ours. For many of these students, AAPD’s Summer Internship Program is their first exposure to the broader disability community, which empowers them to be self-advocates and sets them on a path to employment.

In addition to placing each intern on Capitol Hill, in government agencies, with national nonprofit organizations, or in the private sector, AAPD also matches each intern with a mentor connected to the disability community. The program begins with a week of Orientation to help the interns get acclimated to living in the city as well as to establish a base understanding of the history of the disability rights movement and current policy issues impacting people with disabilities. The AAPD Summer Internship Program is unique and effective because we offer a comprehensive experience that goes beyond the normal 9-5 intern workweek. Outside of the internship hours, AAPD connects the interns to a variety of guest speakers, events, and professional development opportunities.

Below are the 2019 summer interns and their internship placements.

Nina Erbes
Year: Rising Senior
Major: Anthropology
College/University: Mount Holyoke College
Placement: Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Luwei Quan
Year: Rising Senior
Major: Cognitive Neuroscience and English
College/University: Brown University
Placement: Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Evita Nwosu-Sylvester
Year: Law Student
Major: Law
College/University: Cornell University
Placement: Centene Corporation

Gabriela Rossner
Year: Rising Senior
Major: Environmental Studies, Minors in Biology and Public Health
College/University: The George Washington University
Placement: Center for American Progress Disability Justice Initiative

Ashley Heuser
Year: Rising Senior
Major: History and Government
College/University: University of Virginia
Placement: DC Office of Disability Rights

Cassaddee Sicherer
Year: Rising Senior
Major: Visual Arts, Minor in Political Science
College/University: Rutgers University
Placement: Democracy Initiative/Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Danny Thomas Vang
Year: Recent Graduate
Major: Social Work, Labor Studies
College/University: San Francisco State University
Placement: Information Technology Industry Council

Emely Recinos
Year: Rising Senior
Major: International Relations
College/University: New York University
Placement: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Kenia Flores
Year: Rising Senior
Major: Politics and International Affairs
College/University: Furman University
Placement: National Council on Independent Living/Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC)

Jordyn Zimmerman
Year: Rising Senior
Major: Education Policy
College/University: Ohio University
Placement: National Disability Rights Network

Sabrina Epstein
Year: Rising Junior
Major: Public Health Studies Major, Minors in Spanish and Art
College/University: Johns Hopkins University
Placement: National Endowment for the Arts

Hamza Kaakarli
Year: Rising Senior
Major: Neuroscience
College/University: Michigan State University
Placement: Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)

Faith Akinbohun
Year: Graduate Student
Major: Master of Social Work
College/University: University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work
Placement: Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)

Stephen Strouse
Year: Rising Senior
Major: Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law/Music
College/University: Bowling Green State University
Placement: Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Serina Morales
Year: Rising Junior
Major: English, Minor in Animal Studies
College/University: New York University
Placement: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Alexandra Kilgore
Year: Rising Junior
Major: Politics and Philosophy Pre-Law
College/University: The Catholic University of America
Placement: Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)

Kristen Cox
Year: Rising Senior
Major: Theatre Design and Technology
College/University: Northern Illinois University
Placement: Smithsonian Institution

Katherine Herbert
Year: Rising Senior
Major: Political Science, Concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies
College/University: Grinnell College
Placement: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

Serena Jaros
Year: Recent Graduate
Major: English
College/University: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Placement: United Spinal Association

Zahara Spilka
Year: Rising Junior
Major: Computer Science Major, Art (Studio Emphasis) and Psychology Minors
College/University: Macalester College
Placement: US Department of Energy


Learn more about the 2019 Summer Interns here!

The 2019 AAPD Summer Internship Program would not be possible without the generous support of our partners. Thank you to the Presenting Sponsor of the AAPD Certificate Program: Centene Corporation. Thank you Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, AT&T, The Coca-Cola Foundation, Arconic Foundation, Microsoft, Google, Walmart, and the Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia for supporting our students!



The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities. As a national cross-disability rights organization, AAPD advocates for full civil rights for the over 56 million Americans with disabilities by promoting equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation. To learn more, visit the AAPD Web site: www.aapd.com.